Filing a complaint
Review of a decision of the Office of the syndic
When you file a complaint with the Office of the syndic regarding the conduct of a lawyer, but, following its investigation, the Office of the syndic decides not to file a disciplinary complaint with the Disciplinary Council, you can apply for a review of the decision by the Review Committee.
Your application for review must be received by the Registry Office within 30 days from the date of receipt of the syndic's decision. After this deadline, your application may be refused. The Review Committee will ask you to provide reasons for your lateness in order to assess whether or not it was impossible for you to act. The date of receipt of your application for review is determined by the stamp affixed by the Registry Office of the Barreau du Québec. You are therefore responsible for factoring in the necessary mailing time.
The role of the Review Committee is to ensure the quality of the investigation carried out by the Office of the syndic and the merits of its decision. The Committee does not hold hearings and will not meet with you. Applications for review are examined by three people: two lawyers acting as volunteers and one representative of the public named by the Office des professions. The Review Committee has approximately 90 days within which to render its decision. This deadline is not mandatory and a review may take more time.
Following its review, the Committee will issue one of the following opinions:
- It will conclude that there are no grounds for filing a complaint with the Disciplinary Council
This means it has accepted the decision of the Office of the syndic and has confirmed the reasons for not filing a complaint.
- It will suggest to the Office of the syndic that it complete its investigation
The Committee may consider that a further investigation could be necessary. The Office of the syndic will then complete it investigation and render a new decision.
- It will suggest to the Office of the syndic that the file be sent to the Professional Inspection Committee
When the syndic sends a file to the Professional Quality Department/Professional Inspection Section, the latter meets with the lawyer under investigation and, in cooperation with the lawyer, tries to remedy a situation or practice that could potentially result in misconduct.
- It concludes that there are grounds for filing a complaint with the Disciplinary Council and suggests the name of a person
(referred to as an ad hoc syndic) to investigate again and decide whether or not to file a complaint.
The opinion of the Review Committee will not contain the reasons that led to the decision.