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Any complaint concerning the conduct of any advocate or of any pupil shall be in writing and made and referred to the Sabah Advocates Disciplinary Board which shall deal with such complaint in accordance with such rules from time to time made under the Advocates Ordinance.

Any Court including the Industrial Court and a Syariah Court, a Judge, Sessions Court Judge or Magistrate or the State Attorney-General may refer a complaint to the Sabah Advocates Disciplinary Board.

Where a complaint is made against a legal firm, it shall be deemed made:

  1. in case of a sole proprietorship, against the advocate who was at the material time the sole proprietor of the legal firm;
  2. in case of a partnership, against all the advocates who were at the material time partners of the legal firm, unless the legal firm satisfies the Sabah Advocates Disciplinary Board of the identity of the advocate i the legal firm against whom the complaint was made

Complaints to the Sabah Advocates Disciplinary Board is applicable to a registered foreign lawyer, international partnership, or a qualified foreign law firm licensed under Part VII.

Complaint by Sabah Law Society

If an advocate:

  1. has made a false statement in or in relation to an application under section 7C;
  2. is guilty of any offence involving dishonesty, misuse or misappropriation of any money or property of a client or of any other person;
  3. is adjudged a bankrupt or a receiving order is made against the advocate within or outside Malaysia;
  4. is disbarred, struck off, suspended or censured in his capacity as a legal practitioner in any other country;
  5. is the subject of a complaint concerning any dishonest act committed by the advocate in the capacity as an advocate;
  6. absconds or has not attended at the advocate’s office in such circumstances that the Law Society may reasonably presume that the advocate has absconded; or
  7. is otherwise incapable from infirmity of body or mind or any other cause of effectively performing the functions of an advocate

and the Law Society considers that it would be in the public interest or in interest of the advocate’s clients or of the profession that such advocate be suspended from practice, the Law Society may apply to the Sabah Advocates Disciplinary Board for an order suspending such advocate from practice until further notice.

Any registered foreign lawyers who has been guilty of any misconduct shall be liable to be suspended for any period not exceeding five (5) years or revocation of the lawyer’s registration or reprimanded or censured or ordered to pay a fine (as the case may be).

Limitation Period

The limitation period for any complaint against an advocate or pupil is six (6) years from the date of the right of action had accrued.

A particular exception is where the complaint is based upon the fraud of the advocate, the advocate’s agent or any person the advocate’s agent claims or that the right of action is concealed by the fraud of the advocate. The period of limitation in such cases shall only run from the date the complainant had discovered the fraud or could have with reasonable diligence have discovered it.