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Mar

30

What is a Paralegal?

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www.onlinecollegedegrees.net gives you all the info you need.

The following questions often arise in the course of legal service providers: what is a paralegal and what can a paralegal do?

In this blog, I’ll discuss the following: (1) paralegal definition and (2) the paralegal profession (including paralegal certification).  Please note that I’ll be discussing these topics as they pertain to Ontario paralegals (please keep in mind that each jurisdiction has its own way of treating paralegals).

Paralegal Definition
In Ontario, a paralegal is a legal person who is licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada to provide legal services (which includes representation and the preparaiton of documents pertaining to proceedings) in the following matters:

  • Criminal – Representation before Summary Conviction Court (i.e. summary offences carry lower fines and prison terms than indictable offences)
  • Civil Litigation – Representation before Small Claims Court (claims for $10,000 and less)
  • Government/Administrative Law – Representation before tribunal established by the Federal or Ontario Government.
  • Provincial Offences (including Highway Traffic Tickets) – Representation before Provincial Offences Court
  • Statutory accident benefits

Paralegals are not allowed to represent parties before family law courts.  Paralegals can also perform other legal services (e.g. corporate, wills and estates, family matters) but only under the direct supervision of a lawyer.

Paralegal Profession
Paralegals are governed by the Law Society of Upper Canada and must be accredited and pass exams in order to be licensed to practice as a paralegal.  This change came only recently after it was discovered that anyone without proper training, knowledge, skills, and experiences (and sometimes people with criminal records or dubious pasts) were acting as paralegals to the detriment of their clients.  Often paralegals pass coursework to earn a paralegal certification.  It is estimated that, in 2008, there were less than 1000 licensed paralegals in Ontario. If you need a paralegal, go to Dynamic Paralegals and make a post (it’s free and anonymous) and local paralegals will repsond to you with information and quotes (FREE!).

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