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The Office of the Legal Services Commissioner (“OLSC”) receives complaints about solicitors and barristers in NSW. The OLSC works as part of a co-regulatory system, together with the Law Society of NSW (professional body for solicitors) and the NSW Bar Association (professional body for barristers) to resolve disputes and investigate complaints about professional conduct.
We want to lead in the development of an ethical legal services market which is fair, accessible and responsive.
To improve consumer satisfaction with legal services through:
- Developing and maintaining effective complaint handling processes
- Promoting compliance with high professional and ethical standards
- Encouraging an improved consumer focus within the profession to reduce causes for complaint
- Promoting realistic community expectations of the legal system
- Problem solving
- Social justice
Who we are
The OLSC was established as a result of a Report in February 1993 by the NSW Law Reform Commission “Scrutiny of the Legal Profession – Complaints Against Lawyers”.
Created by an amendment to the Legal Profession Act 1987, the OLSC commenced operation on 1 July 1994. The OLSC is an independent statutory body and the decisions of its head, the Legal Services Commissioner, can only be challenged through the normal process of administrative law. The Legal Services Commissioner reports to Parliament through the Attorney General.
Legal Services Commissioner
Mr Steve Mark was appointed as the first Legal Services Commissioner and he continues in this role today.
Mr Mark was the President of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board from 1988 to 1994. He has practised law in Australia and the United Kingdom, specialising in criminal, immigration and human rights law.
What we do
The Commissioner’s office co-regulates legal practitioners with the Law Society of NSW (professional body for solicitors) and the NSW Bar Association (professional body for barristers). The Commissioner is independent of the Professional Associations.
The OLSC’s main role is to ensure that legal practitioners abide by their ethical and other professional obligations when providing services to the public. The OLSC can take disciplinary action against legal practitioners and help resolve problems between practitioners and other members of the community.
The OLSC has produced a series of fact sheets to provide you with information and to help you understand some commonly raised issues.
However, the OLSC cannot
In most cases we will not
- Provide legal advice or representation
- Investigate or change court findings
- Handle complaints about judges or magistrates
Conference of Regulatory Officers
The OLSC, along with the regulatory bodies of Australia and New Zealand, are members of the Conference of Regulatory Officers (CORO). The members are Statutory regulators, professional associations and admitting authorities involved in the regulation of the legal profession in Australia.