Office of the Legal Services Commissioner > Inappropriate Personal Conduct > Informal reporting of inappropriate personal conduct

Informal reporting of inappropriate personal conduct

The OLSC has prepared a Fact Sheet explaining how to make an informal report to us about inappropriate personal conduct by a lawyer or someone working in a law practice or barristers' chambers.

We encourage anyone who has been subjected to, has witnessed or has knowledge of discrimination, sexual harassment or workplace bullying by someone in a law practice or barristers' chambers to make an informal report to the OLSC so that we can take action if appropriate.

What is informal reporting?

We recognise that those who experience, witness or have knowledge of inappropriate personal conduct may not be in a position to disclose their identity or make a formal complaint at this time. Informal reporting allows anyone to disclose their experience or knowledge of inappropriate personal conduct to us confidentially and anonymously.

The OLSC has the power to investigate formal complaints about inappropriate personal conduct under the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW) (Uniform Law). However, the Uniform Law does not allow formal complaints to be made anonymously.

Making an informal report does not prevent a person from making a formal complaint at a later time. Please note that an informal report is not considered as a formal complaint.

Possible Outcome of an Informal Report

The information disclosed in informal reports helps alert the OLSC to inappropriate personal conduct occurring in law practices and barristers' chambers. Beyond individual lawyers who engage in inappropriate personal conduct, it is the OLSC's view that law practices and barristers who practice together from chambers have an obligation to prevent a culture of workplace harassment, bullying or other inappropriate personal conduct. This may include preventing inappropriate conduct by persons who are not lawyers.

If the OLSC considers there are reasonable grounds to believe that a law practice or barristers' chambers is failing to address a culture of harassment, bullying or other inappropriate personal conduct, the following action may be taken:

Law practices - The OLSC may conduct compliance audits of law practices and issue management system directions to ensure that proper policies and processes are in place to discourage harassment, bullying or other inappropriate personal conduct and to encourage early reporting.

Barristers' chambers - While the legislation does not provide for audits of barristers' chambers, the OLSC aims to proactively work with clerks and Heads of Chambers to assist in developing and reviewing appropriate policies and procedures to address harassment, bullying and other inappropriate behaviour.

Making an informal report may have many other positive outcomes, including:

  • empowering you to talk about your experience and how the conduct made you feel
  • preventing similar conduct happening to you or someone else;
  • obtaining an outcome that may be personally significant, such as a change in the law practice's or chambers' policies and culture.