Convocation opens Wednesday morning with a smudging ceremony, and Eagle Feathers teachings, at the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Elder Waasaanese, Alex Jacobs, provides opening remarks for the first Convocation after the summer break. Diane M. Kelly is to make keynote remarks, followed by Treasurer Tom Conway. The Paralegal Standing Committee (PSC) report — including revisions to the Annual Report due March 31, 2014 — is on the agenda that follows. The PSC met Sept. 12.
Convocation will receive the Professional Regulation Quarterly Report, with statistics on investigations, discipline and hearings. Complaints against lawyers and paralegals are up for this year; 2,710 new complaints were registered in the first six months of 2013. Good character files contributed to the increase, the report notes. An average of two complaints of mortgage fraud against lawyers are reported each month.
Paralegal applicant cases — for both Unauthorized Practice and Good Character issues — are up for the quarter, with 121 complaints received, compared to 80 for the same period in 2012. Complaints against non-licensees who are not licensing applicants are up slightly.
As part of the PSC report to Convocation, changes to the 2013 Paralegal Annual Report are to be presented for information. Changes include:
- Default period has been reduced from 90 days to 60 days
- Bencher Election Privacy Option question has been revised
- Self-identification questions have been modified
- Trust Fund/Property question has been revised
- Client Identification questions have been revised, based on client feedback
The Paralegal Standing Committee’s mandate is to develop and recommend policies to govern and regulate licensed paralegals in the public interest. The 13-person committee comprises five paralegals, five lawyer benchers and three lay benchers.
Paralegal Standing Committee Members:
Cathy Corsetti, Chair
Susan McGrath, Vice-Chair
Malcolm M. Mercer