LSUC Motion on Paralegal Scope of Practice

Omar Ha-Redeye attended the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Annual General Meeting on May 10, 2017, where a motion was introduced on the issue of paralegals practicing family law. The motion was brought by Maurice Benzaquen, Anar Dewshi, Jeffrey Goldberg, Gordon W. Harris, Michael Lesage, Larry J. Levine, J. Randal Montgomery, Desislava Nikolova, Peter Pietraszek, Michael Rubin, Lianne Sharvit, Darryl Singer and Sunish R. Uppal.

Omar Ha-Redeye addressed the motion, noting that it did not appear to address the contemporary challenges in family law, or the current state of the legal professions.  He noted that neither the Bonkalo Report or the paralegal community sought the entry of paralegals into family law without more formal additional training. He also pointed out that stagnation of law reform in these areas could only be attributable to lawyers, who have to date been the only licensees to practice in this area.

Alex Robinson of the Law Times covered the event, quoting an excerpt from Omar Ha-Redeye’s comments at the microphone,

Omar Ha-Redeye, a lawyer who has trained paralegals, pointed out that in the Bonkalo report, there is a suggestion that there would be additional training for paralegals.

The Bonkalo report also recommended that the law society create a specialized licence for paralegals to provide services.

Ha-Redeye said that the resistance from the family law bar to change was to blame for the practice’s inability to tackle access to justice issues in the area.

“The reason that it has not been addressed is because of us, the lawyers,” he said.

After lengthy discussion, members voted to table to allow the law society to continue its consultations and come up with a plan before the motion went to a vote. Membership voted 68-48 to table the motion. If the motion had passed, it would not be binding on Convocation, but benchers would have had to consider it.