Non-lawyers Practicing Law: Cases That Should Have Gone to the Supreme Court of Canada, But Didn’t!

Welcome to Cases That Should Have Gone to the Supreme Court of Canada, But Didn’t! This week, lawyer Kyla Lee discusses non-lawyers practicing law.

Acumen Law Corporation lawyer Kyla Lee gives her take on a made-in-Canada court case each week and discusses why these cases should have been heard by Canada’s highest court: the Supreme Court of Canada.

There are currently access to justice crises across Canada and one of the suggestions to deal with these crises has been to open up more non-lawyers practicing law.

Sebastien Ayangma was represented by his father in a proceeding against the city of Charlottetown and his mother intervened in the proceeding trying to prevent his father from acting for him, on the basis that he was effectively practicing law. The Superior Court judge agreed, the Court of Appeal disagreed, overturned the order and allowed Mr. Anangma’s father to continue acting for him. Leave was sought to the Supreme Court of Canada to determine whether or not a non-lawyer can represent their son in a proceeding against a city.

Ultimately, the SCC didn’t take the opportunity to clarify these circumstances. This is a very significant access to justice issue, also on the heels of proposed federal legislation in Bill C-75 that increases penalties for certain offences, thereby preventing non-lawyers from representing people through legal clinics with law students or paralegals in certain jurisdictions. The SCC had a real opportunity here to clarify the role of lawyers and the role of non-lawyers in our courts in light of an access to justice crisis.

Unfortunately, the SCC missed the opportunity here to either protect the role that lawyers play or to widen the scope of what non-lawyers can do to protect their family members when they can’t afford or don’t want to get the assistance of a lawyer.

Watch the video for more.

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