Rules of Procedure of the Lawyers’ Disciplinary Committee
Rules of Procedure of the Lawyers’ Disciplinary Committee
The Lawyers’ Disciplinary Committee function in accordance with the Lawyers’ Act No. 77/1998 and resolve matters in accordance with the provisions of that Act.
The appointment of the Committee is subject to para. 3, Art. 3 of the Lawyers’ Act.
The Committee resides with the Icelandic Bar Association which pays the costs of the Committee’s work and provides them with requisite facilities.
The qualification of Committee members for participation in the handling of individual Cases is subject to Section II of the Administrative Act No. 37/1993.
The task of the Lawyers’ Disciplinary Committee is:-
(a) to deal with a dispute between a lawyer and his Client concerning the lawyer’s remuneration, i.e. his right to the payment for his work and the amount thereof, provided that the dispute be referred to the Committee by either or both parties to the Case;
(b) to deal with a complaint against a lawyer from a party on account of conduct that may constitute a violation of Laws or the Codex Ethicus of the LMFI;
(c) to deal with messages that the Board of the LMFI sends to the Committee in accordance with para. 3, Art. 43 of Lawyers’ Codex Ethicus.
In case of a dispute according to para. 1, Art. 26 of the Lawyers’ Act has been submitted to Courts of Law the Committee may, upon the request of either or both parties, furnish an Opinion which may be used in a Court Case.
If a Court Case on a matter in dispute is concluded, but subsequently submitted to the Committee they will dismiss the matter.
The party to a Case is authorized to charge his representative with safeguarding its interests before the Committee. It is permissible to require a Power of Attorney in writing for the pursuance of affairs before the Committee.
Concerning Proceedings and Decrees
A complaint to the Committee in accordance with para. 1, Art. 26 and para. 1, Art. 27 of the Lawyers’ Act must be received by them no later than one year after an opportunity was afforded to advance this is to the Committee. Alternatively, the Committee will dismiss the complaint.
A complaint to the Committee must be in writing and therein shall be specified the name, identity number, and address of the party sending the complaint. It shall also be revealed which lawyer is concerned, the facts of the matter occasioning the complaint and which claims are being made. A complaint shall be accompanied by the evidence on which the matter is based.
Upon submission of a complaint to the Committee, the instigating party shall pay a fee of ISK 12,500. In case a basis for the complaint is supported by facts by means of the Committee’s Decree the fee shall be refunded to the instigator.
A complaint shall be signed by a party or his representative. Six copies of data shall be received by the Committee.
The Committee will have a special form prepared which may be used to send complaints to the Committee.
If the Committee members are unanimous that a matter shall be completed immediately at the outset as it is obvious that it shall be dismissed or that it be obviously not substantiated the Committee will dismiss the matter. Parties to the matter shall be notified forthwith of such a conclusion.
Alternatively, a complaint shall be submitted to the lawyer concerned for comments in writing, provided that his attitude and arguments in favor thereof be not already at hand in the data of the matter.
If a complaint is not dismissed in accordance with Art. 8 the Committee will decide whether further data shall be acquired after a lawyer’s Opinion concerning the complaint has been received or the respite to reply has passed without the lawyer sending an Opinion. The parties shall be afforded an opportunity of submitting additional statements.
The Committee may require further data or acquire these. The Committee may call parties to appear and render reports or for verbal pleadings. The principal parts of the parties’ reports shall be recorded.
The parties to a Case shall generally be acquainted with the data of a Case as and when these are received unless this be obviously unnecessary and just reasons recommend this in the Committee’s assessment, cf. Art. 17 of the Administrative Act.
Respite for the return of statement in writing or comments shall generally be 15 days, but the Committee is authorized to extend such a respite in case of special circumstances.
In case parties to a Case do not heed requests for statements in writing or comments within the stipulated respite these shall be reiterated with a new respite which shall generally not be longer than one week.
In case an instigator does not heed the Committee’s requests for the submission of data the Committee is authorized to dismiss a matter. If a lawyer does not heed the Committee’s requests for an Opinion in writing or the submission of other data the Committee may base the resolution of a Case on the data submitted and other information acquired by the Committee concerning the Case.
At any time upon the handling of a Case, the Committee is authorized to seek a settlement between the parties.
Pleadings before the Committee shall generally be in writing.
The Committee will adopt an attitude to the evidential value of submitted declarations and data being of importance for the findings of a Case.
If a Case contains items of evidence that are difficult to resolve in the course of the proceedings of the Case or a Case is in other respects not sufficiently disclosed the Committee may dismiss the Case.
If the Case contains judicial dispute not coming under the Committee’s sphere they will dismiss the Case.
The Committee’s Decrees shall be pronounced as soon as possible after the acquisition of data is considered to be completed. The Decrees shall be in writing and substantiated.
A mention shall be made of the fact as to whether all the members of the Committee are agreed about the conclusion. If the Committee is dissident about the conclusion a mention shall be made of the items about which the Committee members are dissident and it shall also be stated which of the Committee members disagree with the majority.
The following shall be disclosed in a Decree:-
(a) who be parties to the Case,
(b) claim and facts of the Case,
(c) the parties’ principal reasonings and arguments,
(d) the Committee’s substantiation and conclusion,
(e) minority dissenting vote, if any.
Complaints received by the Committee in accordance with clause (c) Art. 3 are completed with an Opinion, without a Decree.
The Committee will send the parties to a Case certified copies of Opinions and Decrees as soon as these have been pronounced.
Judicial Effects of Proceedings and Decrees
The limitation period of a claim is suspended when the Committee has received a complaint thereon.
In case the Committee comes to the conclusion that a lawyer has not conducted himself in conformity with Laws and good lawyers’ professionalism the Committee may criticize his mode of work or conduct or admonish him.
In case of gross violence or if a lawyer has repeatedly been subject to admonition the Committee may in a substantiated Opinion propose to the Minister of Justice that the lawyer’s license to practice be suspended temporarily or during an unspecified period of time.
The Committee is authorized to obligate a party to a Case to pay the costs of the Case to his opposing party on account of the proceedings before the Committee. The Committee is authorized under special circumstances to determine that parties to Case pay costs resulting from the Committee’s work on their Case.
The Committee’s Decree or Settlement may be satisfied by means of execution, such as a Court Decree or Settlement.
The Committee’s decisions will neither be subject to Administrative Charge nor reference within the LMFI.
A party to a Case may before Court seek invalidation or amendments to the Committee’s Decree or Settlement effected before the Committee.
The Committee will hold meetings generally once a month with the exception of July and August. In case of dire necessity, the Committee may hold meetings more frequently for the resolution of individual Cases.
Details revealed at a Committee’s meeting shall be entered in a Record of Minutes. A transcription from Minutes may be delivered to a party having legally protected interests to safeguard.
A fully convened Committee will pronounce Decrees and render Opinions. Decrees and Opinions shall be signed by those who participated in the despatch of the Case concerned.
The plurality of votes will decide issues.
The Committee will have their Decrees and Opinions published in print or in another manner. Names shall generally be confidential. It is, however, permissible to reveal in a Decree or Opinion the name of the lawyer concerned in accordance with the provisions of the LMFI’s Codex Ethicus.
In other respects than aforesaid the provisions of the Administrative Act No. 37/1993 apply to affairs before the Committee.
The present rules are laid down under authority contained in para. 1, Art. 4 of the Lawyers’ Act No. 77/1998 and enter into force forthwith.
The present Rules on Proceedings were originally approved at a meeting of the Lawyers’ Disciplinary Committee on 15 February 1999 but were amended on 4 November 2002 and 22 December 2004.