I have a problem with my lawyer
Is the cooperation with your lawyer not working out as you hoped or are problems arising? If so, there are several steps you can take.
As Advocaat.be, we cannot give you personal advice on your specific case with your lawyer. We have to remain independent from our lawyers and their clients.
However, we can give you the following tips and direct you to the right organisations that can help you individually.
Solution 1: talk to each other
It is not nice to confront, but a lot starts with talking. So with any problem, that is the best start. So are you unhappy with your lawyer's cooperation? Then talk to your lawyer about it yourself first. State calmly what you think is going wrong, where you think the problem is and what can be done about it. A good conversation can clear up a lot and save unnecessary costs.
Want to make sure your lawyer can't ignore your thoughts? Then kindly put them on paper with questions and comments, this way you will also have something to fall back on afterwards should your conflict continue or not be resolved.
Solution 2: file a complaint with Ligeca
Ligeca is the Ombudsman Service for Consumer Disputes Lawyers. This ombuds service tries to resolve problems between lawyers and their clients out of court, i.e. a form of mediation. The ombudswoman checks whether your complaint is complete and then handles your complaint with the local ombuds representative.
So if you are not satisfied with your lawyer, you can complain there. This service is of course free of charge.
Solution 3: contact the staffer
If you are not satisfied with your lawyer, you can also contact the President of the Bar of which your lawyer is a member. He or she is the head of the bar, and thus responsible for the lawyers working under his or her supervision.
Explain your problems in a letter or e-mail and provide sufficient evidence such as letters or e-mails to and from your lawyer. From that, the staffer can then deduce the broader context of your agreement.
Also, be sure to include your name and address.
The President of the Bar can then either offer a solution himself or suggest conciliation, mediation or arbitration.
- A conciliator or mediator guides you and your lawyer to reach a solution together.
- In arbitration, both you and your lawyer bring your arguments before an arbitration tribunal. That tribunal makes a ruling that each party must agree to. An appeal is not possible.
You can find more information about these procedures at the bar association of which your lawyer is a member.
Solution 4: court proceedings
Is it really not possible to reach a solution with your lawyer? Can't Ligeca or the staffer help you any further? Then you can always go to court. Lawyers, like any of us, are also subject to the law and therefore to the rulings and judgments of a court.
This is not an easy solution though, because lawyers are trained in law and know the law and their rights like no other.
So if you want to do this and win, we recommend that you get another lawyer to assist you. After all, it will not be an easy procedure.
Solution 5: disciplinary procedure
Do you want to file an official complaint because you think your lawyer has violated his professional rules? Then you can file a complaint with the President of the Bar of which your lawyer is a member.
To be granted 'complainant' status, your complaint must meet certain conditions:
- in writing stating
- the date
- your full name
- your address
- your signature.
The President of the Bar will then investigate your complaint. He will
- either dismiss the complaint if he finds it unfounded,
- or refer it to the disciplinary board. The disciplinary board decides whether the lawyer will be acquitted, or what punishment your lawyer will receive (e.g. warning or suspension for a certain time).