July 10, 2023

While the Law Society encourages lawyers to work with designated paralegals to provide lower cost, competently delivered legal services to clients, there have been a number of incidents where lawyers have allowed a designated paralegal to attend Provincial Court to represent clients.

In light of these incidents, the Law Society reminds lawyers who supervise designated paralegals that the courts have exclusive discretion to permit appearances by designated paralegals. At present, although the BC Code permits designated paralegals to appear in court as permitted by the court, the court does not currently permit appearances.

The Law Society does not directly credential or regulate designated paralegals. Instead, the Law Society protects the public through the regulation of the supervising lawyer, who is responsible for the conduct of the designated paralegal.

It is the role and responsibility of lawyers to supervise paralegals, including designated paralegals. Ultimately, lawyers are professionally and legally responsible for all work delegated to paralegals. Lawyers are also accountable to the Law Society in the event of a complaint or indemnity claim stemming from a designated paralegal’s work.

Further information and guidelines about what is required of lawyers who supervise designated paralegals is available at Paralegals | The Law Society of British Columbia. For questions, contact CredentialsLicensing@lsbc.org.