Paralegals’ Only News Source: Nov. 21

Paralegal Reception Welcomes New Licensees

Ontario’s newest paralegals were formally welcomed to the legal community Nov. 19, with a Reception at Osgoode Hall. While poor driving conditions reduced the number of attendees from the expected 220, Convocation Hall was alive with networking and professional discussions.

Last night’s event was the first Welcome Reception for Janet Minor as Treasurer. In her comments to the gathering, she emphasized the role paralegals play in ensuring access to justice for Ontarians. “We need you,” Treasurer Minor said. “Access to justice has become a significant concern in the courts of Ontario, among the public, and among the members of the legal profession throughout the province.”

In the eight years since passage of the Access to Justice Act, roughly 6,600 paralegals have been licensed to provide legal services to Ontarians, within a limited scope of practice that includes Provincial Offences, Small Claims Court, and Landlord & Tenant advocacy work.
Repeating the words of the Paralegal Oath, Minor suggested the new licenses review the oath from time to time, as a reminder of its solemnity, and the place paralegals have carved for themselves in helping Ontarians to solve their legal needs.

“When we consider that Ontarians often come into contact with the justice system because they have a traffic ticket, a landlord/tenant dispute, a workplace or personal injury, or a matter before small claims court, we begin to realize just how much of a positive impact paralegal regulation has had for the residents of Ontario,” Minor said.

Special guests at the Nov. 19 event included: Regional Senior Justice of the Peace Warren Ralph of the Ontario Court of Justice, Senior Justice of the Peace Kathy-Lou Johnson, Senior Advisory & Justice of the Peace Andrew Clark, Alfred Schorr from the County & District Law Presidents’ Association, and Edwin Upenieks, Vice-President of the Ontario Bar Association. Susan McGrath, Vice-Chair of the PSC, attended and spoke to the new licensees about Law Society resources available to them.

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  • Ontario Court maintains jurisdiction over first bail, hearing even where trial in Superior Court
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  • LCBO close to deals for grocery store kiosks in Toronto, Mississauga, London

B.C. Lawyers, Law Society Say No to Faith-Based Law School

Image: CHRC

Image: CHRC

Law Society of B.C. benchers have passed a motion declaring Trinity Western University (TWU) is not an accredited law school. The vote came after a majority of B.C. lawyers forced a referendum over the Law Society’s earlier TWU accreditation for the proposed law school. The referendum showed 74% of the province’s lawyers wanted to have TWU accreditation reversed.

Of 8,039 ballots cast in the Oct. 30 binding referendum, 5,951 voted in favour of no accreditation, while 2,088 voted against a declaration that TWU is not an accredited university.

Law Society of Upper Canada & Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society will face TWU in court in December, for Judicial Reviews of their decisions not to accredit the faith-based school.
Friday’s decision means that the B.C. Law society joins Ontario and other jurisdictions that will not recognize TWU grads for lawyer licensing in their provinces. Oct. 15, a motion at the Law Society of the Northwest Territories, to accredit TWU’s proposed law school, was defeated.

University spokesman Guy Saffold said officials are disappointed with the law society’s decision, but have not yet determined whether to pursue legal action.

“Putting difficult issues of human rights up to a popular vote, essentially, is not the way these things should be done,” Saffold said. “In Canada we balance these issues in a very thoughtful way, through our courts, and don’t vote on issues of minority rights.”

Toronto paralegal Victor Manuel Castillo Garcia has been suspended by the Law Society of Upper Canada, and ordered to pay costs of $10,000.

The Law Society Tribunal – Hearing Division ordered the interim interlocutory suspension under s. 49.27 of the Law Society Act, after an Oct. 23 hearing.

Related Information:

The Law Society Tribunal is an independent adjudicative tribunal within the Law Society of Upper Canada, consisting of staff and appointed adjudicators. It processes, hears and decides regulatory cases about Ontario lawyers and paralegals, in the public interest.

    Law Society Tribunal Decisions at CanLII
    Kopyto Licensing Saga – Tribunal update
Weekly Poll – Paralegals, Be Heard!

Tell Us What You REALLY Think – in the weekly SCOPE Poll

This week’s poll is about electronic document filing.

Vote in the poll and let your voice be heard.

Poll for week of Nov. 17 – and results from past polls

Connecting: CanLII Summaries & Commentaries

CanLII Connects is a free collection of summaries and commentaries on Canadian case law. This free resource includes decisive and persuasive cases that are relevant to the paralegal scope of practice. Contributions are accepted from those with a demonstrated capacity for legal analysis. Recent CanLII reported cases and contributions to CanLII Connects include:

  • “Cow-sharing” is bull: ONCA – Unpasteurized milk decision case commentary at CanLII Connects
  • ONCA on workplace bullying – summaries, opinions from four contributors /li>
  • N.B. court cites public policy as reason to void a testamentary bequest to neo-Nazis
  • Arista Homes ordered to pay $15k in damages to employee fired for being pregnant
  • Duty-of-care ruling may lead to new CRA employee standards /30205
  • From the “X-Files” of civil law – Colin Lachance summarizes Langevin
Practice Management Features

New Program Starts This Month

Osgoode Professional Development, a leader in professional legal education, is offering a unique new opportunity for paralegals: an intensive four-day certificate program that includes three of the main paralegal forums.

The first Osgoode Certificate in Handling Provincial Offences Court, Small Claims Court & Landlord and Tenant Board Matters program starts Sat. Nov. 29.

Insights, strategies & tips for Small Claims, Provincial Offences, Landlord & Tenant representation for legal professionals
This certificate program was developed especially for paralegals and lawyers, as well as other professionals and legal educators who would benefit from having a working knowledge of these areas. Over four Saturdays in November, December, January and February, the program provides legal professionals with practical insights and strategies for appearing in three key forums within the Paralegal Scope of Practice.

The learning modules blend lectures, case studies and class discussion, emphasizing the practical, hands-on application. An evaluation component offers registrants an opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the first three modules by participating in various in-class exercises led by a group of expert facilitators.

Paralegal Resources & Information Sources

Go Virtual: Lawfactory Solutions

Working from home by choice, or saving on overhead costs when just starting out… a new service provides virtual legal practice management solutions.

Paralegal Al Ricci, a former technology executive, started Lawfactory with one goal in mind: make it easier for solo and small practitioners to leverage technology so they can spend more time with clients, while keeping expenses down. The new business launches Sept. 2.

“Technology, when implemented effectively and efficiently, can have a real impact on a person’s access to justice,” Ricci noted.

After a 17-year career in software and productivity solutions, Ricci returned to school in 2012 to pursue his interest in the law. Even before he graduated, Ricci saw the need for a service that combines the cost-saving features of virtual office space with leading technology solutions.

Leverage technology & turnkey practice management productivity solutions, to serve clients from anywhere, any time, on any budget
“The idea for Lawfactory arose from the need to simplify the often-daunting task solo or small legal practitioners face when starting a practice, and to help a solo or small practitioner already in practice, to maximize their operational efficiencies,” Ricci says. “By delivering secured cloud-base communication and productivity solutions paralegals and lawyers can leverage our platform to manage their practice.”

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