Unauthorized practice of law
Under the Legal Profession Act, only trained, qualified lawyers (or articled students under a lawyer’s supervision) may provide legal services and advice to the public, as others are not regulated, nor are they required to carry insurance to compensate clients for errors and omission in the legal work or claims of theft by unscrupulous individuals marketing legal services.
When the Law Society receives complaints about an unqualified or untrained person purporting to provide legal assistance, the Society will investigate and take appropriate action if there is a potential for harm to the public.
From August 14 to November 13, 2012, the Law Society obtained undertakings from eight individuals and businesses not to engage in the practice of law.
The Law Society has obtained orders prohibiting the following individuals and businesses from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law:
- The Law Society received information that Bankson Cheung, aka Bankson Zhang and Weihua Consulting Inc., dba Weihua Services Centre and www.weihua.ca, of Richmond, provided legal advice and offered to prepare various legal documents, including immigration applications, separation and other divorce documents, and corporate documents. They have consented to an order not to engage in the practice of law as defined in section 1 of the Legal Profession Act and not to falsely represent themselves as counsel, lawyers, a law firm or a law corporation.
- Jacqueline Levesque, of Prince George, is a former lawyer who resigned in the face of disciplinary proceedings in 2010. In 2012, the Law Society received information that Levesque provided legal services to a collection company and appeared in court on its behalf. Levesque consented to an order prohibiting her from engaging in the practice of law for or without a fee, including giving or offering legal advice, negotiating the settlement of a claim for damages, drafting legal documents and representing herself as a lawyer or otherwise capable of practising law. Leveque is prohibited from commencing, prosecuting or defending an action in any court, unless acting on her own behalf. Levesque must also inform the Law Society of her involvement in any legal matter whatsoever, except where she is representing herself without counsel. These prohibitions will remain in place until Leveque is reinstated as a member in good standing with the Law Society.
- The Law Society received information that Grant Fathie, of Vancouver, represented himself as counsel and solicitor for a party to a motor vehicle accident. Fathie consented to an order prohibiting him from falsely representing himself as a lawyer, counsel, solicitor, advocate or in any other manner that suggests he is entitled to or capable of engaging in the practice of law. Fathie was also ordered to pay the Law Society its costs.