The Law Society of Ontario will be challenged on whether it facilitates access to justice for Ontario’s most vulnerable people

TORONTO, May 04, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Bruce Parsons, of Paladin LLP leads a group of paralegals who allege that the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) denies access to justice for financially vulnerable people in Ontario seeking legal services by resisting the expansion of their areas of practice and acts in the interests of its lawyer majority rather than that of Ontarians.

Dr. Lisa Trabucco, Assistant Professor at the University of Windsor, in the conclusion of her PhD dissertation published in 2020, stated that the Law Society’s actions in regulating paralegals had revealed “the Law Society’s propensity to favour lawyer interests over the public interest and to regulate preserving its entrenched status, prestige, and self-regulatory privilege for its benefit more than in and for the public interest”.

In February 2022, after 4 years of work, the Law Society’s comprehensive plan to allow paralegals to offer some services in family court was publically released. The plan was to be voted on that month at the Law Society’s Board of Directors meeting. After an outcry from lawyers, the proposal was withdrawn from the agenda. The board claimed that more study was needed.

This response has led a group of paralegals to take the unprecedented action to submit a motion calling for the LSO to approach the Attorney General, Doug Downey, about a new regulatory regime headed by the provincial government. The President of the Law Society, Teresa Donelly, referred to as the Treasurer, refused to put the motion on the agenda for the AGM on May 11, 2022, citing that the outcome of this non-binding motion would go against its by-laws and interferes with how the board runs the organization.

Even though the Treasurer tried to silence the paralegals, they plan to raise their issues at the AGM. They will argue the many ways they believe the Law Society has failed to govern in the public interest and why action must be taken now to improve access to justice of for all Ontarians.

The public funds hospitals and so are entitled to access to medical care.

The public funds the justice system and so are entitled to access to justice.

The public supports the courts from which lawyers derive their living. They, the lawyers, the overwhelming majority of the Law Society of Ontario’s board of directors and membership, have no right to deny the public access to justice.

“57% of parties appearing in family law court are self-represented, most of them with no means to obtain legal advice, which affects the most important matters in their life. The Law Society has failed the public in ensuring that everyone has affordable access to justice in a variety of means.”

Bruce Parsons

Bruce Parsons, the paralegal who filed the motion with the Law Society can be reached at:
Phone (289) 207-9833
Email [email protected]