Complaints against legal profession
Updated 2 August 2014
Lawyers in Jersey
1 The legal profession in Jersey is divided into three groups:
- Advocates - The Jersey equivalent of an English Barrister, qualified in Jersey law and a member of The Jersey Bar, and Law Society
- Jersey Solicitors - Once known as Ecrivains. Qualified in Jersey Law and members of the Law Society
- English Solicitors - Licenced to practice law in the UK but not qualified in Jersey Law. Not usually members of the Law Society, but may be in some instances
The Law Society of Jersey
2 The Law Society of Jersey is the body which represents the Jersey legal profession and monitors such matters as fees, conduct and ethical matters.
All correspondence should be addressed to the Chief Executive Officer, Law Society of Jersey, P.O.Box 493, St Helier, JE4 5SZ
The current Chief Executive Officer is Neville Benbow,
Telephone 01534 613920
3 President - Advocate Jonathan Speck
Secretary - Advocate Rose Colley
Treasurer - Mr N H Crocker
Librarian - Advocate C G Parslow
4 The Batonnier is the senior Advocate of the Royal Court. The current Batonnier is Advocate David Cadin. Her role is to act as a representative voice for the Advocates, as well as monitoring conduct and etiquette. A major part of the role is also to control the administration of Legal Aid by appointing an Acting Batonnier to fulfill this function. The Batonnier is final arbiter in disputes regarding Legal Aid and the conduct of Advocates.
Complaints with regard to costs (excluding English Solicitors)
5 Any client with a complaint regarding her/his legal costs (excluding Legal Aid work) should put the complaint in writing to the Chief Executive Officer.
6 The complaint will be considered at the next following meeting of the Committee of the Law Society, when two lawyers will be appointed as arbitrators to look into the matter on behalf of the Committee. At this stage, the Chief Executive Officer will seek confirmation from the complainant and the legal firm concerned that the parties will agree to be bound by the decision of the Committee. If one party does not agree, then there is nothing further which can be done by the Law Society and the matter will inevitably proceed to Court.
7 If both parties agree to the arbitration, the complainant will be asked to present full written details of the complaint and all relevant paperwork to the arbitrator. The legal firms has the right to reply.
8 The arbitrators report back to the Committee in due course and Committee's final decision will be notified both to the complainant and the legal firm concerned. For full details of the Complaints Procedure see information page at www.jerseylawsociety.je
Complaints of professional misconduct against members of the Law Society of Jersey
9 Complaints must be made in writing to the Chief Executive Officer of the Law Society of Jersey. The President of the Law Society will select from the disciplinary panel, a disciplinary committee to consider the complaint. Written copies of the complaint will be sent by the chairman of the disciplinary committee to:-
a) the lawyer to whom it relates;
b) the Batonnier, if the complaint relates to an Advocate
c) The President of the Chambre des Ecrivains if the complaint relates to a solicitor.
The disciplinary committee will sit privately to hear the complaint. Once the committee has heard the complaint it can deal with the matter as follows:-
a) dismiss it;
b) if satisfied the complaint is prove, deal with it by way of a private rebuke or public reprimand of the lawyer;
c) refer the complaint to the Attorney General without making a finding.
The disciplinary committee will inform the complainant in writing of its decision and reasons.
The complainant has the right of appeal to the Royal Court against a decision made by the disciplinary committee.
Complaints with regard to English Solicitors
10 Unless the English Solicitor is a member of the Law Society of Jersey, all complaints should be channelled through the Law Society - Consumer Complaints Service in the UK. See: www.lawsociety.org.uk/
11 It is important to ensure that the legal practitioner involved is an English Solicitor, ie licenced to practice law in the UK as a Solicitor, and not a member of the Jersey Law Society.