International Law

Paralegals Sue Over Regulation By Canadian Bar Association

A group of paralegals in Ontario, Canada, has filed a court challenge to a new regulatory scheme that puts them under the authority of a bar association.

While the paralegals welcome regulation, they believe they, like lawyers, should be under the authority of a group in which they are full-fledged members, reports the Law Times. Instead, under the Access to Justice Act, which took effect in October 2006, they are regulated by the Law Society of Upper Canada.

The suit, which asks the divisional court to quash portions of the statute putting the law society in charge of paralegal regulation and require paralegals to be put in charge of regulating their own profession, names as defendants the attorney general of Ontario and the law society. It was filed by several paralegal groups, and the Paralegal Society of Canada is expected to be an intervenor.

“We’re happy to be regulated; we’ve always believed that we should be regulated” says Judi Simms, who serves as president of the Paralegal Society of Canada. “This is not opposition to regulation. This is merely an opposition to being regulated by a body who regard us as their competitors.”

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