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Request an internal review

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If you are unhappy with a decision we have made on your complaint about a lawyer you may be able to ask for an internal review. 

You may also have external review rights, such as review by a court. We cannot advise you on those options — if you want to consider an external review you may wish to obtain your own, independent legal advice. 

Things to know before asking us for an internal review: 

  • We only review specific types of decisions, and you must ask us within a certain time frame. 
  • We decide whether we will do an internal review. A court or tribunal cannot order us to do one.
  • When requesting a review you need to tell us what you believe we have done wrong and what outcome you want from the review. Without this your request is unlikely to be accepted.
  • If your concerns are about how you were treated by our staff or the quality of our services, we have other ways for you to tell us this.

Who can request an internal review?

You can ask us for an internal review if you are the person who made the original complaint (also known as the complainant). Your legal representative, or a family member or friend authorised to speak on your behalf, can also make the request for you.

Decisions we may and won’t review

We may review We won't review
  • Decisions to close a complaint following a preliminary assessment.
  • Formal determinations on complaints about legal services or costs disputes.
  • Decisions to close a complaint where we have started a formal investigation but decide not to make a formal determination or take disciplinary action.
  • Decisions not to waive the time limit for complaints made outside their specific time frames – these decisions are final unless the time limit is in dispute.
  • Decisions made by the Commissioner personally.
  • Decisions already internally reviewed.
  • Decisions not to conduct an internal review
  • Decisions from an internal review (including any new decisions by the original decision maker following an internal review)
  • Decisions we make on investigations initiated by the Commissioner.
  • Decisions that are the subject of, or about to be the subject of, proceedings in a court or tribunal.
  • Decisions on costs above certain dollar limits.
  • Decisions to register lawyers.

How to ask for an internal review

There are several ways you can ask us for an internal review.

You can:

  • let the file handler know you want an internal review.
  • email us at:
  • call us on 03 9679 8001 or 1300 796 344 and ask to speak to our Quality Assurance and Review team.

If you need support communicating with us, please let us know how we can help.

If you ask for an internal review, you need to tell us what you believe we have done wrong and what outcome you want from the review. You should also provide any evidence you want us to consider.

Our approach to internal reviews is informed by a guideline produced by the Commissioner for Uniform Legal Services Regulation.

Important: If you ask us for an internal review, we will inform the lawyer involved in your complaint, as they may be affected if the original decision is ultimately replaced or changed. Please let us know if you have any concerns about this.

Time limits apply

You must ask us for an internal review within 30 days of the date we told you about the decision you want reviewed.

Our internal review process

We have an independent Quality Assurance and Review team to ensure our reviews are fair. Our review process has two stages:

Stage 1: Initial assessment

This is when we decide whether or not we will do an internal review and, if we decide to do one, set the focus of the review.

If we decide not to do an internal review, we will tell you and the lawyer involved.

Stage 2: Internal review

If we decide to do an internal review, we will consider if the decision under review was dealt with appropriately and was reasonable.

Outcomes of an internal review

Once an internal review is completed, we will inform you and the lawyer involved of the outcome. We will provide reasons for our decision and information on other options.

Potential outcome What it means

Original decision confirmed

The original decision remains effective.

New decision made

A new decision replaces the decision under review.

Matter referred back to the original decision maker

The person who made the decision under review is asked to reconsider the matter.

No decision is made

This could be due to various reasons such as:

  • The review request is withdrawn
  • Court proceedings are initiated
  • We don’t receive information we need
  • We can’t engage effectively with the relevant parties.
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