Law Society endorses paralegals as officers of the court

Posted: 12/01/2017

gazette-officers-courtConvocation endorsed the proposition that licensed paralegals be recognized as officers of the court in every court of record in Ontario in which paralegals are authorized to provide legal services.

Officers of the court are bound by certain duties, which the court can enforce, including duties of candor and fairness, and duties of integrity and respect for the administration of justice. Lawyers and certain others are officers of the court. The question of whether paralegals are officers of the court has remained unclear since the Law Society began regulating the profession in 2007.

Convocation’s endorsement reinforces and confirms the obligations that paralegals have as participants in the administration of justice. Recognizing paralegals as officers of the court additionally reinforces that as participants in the administration of justice, paralegals have duties to the courts and tribunals in which they appear and these duties override their duties to clients.

The endorsement does not impact the courts’ power to control their own processes or change the paralegal scope of practice.

See the Paralegal Standing Committee report to Convocation for more information.

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