Law Society of Upper Canada

Law Society of Upper Canada

October 02, 2007 14:12 ET

Paralegal Sentenced for Unauthorized Practice of Law

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 2, 2007) - The Ontario Superior Court has sentenced North Bay paralegal Maureen Boldt to four months house arrest for the unauthorized practice of law. She was also ordered to pay $35,000 in costs. Over the past 13 years, Boldt has defied the law and put consumers at risk by continuing to provide legal services that she was not authorized or qualified to provide. Her sentence will commence October 15, 2007.

"This is the first time in living memory that someone has been sentenced to house arrest as a result of unauthorized practice," says Law Society Treasurer Gavin MacKenzie. "The unauthorized practice of law, particularly in the delicate area of family law, poses a very serious risk to the public." Boldt was found to have prepared separation agreements as part of her family mediation practice. The courts have noted that the creation of binding legal agreements by individuals who lack the necessary training and expertise, can have potentially devastating effects on people's lives.

In 2000, the court ordered Boldt to stop providing legal services she was not qualified to provide. When she defied the court order by continuing to provide legal services, she was convicted in 2006 of contempt of court. Boldt appealed that conviction and lost the appeal earlier this year. The Superior Court has handed down her sentence.

"We appreciate that the courts are willing to send a clear message that consumers must be protected from unqualified people who seek to provide legal advice and representation. It is also essential to the effective administration of justice that court orders be respected, as the court has clearly said in this case," adds the Treasurer.

The Law Society governs legal service providers in the public interest by ensuring that the people of Ontario are served by lawyers and paralegals who meet high standards of learning, competence and professional conduct and by upholding the independence, integrity and honour of the legal professions for the purpose of advancing the cause of justice and the rule of law.

Contact Information

  • Law Society of Upper Canada
    Roy Thomas
    Communications Director
    (416) 947-7619
    rthomas@lsuc.on.ca

    Law Society of Upper Canada
    Susan Tonkin
    Communications Advisor
    (416) 947-7605
    stonkin@lsuc.on.ca