Benchers in British Columbia to consider next steps toward licensing paralegals

The Law Society of British Columbia's offices on Cambie Street in Vancouver. Photo: Google Streetview
By the Law Society of British Columnbia

On March 10, 2023 the Benchers will consider whether the Law Society should ask the government to permit the licensing of paralegals by bringing into force the amendments to the Legal Profession Act in Bill 57 – 2018 Attorney General Statutes Amendment Act, 2018.

In 2014, the Benchers adopted a recommendation from the Legal Services Regulatory Framework Task Force to seek amendments to the Legal Profession Act to permit the Law Society to license paralegals. In November 2018, the necessary amendments were included in Bill 57 – 2018 Attorney General Statutes Amendment Act and received Royal Assent. To date, the amendments have not been proclaimed in force.

Member resolutions at Law Society annual general meetings have directed the Benchers to complete consultations prior to asking government to bring the amendments into force, and in 2022 to oppose bringing the legislation into force. The Benchers are being asked to consider whether it is now in the public interest to move ahead with implementing the licensing of paralegals, despite the non-binding resolutions.

Although the government’s proposal to create a single legal regulator contemplates providing for the licensing of paralegals, if the amendments in Bill 57 were proclaimed in force, the Law Society could take immediate steps to begin the process of developing Rules for licensing of paralegals and provide an opportunity for those in the Law Society’s Innovation Sandbox to become licensed.

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  • Law Society of British Columbia

    The Law Society of British Columbia ensures the public is well served by legal professionals who are honourable and competent. We regulate the legal profession in BC, protecting the public interest in the administration of justice by setting and enforcing standards of professional conduct for lawyers. We also bring a voice to issues affecting the justice system and the delivery of legal services.