Regulatory framework for delivery of legal services through Civil Society Organizations approved
Convocation approved a regulatory framework that permits lawyers and paralegals to provide legal services through registered civil society organizations, such as charities or not-for-profit corporations.
The framework is intended to enhance access to justice for individuals who may have legal issues but who have traditionally faced barriers to receiving legal advice from a lawyer or paralegal.
Lawyers and paralegals employed by CSOs will be able to provide legal services directly to clients of the organization. The framework enables the creation of new inclusive entry points for vulnerable people to find legal services, and integrated service delivery to people facing multiple issues, including legal problems.
Features of the regulatory framework include:
- guidelines for potential civil society registrants, a straightforward, convenient registration process, and civil society registrant annual filing requirements
- amendments to the lawyer and paralegal conduct rules highlighting particular competency requirements that apply when delivering services through CSOs, and prohibiting licensees from charging the clients a fee, or accepting referral fees
- By-Law changes prescribing CSO registration and de-registration processes, prohibiting fees being charged for the licensee’s services and the payment or acceptance of referral fees by either CSOs or licensees providing services to CSO clients, and insurance requirements for licensees
Convocation approved the policy permitting lawyers and paralegals to provide legal services through CSOs in principle in September, 2017. A consultation on the proposed regulatory framework was held in the fall of 2018.
The framework will be fully implemented by April 1, 2019.