Cornwall Ontario – For Cornwall, Kingston, and now Ottawa Paralegal James Moak it’s been an interesting fight to see unauthorized practice by unlicensed people appearing before the Landlord & Tenant board of Ontario and other courts.
He was recently featured in the LAW TIMES twice (HERE & HERE) The weekly news bible reviewed his battle that stems from the case LSUC v Chiarelli and paralegal regulation since its inception.
Essentially Mr. Moak believes that Paralegals and Lawyers are the only people allowed to provide legal services. Legal services includes preparation and filing of documents and appearing for a party. The Law Society of Ontario and the Social Justice Tribunals Ontario have ignored this issue which places the general public at great risk.
Members of LSO are held to a very high standard including qualifications, insurance, and ongoing training.
Unlicensed people are not held accountable by any governing body or standards.
From the Law Times story:
Donna Mrvaljevic, a spokeswoman for the LTB, says the board asks representatives to include their law society number if they are filing an application on behalf of someone but that the absence of that number does not necessarily mean they do not have standing before the board.
She pointed to an exemption for in-house legal services providers, which, she says, property managers often claim when appearing before the LTB.
Mrvaljevic adds that the definition of a landlord in the Residential Tenancies Act is also very broad and includes the owner of a rental unit or anyone who permits occupancy of a rental unit.
Mr Moak responds to this quote:
The Chiarelli case clearly states that only licensed people may represent and representing is defined clearly in the law society act. Contrary to Ms Mrvaljevic, she has totally continued to perpetuate incorrectly, the Chiarelli decision. In a nutshell, if you are not licensed as a paralegal or a lawyer thou shall not provide legal services as defined by the Law Society Act. The Social Justice ??? is mandated by the statutory powers and procedures act to control their own process which to date they are refusing to do.
The Law Society of Ontario must step up and clearly state to the public that only licensed paralegals or lawyers may provide legal services and that this includes preparation of documents used in a proceeding as defined by the law society act.
Too much time has passed with this issue being ignored by the powers that be.
The final point is from Gabrielle Giroday who wrote in her editorial on the subject:
The real test of the depth of the problem would be litigation that arises from these matters, and Moak has raised a valid alarm about what could potentially transpire as a result.