Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where can I file a complaint about the conduct of a lawyer?

    If you are concerned about something a lawyer has done (or not done), you should contact the Complaints Resolution Department of the Law Society of Manitoba. Before sending them a formal complaint, consider phoning them first. They may be able to help you work things out. The Complaints Resolution Department can be reached at (204) 942-5571, or toll-free at 1-855-942-5571.

    If you want to proceed with a formal complaint, you must fill out a Complaint Help Form. You must sign the form. You can find a copy of the form here: You can also call the Law Society by phone to request a copy of the form.

    When filling out the form, be sure to include:

      • Your name, address and telephone number;
      • The name, law firm name, and address of the lawyer you are complaining about; and
      • Copies (not originals) of any other letters or documents which support your claim.

    Send the completed form and any additional documents to:

      • The Law Society of Manitoba
      • Complaints Resolution Department Paralegal
      • 200 – 260 St. Mary Ave.
      • Winnipeg, Manitoba
      • R3C 0M6

    Alternatively, you may scan all the documents and send them by email to

  • Do I have any options if the Law Society of Manitoba refuses to investigate my complaint?

    There is an appeal available to the Complaints Commissioner, a non-lawyer who is independent of the Law Society of Manitoba. The Complaints Commissioner can review the decision.

    The Complaints Review Commissioner has two choices:

      • Dismiss the complaint (which ends the matter), or
      • Direct the Law Society to investigate.

    To request a review by the Complaints Review Commissioner, email the Commissioner at or write to:

      • Complaints Review Commissioner
      • O. Box 2234
      • Winnipeg, MB
      • R3C 3R5
  • If I do not qualify for Legal Aid, what will a private lawyer cost me?

    Legal fees are difficult to estimate. Lawyers often charge by the amount of time spent on a case. Many lawyers charge an hourly rate, which may depend on the experience of the individual lawyer. There is no standard rate for all lawyers. In property matters, lawyers may arrange fees based on the value of the property involved.

  • Will fees be agreed to in my first meeting with a lawyer?

    In your first meeting with a lawyer, you should discuss fees and methods of payment. If your case is likely to be uncontested, such as in a real estate, wills and estates, or some simple divorce matters, the lawyer may charge a flat rate. Ask for a retainer agreement which will make clear what you have to pay.

  • What percentage will a lawyer charge on a contingency fee arrangement?

    There is no set amount so it is best to contact a few lawyers and compare rates.

  • I just received my lawyer’s bill and there is no explanation of the charges. Can I ask for clarification?

    You may request an itemized bill from your lawyer. If you are having difficulty obtaining this, you can contact the Law Society of Manitoba for assistance.

  • Is there any way to challenge the lawyer fees I have been charged?

    The Law Society of Manitoba offers a fee arbitration program. Both you and the lawyer must agree to arbitration.  The Law Society will arrange for a review of the statement of account by a neutral arbitrator or panel of three arbitrators. There is no charge for this review. Both you and the lawyer will be at the meeting. The review process is informal.  You do not need a lawyer. The arbitrator will either reduce the fee or not. Contact the Law Society Fee Arbitration Coordinator by phone at (204) 926-2048 or by email at for further information or to request an arbitration.

    Another option is to have the fee assessed by an officer of the Court of Queen’s Bench. You do not need your lawyer’s agreement to have the fee assessed. To arrange for an assessment call (204) 945-0344 or email . You should act quickly if you want an assessment. You only have up to 6 months after you receive the lawyer’s final statement of account to apply.

  • What happens if the lawyer will not agree to arbitration?

    In this case, you can apply to the Court of Queen’s bench for an assessment of your lawyer fees. You need to file a Form 71A Notice of Application for Assessment of Lawyer’s Bill and a Form 4D Affidavit. The forms are available on-line here:

    Once completed, the forms must be filed at the Court of Queen’s Bench (in Winnipeg, the Law Courts Building at 408 York Ave.).