|For immediate release||November 30, 2015|
Law Society takes action to protect BC public from individuals, businesses engaging in unauthorized practice of law
Vancouver, November 30, 2015 – Under the Legal Profession Act, the Law Society is responsible for licensing lawyers and regulating the legal profession. The Law Society also takes action against those who put the public at risk by illegally offering legal services or misrepresenting themselves as lawyers.
From March 1, 2015 to November 15, 2015, the Law Society obtained undertakings from 15 individuals and businesses not to engage in the practice of law.
During that time period, the Law Society also obtained orders prohibiting the following individuals and businesses from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law:
On April 23, 2015, Walter Anderson of Surrey was prohibited from commencing, prosecuting or defending proceedings in any court, unless representing himself as an individual party to a proceeding, acting without counsel, solely on his own behalf. In 2013 and 2014, Anderson prosecuted proceedings on behalf of others in the Supreme Court without the expectation of a fee, gain or reward. In one proceeding, the court denied Anderson audience, finding his prosecution of the matter inappropriate and contrary to the Legal Profession Act. The order does not apply when Anderson commences, prosecutes or defends a proceeding on behalf of a company, provided that he is a registered officer or director of that company and such acts are purely incidental to his appointment.
On May 6, 2015, David Alexander Parsons of Quathiaski Cove, BC, doing business as www.cakehole-law.org, was prohibited from commencing, prosecuting or defending proceedings in any court on behalf of others, regardless of whether he charges a fee. The court found that Parsons had a history of prosecuting actions on behalf of others “to promote his ‘personal war’ with the justice system.” The order does not prevent Parsons from representing himself in any legal proceeding or from appearing in court with leave of the court or assisting others to prepare documents for court on an occasional or isolated basis, provided that any such assistance is done without the expectation of any fee or reward.
On May 28, 2015, Robert Arnold Gunderson of Duncan, BC was found in contempt of a 1999 court order prohibiting Gunderson from engaging in the practice of law, including giving legal advice, drafting trust documents and other legal documents. At the hearing, Gunderson admitted that, between 2012 and 2015, he prepared trust documents and demand letters and gave legal advice to various people and companies for or in the expectation of a fee, contrary to the order. In addition, Gunderson admitted that he prepared various corporate documents and incorporated a company, contrary to the Legal Profession Act. The court ordered Gunderson to pay a $5,000 fine and perform 240 hours of community service within one year, and pay the Law Society’s costs fixed at $5,000 within six months of the order. The court also expanded the 1999 order to prohibit Gunderson from preparing corporate documents for or in the expectation of a fee, gain or reward, direct or indirect from the person for whom the services are performed.
On June 11, 2015, R. Charles Bryfogle of Kamloops, BC was found in contempt of two court orders prohibiting him from prosecuting actions on behalf of others and from instituting proceedings without obtaining leave of the court and for failing to inform the Law Society of his involvement in the legal matters of others. The court suspended Bryfogle’s sentence for three years and placed him under a recognizance for one year, during which time he must complete 100 hours of community service in a field not related to law. Further, during that year, he may not enter any courthouse or file any documents without permission of his probation officer and leave of the court. The court expanded the injunction to require Bryfogle to inform the Law Society of any legal matter to which he is a party and awarded the Law Society its special costs. Bryfogle had previously been found in contempt in 2012.
On August 5, 2015, the court found Balwinder S. Brar and his former immigration consultant company Canada Wide Immigration Services Inc. in contempt of a 2005 injunction which prohibited him from engaging in the practice of law, including from providing divorce services. In 2015, the Law Society learned that Brar continued to provide divorce services as well as corporate law services and brought an application seeking a finding of contempt. Brar did not oppose the application. The court fined Brar $2,000 and ordered him to pay a further $2,000 in costs to the Law Society. In addition, Brar consented to expand the previous injunction to prohibit him from holding himself out as a lawyer, counsel or in any other manner that connotes he is entitled or qualified to engage in the practice of law. Brar is also permanently prohibited from offering any legal services for a fee, and from commencing, prosecuting or defending any proceeding in any court on behalf of others, regardless of whether he does so for a fee.
To read the consent orders, see the Law Society’s database of unauthorized practitioners.
Under the Legal Profession Act, only trained, qualified lawyers (or articled students or paralegals under a lawyer’s supervision) may provide legal services and advice to the public, as others are not regulated, nor insured.
When the Law Society receives complaints about an unqualified or untrained person purporting to provide legal services, it will investigate and take appropriate action if there is a potential for harm to the public.
The Law Society of British Columbia regulates the more than 11,000 practising lawyers in the province, setting and enforcing standards of professional conduct that ensure the public is well-served by a competent, honourable legal profession.
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