Paralegals appearing in Provincial Court required to present completed form

Designated paralegals making appearances in BC Provincial Court as part of the family law pilot project are required to bring an information sheet on each appearance and present it to the court when the case is spoken to.

Paralegals are to fill out the first portion of the form, and the presiding judge will complete the rest and provide it to a judicial secretary for transmission to the Office of the Chief Judge.

The purpose of the form is to track the number of appearances by paralegals and to assess how well they meet the expectations of the court. The information will be used by the court to determine whether the pilot project should be expanded to other districts and beyond family law.

The Law Society, the BC Supreme Court and the Provincial Court have partnered to create the two-year pilot project that will give designated paralegals a limited right of appearance in court. The goal is to identify whether lawyer-supervised paralegals are able to perform certain procedural applications in court in an efficient and competent manner.

The pilot project began on January 1, 2013 and followed changes to Law Society rules in July 2012 that gave designated paralegals permission to give legal advice and appear before a court or tribunal as permitted. The provisions regarding legal advice are not location specific.

More information about the Law Society’s paralegals initiative, the pilot project with the courts and the Provincial Court paralegal information sheet is available on the Law Society website under Lawyers > Paralegals.

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