Law Society of Upper Canada

Law Society of Upper Canada

October 01, 2013 16:13 ET

Bill Introduced to Increase Number of Law Society Paralegal Directors

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 1, 2013) - Today, Attorney General John Gerretsen introduced amendments to the Law Society Act that, if passed, will enhance access to justice and the effectiveness of Law Society governance by increasing the number of elected paralegal directors on the Law Society board.

"We are grateful to the Attorney General for his commitment to furthering the development of the paralegal profession," says Law Society Treasurer Thomas Conway. "This is important for both the protection of the public and access to justice."

Currently, five paralegals are elected by licensed paralegals, as members of the Paralegal Standing Committee. Two of the five are elected as benchers (directors), who fully participate in and vote at Convocation, the meeting of the Law Society's board. The amendments to the Law Society Act will see all five paralegals elected as benchers.

To improve protection of the public, the Law Society began regulating paralegals in 2007. An independent five-year review was conducted by David Morris who found that the regulation of paralegals by the Law Society was a 'remarkable success'. He made a series of recommendations, including the need to revise the Law Society's governance structure.

"I am very pleased that the Attorney General is moving forward with this significant step in advancing the paralegal profession," says Cathy Corsetti, chair of the Law Society's Paralegal Standing Committee. "These enhancements to Law Society governance are an important first step in implementing the Morris report recommendations."

"This proposed legislation would help to further modernize the regulation of the legal profession in Ontario. The result would be more efficient, effective, accountable and accessible services both for the public and for the professionals regulated by the Law Society of Upper Canada," says John Gerretsen, Attorney General.

The Law Society of Upper Canada regulates over 5,000 paralegals. Principal areas of practice include Small Claims Court, traffic and other provincial offences, landlord-tenant and various other tribunals, and minor matters under the Criminal Code.

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