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New service to speed up lawyer complaints

Friday 1 Feb 2013 11:19 a.m.

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People dealing with issues with their lawyers can expect a speedier resolution with the New Zealand Law Society's launch of a new service to deal with complaints.

Instead of going through the more formal complaints process, people can chose the early resolution service (ERS) option when lodging a complaint about a lawyer or law firm.

Law Society chief executive Christine Grices says the ERS is a more simple and effective process to deal with some matters.

"The ERS offers the public an alternative and flexible process. It is 'hands on' and more flexible as an ERS team member talks to both the lawyer and the complainant directly," she says.

Complaints alleging more serious misconduct or issues that are more complex, along with any form of dishonesty or trust account issues, will go through the formal complaints process automatically.

The ERS has been trialled since November 2011 across the country and it's received positive feedback.

"Before the pilot programme, all complaints were delayed by being subjected to the formal process," Ms Grices says.

"Many could have been resolved more effectively and more quickly through an initial explanation of the process and possible outcomes as well as the parties themselves choosing a more suitable alternative remedy."

Both parties must agree to take part in the ERS.


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