Your Only Paralegal News Source: Sept. 19

Feature Articles

Who Needs a Licence? Rules & Rulings Crack Down on Abuses

In the six years since the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) began issuing licenses, its role as regulator has included protecting the paralegal scope of practice.

Our defined practice area continues to be clarified by legislation and decisions from courts and tribunals. On the legislative front, Rules changes make it more difficult for unlicensed representatives to take work from licensees in the areas paralegals practice. Since January 1, the Rules of the Small Claims Court have included a new Rule:

    1.08 For greater certainty, nothing in these rules permits or authorizes the court to permit a person to act as a representative if that person is not authorized to do so under the Law Society Act.

This new rule affects representation before the Court. While it does not require all parties to be represented, it does place new limits on those who choose not to be represented by a paid licensee and works in conjunction with s. 26 of the Courts of Justice Act:

Scope-of-Practice Tips & Information

CPD Requirement – Got it, Need it, Complete it!

It is the time of year when a paralegal’s mind turns to professionalism… hours, that is! Convocation has changed elements of the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Requirement. Learn more about those changes in SCOPE. CPD is mandatory for paralegals who are providing legal services and fall within the 100 per cent membership category. The purpose is to maintain and enhance professional knowledge, skills, attitudes and professionalism. This is how the CPD Requirement breaks down for paralegals:

    Professionalism Hours:

Paralegals must complete a minimum of 3.0 Professionalism Hours per calendar year. Professionalism Hours are earned from LSUC-accredited programs and activities that contain information about ethics, professional responsibility and practice management. Excess Professionalism Hours may be put towards Substantive Hours if there is a shortfall in that category, but not vice-versa.

    Substantive Hours:

Paralegals need 9.0 Substantive Hours. This could include activities that address substantive and procedural law, related skills, or relevant non-legal topics. Substantive hours do not require accreditation by the Law Society. These hours may include time spent teaching substantive or procedural law. Teaching time may be counted for a total of six hours per year. (Professionalism, Substantive or both)

Writing in October? Practise Exam Could Help

A new online resource from a familiar name could help paralegal Candidates to feel more confident and prepared as they head into the examination room. Emond Montgomery Publications, widely regarded as one of Canada’s leading academic law publishers, has developed a timed practise exam for paralegal Candidates. It includes 60 questions that mimic the Ontario Paralegal Licensing Exam.

“Not only did it help me, it also made a big difference to know that I can take a prep test from a source I trust. Thank you very much for making this available.”

~ Paralegal Licensing Exam Candidate

Reflecting the format and content of the Ontario Paralegal Licensing Exam, the online practise exam assesses a student’s knowledge of the Paralegal Rules of Professional Conduct, Paralegal Professional Conduct Guidelines, the Law Society Act and By-Laws, and the Bookkeeping Guide for Paralegals.

More than 90% of Candidates who offered feedback after the August examination said the EMP practise exam was helpful. “Taking the test helped me focus my studying on areas I wasn’t too sharp on, and calmed my nerves,” said one who used the tool to prepare.

Weekly Poll – Paralegals, Be Heard!

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

This week’s poll is about how the public views paralegals.

Vote in the poll and let your voice be heard.

Poll for week of Sept. 15 – and results from past polls

Connecting: CanLII Cases, 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:
  • Reasons must be given for s.110 weapons prohibition orders – R v Wauer, 2014 ABCA 270
  • Judge finds himself persuasive – and rules accordingly
  • Self-represented litigant’s statements, observations, and unproven documents not admissible evidence
  • Wrongful dismissal actions: beware the duty to mitigate
  • ON WSIAT: s.15 of Charter violated as mental illness excluded from stress claim coverage under Act
  • Clarifying, safeguarding Crown discretion: R. v. Anderson, 2014 SCC 41
  • Man saves baby’s life, gets huge ticket
  • The best-laid plants? Week-long project yields thousands of outdoor pot plants in Cornwall
  • LCO seeks feedback on reforms for small estates; options include simplified probate process, statutory declaration
  • Objectively Reasonable” and Privacy: Roundup of recent case law related to privacy, online, in the workplace, and in transactions
  • How to add health care law to your practice: several proceedings mentioned in this lawyer-focused article are within the paralegal scope of practice.
  • Company to pay job applicant $8,000 for saying it only hires white men
  • New Social Security Tribunal has a 30-year backlog
  • Melbourne Law School welcomes the “Juris Dogtor” – Certified therapy dog for law students
  • Job scam targets new grads
  • Absent analysis of facts in evidence, court cannot conclude that shot fired in rural area is a “marked departure from the conduct of a reasonable person: R. v. Batty, 2014 ONCA 620
  • Review of roadside breathalyzer may show “massive problems”
  • From punk-lover to ISIS fighter – a Canadian teen’s drama
  • Student fined for posing as lawyer

Supreme Court Update

The Supreme Court of Canada has released judgments in leave applications. Many of the cases involve issues that affect the paralegal scope of practice. These include applications to appeal cases that consider:

  • Whether the common law should be subordinate to the environmental statutory standard for liability for contamination
  • Assessment of witnesses’ credibility who suffers from mental health issues
  • What constitutional protection do Canadians have against being deprived from access to courts for breach of contract?
  • Trial judge finding that prosecution had proved essential elements of offences beyond reasonable doubt and rejecting offender’s defences – Whether Superior Court justified in intervening having regard to evidence, including on basis of principles articulated in R. v. W. (D.), [1991] 1 S.C.R. 742
  • Human rights — Civil procedure — Appeals
  • Civil Procedure — Appeals — Standard of review

Go Virtual, With Lawfactory

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.”
Paralegal Resources & Information Sources

Resources and SCOPE Articles for New Licensees

Practice resources, from start to finish.
Business Types
Business structures for paralegals.
For Women
Women, Work & Justice – LSUC links.

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