A Canadian Perspective

The Peterborough Examiner, a Canadian paper reports through its website on an appeal of a law that prohibits “stunt driving.” I’m posting some excerpts here not because of the law, but because of the statements made by a paralegal. Consider the differences in paralegal practice, the concept of UPL and the concept of “paralegal” that these statements indicate exist in Canada compared to our system:

Local paralegal agrees with judge’s rejection of stunt-driving law
Posted By SARAH DEETH/Examiner Staff Writer

While police continue to enforce the province’s stunt-driving law, members of the local legal community are heralding a recent ruling stating parts of the law are unconstitutional.

Justice Geoffrey Griffin, sitting in a Napanee courthouse, ruled that the law was unconstitutional following the appeal of 62-year-old Jane Raham, charged with stunt driving for driving 51 kilometres over the posted speed limit. Raham paid a fine but appealed the case at the urging of a paralegal.

Mark Greco, a local paralegal with Ontario Traffic Tickets, said the Justice Griffin made the right decision.

But not much is going to change when it comes to enforcing the law, Greco explained.

….

“I think a lot of justices are sympathetic to the fact that these people are punished enough,” Greco said.

Often his clients will agree to plead to a lesser charge in order to avoid a harsh sentence and to save the court trial time, he said.

That can still mean big fines and the loss of demerit points, he said, and sometimes the punishments handed out in traffic court are harsher than the ones handed down in criminal court.

The Crown is appealing Griffin’s ruling. Greco said he’s confident the Court of Appeal will agree with the ruling. (Emphasis added)

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2 Comments

  • Melissa H. says:

    Ontario, as of 2007, regulates independent paralegal practice. http://www.lsuc.on.ca/paralegals/ But according to the 2009 report to the Attorney General found here (http://www.lsuc.on.ca/media/mar3009_paralegal_regulation_en.pdf), the implication is that many nonattorneys were already offering services to the public without a license or other form of regulation. Why this happened so freely before regulation, I cannot tell by my moment’s browsing through the internet. Obviously, though, regulation and licensure of these nonattorney practitioners is better than a complete lack of regulation and their continued practice.

    When reading about communities that have implemented nonattorney regulation and practice, I find it so interesting that they are still able to draw a line between attorneys and nonattorneys. In fact, the rules in Ontario are so specific, they leave little question as to where nonattorney practice must end and attorney practice must begin.

  • […] previously posted on The Canadian Perspective regarding the role of a paralegal. Today The Paralegal Gateway has a post covering a story I was […]

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