You have a choice when it comes to your legal services. Depending on the issue, a Paralegal can provide an affordable option for those in need of legal services or representation. A paralegal can do many of the same things as a lawyer can, with some limitations.
Paralegals, much like lawyers, are professionally educated, insured, and licensed by the Law Society of Ontario.
Since their regulation in 2007, paralegals are licensed to independently represent people in Small Claims Court, to the Landlord and Tenant Board, for provincial offences, certain summary conviction criminal charges, as well represent a client in many tribunals. Paralegals can also Commission and Notarize documents.
When choosing a paralegal, you will want to make sure that they are licenced and in good standing with the Law Society of Ontario. If you are unhappy with the conduct of a paralegal, you can file a complaint with The Law Society of Ontario.
The Law Society regulates the lawyers and paralegals of Ontario in the public interest by ensuring that they meet appropriate standards of learning, professional competence and professionalism.
Paralegals' qualifications include:
- Completion of a legal services program accredited by the Law Society of Ontario.
- Successful completion of the Law Society's Paralegal Licensing Process, including Licensing Examinations.
- Paralegals are required to complete continuing professional development programming annually, carry professional liability insurance, submit to occasional practice audits, pay annual fees and file annual reports.
- Paralegals must adhere to professional conduct rules, which regulate conduct and competence, as well as adhering to by-laws related to topics like the management of trust accounts. Failure to comply may result in complaints and potentially the Law Society’s disciplinary process