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Clients & Ethics

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Ethics Unit

The Ethics Unit aims to raise lawyers' awareness of their professional responsibilities and to assist them through any ethical dilemmas they face, and in doing so, to justify improved public perception of lawyers generally.

Ethics Unit
Law Society of NSW
Level 7, 170 Phillip Street
Sydney NSW 2000

DX 362 Sydney

Telephone: (02) 9926 0114
Fax: (02) 9221 5804


Ethics Advice Line

The Ethics Advice Line provides solicitors with practical and confidential advice to resolve ethical dilemmas and to help avoid complaints from clients or colleagues.

Open to all solicitors, this free service operates Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Call (02) 9926 0114 or email

New South Wales Client relations and ethics

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Commentary on Law and Ethics

New South Wales 2  Legal Ethics and Ethical Issues

Complaints - OLSC

Office of the Legal Services Commissioner

Level 9
75 Castlereagh Street
Sydney NSW 2000

GPO Box 4460
Sydney NSW 2001

DX 359 Sydney

Telephone (02) 9377 1800
Facsimile (02) 9377 1888
Freecall: 1800 242 958 (Australia only)
TTY (02) 9377 1855

Dealing With Complaints

Rule No. 1. If a client complains absolutely do not bury your head in the sand, throw bombs back again or despair.

Unless you are determined to turn a query into a formal complaint or Professional Negligence Claim.

Rule No. 2. Do not panic.

It is not the end of the world. Although it may start to seem that way if you don't follow Rule No. 3.

Rule No. 3. Talk to somebody about it.

This will help to get it into perspective and you can start getting help to see if there really is a problem. There may be answers that you have not seen. If there is, then together you can work out what you might do about it.

New South Wales 1  Legal Ethics and Ethical Issues

Talk to LawCover if it even potentially involves a professional negligence claim. They are very experienced and will talk to you confidentially. Call 02 9264 8855 and as to speak to one of the Claims Solicitors. Simply notifying a potential claim does not lead to a claims loading for a law practice, nor will it impact on a law practice's no-claim bonus.

Information about notifying claims is at LawCover Claims.

If you are looking for an independent senior solicitor who is sympathetic to the problems of being a practitioner and who has already volunteered to help, then consider the Senior Solicitors' Scheme of the Law Society of NSW.

For information on the assistance that the Law Society can provide if you are struggling with practice (or with life), see Foolkit's Your Wellbeing page.

New South Wales 3  client relations legal ethics ethical issues

Criminal Lawyer Ethics

A common question asked of criminal lawyers is "How do you defend somebody who you think is guilty?". For an interesting discussion on this issue, see the Radio National's the Law Report's 'The Ethics of Criminal Lawyers' interview: