Guidance Notes to the Complaint Form

Please read these notes before filling in the complaint form. Please fill in the complaint form in black or dark blue ink because we (The Conduct Section of The Law Society of Hong Kong) may have to photocopy it a number of times. Please also make sure that you/your company signs and dates the complaint form. A complaint may be made in English or Chinese but we do not provide translation service for any party to the complaint. "You" or "your" in the complaint form and guidance notes to the complaint form may mean you as an individual and/or the company on behalf of whom you are complaining.

Here is a summary of what we do and do not do.


  1. investigate complaints of professional misconduct against
    1. a solicitors'' firm or a foreign firm (collectively known as "the law firm") or
    2. a solicitor or a registered foreign lawyer; or
    3. a trainee solicitor or any unqualified person (collectively known as "unqualified person")
  2. (if the Council of The Law Society of Hong Kong thinks fit) refer the complaint direct to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal Convenor for disciplinary proceedings.

Examples of possible "professional misconduct" are:-

  1. dishonesty or fraud;
  2. failure to account for money that belongs to you;
  3. acting for you where your interests conflict with the interests of another client;
  4. divulging confidential information about you without your consent;
  5. failure to supervise adequately a member of his staff who engages in professional misconduct;
  6. using his position to gain unfair advantage of you;
  7. acting in breach of the Legal Practitioners Ordinance (Cap. 159) and its subsidiary legislation, Practice Directions made from time to time by The Law Society, Circulars issued by The Law Society and the principles set out in The Law Society''s Hong Kong Solicitors'' Guide to Professional Conduct (Vol.1, 2nd Ed. and 3rd Ed.).

We do not:

  1. investigate complaints against solicitors who are not acting in their capacities as solicitors (e.g. magistrates, judges, notaries, China Appointed Attesting Officers, trustees in bankruptcy etc.);
  2. normally handle complaints which are not in writing or set out in the complaint form;
  3. give legal advice;
  4. take proceedings on your behalf for negligence cases.

Questions 1 to 3: Personal/Company''s Details

We need your name before we process your complaint. You may fill in your address and/or contact number in a separate "Personal Data Form". If you are complaining on behalf of your company, we need the name of your company and/or the person-in-charge of your company and the address of your company. If you are complaining on behalf of somebody else, we need his/her name and a written authorization from him/her showing that he/she authorizes you to make the complaint on his/her behalf. We do not usually contact you by phone, but a number (for use in normal office hours) can be useful.

Please tell us as soon as possible if your address or contact number (or that of the person/the company you are making the complaint for) changes.

We will acknowledge all letters we receive and will try to do so within one week of receiving them. You may phone us to find out whether we have received your complaint or correspondence at least 7 working days (or 2 working days if complaint was sent by e-mail) after you have sent your complaint by post.

Question 4: Details of the law firm or solicitor or registered foreign lawyer and/or unqualified person you are complaining about

It is essential that you provide the correct name of the law firm or solicitor or registered foreign lawyer and/or unqualified person who dealt with your case so that we can correctly identify him or her. We cannot look into any complaint unless we can find out the name of the law firm or solicitor or registered foreign lawyer and/or unqualified person. If you are complaining about more than one law firm or solicitor or registered foreign lawyer and/or unqualified person, you should fill in a separate complaint form for each law firm or solicitor or registered foreign lawyer and/or unqualified person unless your complaint is exactly the same for all of them.

Question 5: On-going litigation proceeding

If your case involves an on-going litigation proceeding which directly relates to the complaint, we will hold the matter in abeyance until the conclusion of the proceeding. This is because we do not want to interfere with any court hearing.

Question 6: Other organizations or authorities

If your complaint involves issues the subject matter of which may involve other organizations or authorities (e.g. the Hong Kong Police, ICAC, the Commissioner of Equal Opportunities etc.), we will normally not proceed with our investigation of your complaint pending conclusion of the investigation by other organization or authority but we will reserve the right to report such matter to the other organization or authority as we deem fit. You may refer the matter back to us upon conclusion of the investigation by other organization or authority.

Question 7: Lapse of time

It may be difficult to investigate into your complaint properly if significant time has passed since the event leading to your complaint arose.

Question 8: Details of the complaint

Please describe your complaint as clearly as possible. You are reminded that it must be something that a law firm or solicitor or registered foreign lawyer and/or unqualified person has/have done or failed to do. It will help us to deal with the complaint more expeditiously if you tell us:-

  1. what the complaint was about;
  2. when the event you are complaining about arose;
  3. what the law firm or solicitor or registered foreign lawyer and/or unqualified persons did or did not do; and
  4. why you believe this was wrong.

If we consider that the details of the complaint that you have provided are inadequate or unclear, we may require you to provide further particulars or clarification before we proceed with our investigation.

Question 9: Extra sheets of paper

If the complaint form does not have enough space for you to give details of your complaint, please write on extra sheets of paper and send them to us. You should tell us how many you have enclosed so that we can be sure we have received them all. Please write on only one side of each sheet so that it is easier to photocopy them.

Question 10: Other information

If there were any witnesses who can support your complaint or who might be able to help us in other ways, please let us know their names and addresses and the part they played. It would also be helpful if you may send us an informal statement from your representative and the other witnesses. We will not necessarily contact everyone you name.

Question 11: Enclosures

It is helpful if you can provide documents to support your complaint. You are responsible for giving us the evidence in support of your complaint. Please do not send original documents, only photocopies, as we cannot be held responsible if they are lost. We cannot copy materials for you. Please only include documents that are relevant and that deal with the conduct or services of the law firm or solicitor or registered foreign lawyer and/or unqualified person whom you are complaining about. It helps if you list out the documents you are enclosing so that we can check that they arrive safely. Documents must stay on our files so we cannot return them.

Questions 12 and 13

It is helpful to know if you have contacted us regarding complaint matters before so that we can check our records for the other documents we have.

Question 14: Your agreement

You should be aware that we will pass a copy of the complaint form together with copies of any document ("the complaint") you have provided in relation to the complaint to the law firm or solicitor or registered foreign lawyer and/or unqualified person you have complained against. The complaint will also be sent to such persons who will be handling the complaint including members of the Investigation Committee, Standing Committee on Compliance and the Council of The Law Society. In addition, the complaint will be sent to the Prosecutor, and/or barrister and/or solicitor instructed by The Law Society, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, law enforcement agencies, courts, relevant government departments, statutory bodies which are entitled to receive information relating to the complaint. Please let us know in advance if you have any problem with this. Please ensure that you have read these guidance notes carefully before filling in the complaint form.

It is essential that before we look into the complaint, you agree to provide your assistance by acting as our witness in the event that we decide to refer the complaint to the Solicitors'' Disciplinary Tribunal Convenor for disciplinary proceedings against the law firm or solicitor or registered foreign lawyer and/or unqualified person for professional misconduct.

We will use the information you give us to investigate your complaint. We will not use that information for any unconnected purpose without your consent. Please read the Law Society''s Personal Information Collection Statement for matters relating to collection of personal data.

Finally, please sign and date the complaint form.