Law Society Approves Expanded Role of Articling Students and Paralegals

October 15, 2010

The Benchers of the Law Society of BC have approved a plan to increase the range of functions articling students and paralegals can perform under a lawyer’s supervision. Although incremental changes are recommended, some specific changes have been approved, according to a news release on the Law Society’s website:

The Benchers accepted the task force’s recommendation that articled students be allowed to perform enhanced functions, such as acting as Commissioners for Oaths. The Benchers have requested the statutory change to allow that. The Credentials Committee will further explore what those expanded duties for articled students will look like.

The Benchers also accepted the task force’s recommendation that paralegals be allowed, in certain circumstances, to give legal advice under the supervision of a lawyer. The Law Society will also hold future consultations with the province’s courts to determine whether, and if so in what circumstances, paralegals should be permitted to act as an advocate.

Access to justice issues are complicated and will require a broad range of solutions; nevertheless, the Benchers believe this step is an important one in the right direction that will allow the profession to better meet the legal needs of the public it serves.

The recommendations flow from the Delivery of Legal Services Task Force Final Report, chaired by Art Vertlieb, QC. For more information, see the news release or the Task Force Report (pdf).

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