Bill 57, the Attorney General Statutes Amendments Act, 2018

  • November 20, 2018

Yesterday the Attorney General introduced legislation to amend several aspects of the Legal Profession Act. Read more. The proposed amendments authorize the Law Society to regulate licensed paralegals and to include them in LSBC governance. If the legislation passes, it comes into effect by regulation at a future date.  The Law Society seeks responses to its Consultation Paper and Draft Proposal on the details of paralegal regulation by December 31, 2018.

From the Ministry of Attorney General

"Amendments to the Legal Profession Act will expand the types of professionals able to provide legal services to the public to include licensed paralegals, who will be permitted to provide a limited scope of services. The amendments will provide authority for the Law Society of British Columbia to make rules establishing the scope of practice for licensed paralegals or classes of licensed paralegals. Licensed paralegals will be governed by the general framework of the Legal Profession Act, and will be regulated by the Law Society of B.C.

The amendments will also clarify the rules governing the insurance program that the Law Society of B.C. provides to its members.  Both amendments have been requested by the Benchers of the Law Society of British Columbia on behalf of the Law Society of B.C.’s membership."

From the Law Society of BC

"Since 2008, the Law Society has been exploring improving access to justice through the creation of a new, regulated category of legal service provider. In 2014, the Law Society asked the provincial government to amend legislation in order to enable the Law Society to put in place a new category of legal service providers and authorize the Benchers to determine the services that they could provide.

[On November 19], the provincial government tabled a bill that would give the Law Society the authority that we have been seeking. Bill 57, the Attorney General Statutes Amendments Act, 2018 includes legislative amendments that permit but do not require the Benchers to license paralegals to deliver limited legal services as determined and approved by the Benchers. A link to bill may be found here.

The Benchers will take time to get the rules and responsibilities of any new category of legal service providers right. The recognition that there should be a range of legal service providers is one of the elements of the Law Society’s efforts to address unmet and underserved legal needs and improve the public’s access to legal services. While several steps are required before any changes in who may provide legal services take effect, we are committed to continuing to engage with and receive input from the profession."