Should you have cause to complain about an Advocates professional conduct, there is a process for doing this. The options available to you as a Client are detailed below;
Complaint to the Advocates’ Practice
All Advocates are required to have an internal complaints procedure for use by their clients. If you want to make a complaint within the practice you have used, please contact the practice and ask to speak to the person incharge of complaints, you can do this by completing the Society’s form here or by writing to or telephoning the Practice. It is helpful if you have a note of your client reference number; the Advocate you are complaining about and the date of the incident you want to complain about.
Law Society Conciliation
You may want to make an informal complaint about the service you have received from an Advocate. Law Society Conciliation is a process which affords both parties (Advocate and Client) the opportunity to discuss the complaint and hopefully agree a resolution. This process is voluntary for Advocates and free to complainants and the Society cannot make a finding against an Advocate or award you compensation. This service is now delivered for the Society by Ian Cochrane who is engaged by the Society but independent of it.
Should you wish to make a request for conciliation via this Law Society process please complete and submit the attached forms (PLEASE PROVIDE AN EMAIL ADDRESS FOR EASE OF CONTACT) : Form attached here (pdf)
Complaints in respect of Advocates’ Fees : These are not within the ambit of the conciliation scheme but there is an IOM Law Society Assessment of Fees service, the rules for which can be found by Clicking on the “Rules” button and visiting tab 8.9. There are strict time limits within which such complaints must be made and prompt action is necessary.
The Advocates’ Disciplinary Tribunal
If you wish to make a formal complaint about an Advocate’s conduct you must use the Advocates’ Disciplinary Tribunal the (ADT), click here to be taken to the ADT’s website which contains their Rules and Guidance.
The ADT was established in legislation (the Advocates act 1976) when Tynwald felt a body other than the Society should have disciplinary responsibility on matters relating to professional misconduct. This Disciplinary Tribunal is independent of the Law Society. In determining a complaint against an Advocate it will consider whether the Advocate has breached the professional rules governing the profession. To see those Rules click here.
Please note, the ADT can impose a penalty on an Advocate but it cannot award you compensation.
Lawyers Qualified in other jurisdictions
If you have received legal advice in the Isle of Man from a lawyer who is qualified in another jurisdiction you may be able to make a complaint about that lawyer in that other jurisdiction.
In England and Wales all complaints about all English and Welsh lawyers are made to the Legal Ombudsman (LeO). Click here to be taken to the LeO website which contains information about how to complain in England and Wales.