Babbler # 1319
posted 25 August 2006 11:40 AM
This is a very contentious issue that despite affecting people with low-incomes, women, minorities, and small business, has not received the media attention it deserves. Ontarians need to be aware of Bill 14, and contact their MPP to state their opposition.
Law Society Silences Non-Advocacy Paralegals
Imagine having your ability to make a living severally changed or eliminated, and you are not able to use your constitutional right to speak out in protest.
That is what the non-advocacy paralegal faces, as the McGuinty government moves forward with its controversial Bill 14, The Access to Justice Act. The bill, if passed, would have paralegals regulated by the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Non-advocacy paralegals have been practicing in Ontario for decades. These are not the paralegals you hire to deal with your traffic tickets or small claims court matters. No, these paralegals are hired by the public, and small businesses to do paperwork involved with: incorporations, uncontested divorces, wills, and powers of attorney.
The Law Society has taken the position that these non-advocacy services, when preformed by anyone other then a lawyer, are not in the public interest, despite the fact that no Act restricts who can provide these services.
The irony is by introducing Bill 14 the McGuinty government has said they want to change the law. The government wants a Law Society committee to decide how all services provided by paralegals should be regulated in the public interest. This includes these so called "grey area services".
The Law Society has refused to halt prosecution of non-advocacy paralegals, at least until their own committee determines what services are in the public interest.
The public interest can not be served when those paralegals most affected by Bill 14, are denied their constitutional right to speak openly in opposition of a government bill, without fear of prosecution.
Background on Bill 14, the Access to Justice Act
From: North Bay | Registered: Sep 2001
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