Filing a complaint against a police officer, a judge or a lawyer: know where to go

  • May 29, 2024
  • Justice, Police
Sitting at a desk, a young couple argues with a lawyer.

Content updated on June 18, 2024.

Police officers, judges and lawyers must act honestly and respect the rights and dignity of all. If you witness anything to the contrary, you can lodge a complaint. Here's how.

Setting an example: a duty

Police officers, judges and lawyers play an important role in upholding the law and individual rights. For each of these three professions, a code of conduct (or code of ethics) has been established and must be heeded at all times.

Several other professionals are bound by a code of conduct and ethics. This applies to other peace officers and to notaries.

The authority that police officers and judges exercise requires them to behave in an exemplary manner so that they inspire public trust. A police officer or judge must always act impartially, honestly and respectfully. For example, they must not:

Lawyers must demonstrate loyalty and independence. For example, they may not:

When a police officer, judge or lawyer fails to comply with the rules of conduct, anyone who witnesses the breach may lodge a complaint.

In assessing the actions, words or behaviour for which a complaint was made, they must be put into context.

Going to the right recourse

The body responsible for handling ethical complaints differs depending on the profession and, sometimes, the employing organization:


In most cases, it is possible to have a decision reviewed or a judgment appealed. Contact the appeal body if you are dissatisfied with the initial court or tribunal decision. 

The Protecteur du citoyen handles complaints concerning the quality of the services received from the Police Ethics Commissioner or from an administrative tribunal (TAL, TAQ, TAT). Note, however, that the Protecteur cannot amend or overturn decisions by these organizations.

Important: the Protecteur du citoyen cannot act regarding the other forms of recourse listed above.

Also see: Need help? Know where to go