|For immediate release||February 25, 2016|
Law Society takes action to protect BC public from individuals, businesses engaging in unauthorized practice of law
Vancouver, February 25, 2016 – 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 November 16, 2015 to February 24, 2016, the Law Society obtained undertakings from four 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 November 25, 2015, the Supreme Court ordered, by consent, that Brent Chow of Surrey, doing business as Core Legal Services, Core Finance & Taxation, Core Accounting and “www.coretaxation.com,” be permanently prohibited from engaging in the practice of law for a fee and from commencing, prosecuting or defending proceedings in court on behalf of others, regardless of whether he charges a fee. The Law Society alleged that Chow offered various legal services for a fee, including the preparation of legal documents and pleadings and corporate services, and the provision of legal advice. Chow agreed to pay the Law Society’s costs in the amount of $1,500.
On November 27, 2015, Madam Justice Koenigsberg ordered that Bradley Jonathan Renford of Langley, doing business as Concise Paralegal Services, be prohibited and enjoined from engaging in the practice of law for a fee, including preparing legal documents and performing legal research for others. Renford is also prohibited from commencing, prosecuting or defending a proceeding in court on behalf of another, regardless of whether he charges a fee for doing so. The Law Society alleged that Renford provided legal services for a fee, including giving legal advice and preparing various court forms in family law and small claims matters. The Law Society also alleged that Renford took in hand the overall prosecution of lawsuits on behalf of others. The court awarded the Law Society its costs in the amount of $4,130.
On December 15, 2015, Mark Allan Nichol of Nanaimo, doing business as ESC Executor Services Corp., consented to an order prohibiting him from engaging in the practice of law for a fee and from commencing, prosecuting and defending proceedings in court on behalf of others. The Law Society alleged that Nichol prepared court documents with respect to the probate of an estate and gave legal advice for a fee. Nichol agreed to pay the Law Society $500 with respect to its costs.
On June 12, 2015, Madam Justice Gray found R. Charles Bryfogle of Kamloops in contempt of court and sentenced him to be incarcerated for 21 days, which was suspended and to be served only if Bryfogle was found to have committed a further breach of the various orders against him. On December 2, 2015, Associate Chief Justice Cullen found that Bryfogle had breached various orders subsequent to Madam Justice Gray’s order, and ordered him to be incarcerated for 21 days. The court ordered that Bryfogle remain bound by the recognizance ordered by Madam Justice Gray and awarded the Law Society its special costs.
On December 11, 2015, Mr. Justice Macintosh found Ralph Charles Goodwin of Duncan, doing business as Touchstone Committee and Touchstone Committee Law Institute and also known as Yuxwuletun and Gaia-Watts Enterprises Ltd., in contempt of the injunction order of Mr. Justice Greyell pronounced March 28, 2013. The court found that, on various websites, Goodwin had offered legal services to the public, represented himself as “Law Speaker,” “Chancellor of Laws” and other titles connoting that he was entitled or qualified to engage in the practice of law, contrary to the order of Mr. Justice Greyell. In addition, Goodwin failed to inform the Law Society of his involvement in the legal matters of others as the injunction required. The court ordered Goodwin to remove various websites on or before December 25, 2015. After Goodwin failed to remove the various websites, on February 3, 2016, Mr. Justice Macintosh ordered Goodwin to be incarcerated for 30 days without remission. Upon his release, Goodwin will have 30 days to remove the offending websites or he will be subject to further contempt proceedings. The court awarded the Law Society $5,519.87 in costs.
On February 10, 2016, Madam Justice Adair granted an injunction prohibiting Marc Pierre Boyer of Vancouver from engaging in the practice of law, from representing himself as a lawyer and barrister and from commencing, prosecuting and defending proceedings in any court. The court found that Boyer had defended a party to a criminal proceeding in Provincial Court and had commenced a proceeding in Supreme Court on behalf of another. While doing so, Boyer had improperly referred to himself as a “barrister.” The court awarded the Law Society $1,500 in costs.
On February 17, 2016, John Rynd of Alberta, also known as John Schneider, consented to an order prohibiting him from engaging in the practice of law in British Columbia and from commencing, prosecuting or defending proceedings in court, regardless of whether he charges a fee for doing so. Rynd is also prohibited from representing himself as a lawyer in British Columbia. Rynd is a former member of the Law Society of Alberta who resigned his membership in the face of disciplinary proceedings. The Law Society received a complaint that, through a business, Rynd had provided legal services with respect to ticket disputes in the Provincial Court of British Columbia.
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.
For further information contact: