Unauthorized legal practice

As part of its statutory mandate to uphold and protect the public interest in the administration of justice, the Law Society routinely investigates allegations of unauthorized legal practice. A legal decision, whether it involves the purchase of a house, the start of a business or the drafting of a will, is often one of the most important decisions a person makes in life. It is therefore fundamentally important that he or she receives advice from someone properly qualified.

Section 1 of the Legal Profession Act defines the practice of law while s. 15 states that only a practising lawyer is entitled to practise law. Section 85 makes it an offence to practise law if you are not a lawyer. It is important to note that the practice of law is defined as carrying out any of the activities listed in s. 1 “for a fee, gain or reward, direct or indirect.” A non-lawyer who provides or offers to provide legal advice but is not seeking a fee is not violating the statute.

Other exceptions are notaries public in BC, who are entitled to provide a limited range of legal services — primarily real estate conveyancing, certain types of wills and affidavits. As well, immigration consultants are regulated by federal legislation and advocates appearing before workers’ compensation board tribunals are not regulated.

Anyone with questions regarding the right of a person who is not a member of the Law Society of BC to provide legal services should contact the Law Society at 604-669-2533 or 1-800-903-5300.

The Law Society has obtained undertakings or court orders prohibiting the following individuals and businesses from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.

Editor's note: Information on unauthorized practice undertakings is only published online for two years. As a result, some of this article is no longer available.

Charles Zhang , personally and doing business as Charles Zhang – Legal Adviser and Accounting Ltd., of Vancouver, BC, offered to prepare divorce, incorporation and other legal documents for a fee, and held himself out as a legal adviser. The BC Supreme Court has ordered that Mr. Zhang be prohibited from providing legal services, unless he becomes entitled to practise law in BC.

Linda G. Hill , personally and doing business as Progressive Coaching & Consulting Services, of Cultus Lake, BC, prepared divorce documents for a fee. The BC Supreme Court has ordered that Ms. Hill be prohibited from providing legal services, unless she becomes entitled to practise law in BC.

Samson Kwok (also known as Guo Jing) and Sino-Canadian Legal Services Inc., of Richmond, BC, offered to provide a variety of legal services, including criminal defence and civil, family and commercial litigation, for a fee. Mr. Kwok and Sino-Canadian Legal Services Inc. have consented to a BC Supreme Court order prohibiting them from providing legal services, unless they become entitled to practise law in BC.

Robert G.D. Gallard and Gallard’s Collection Service Ltd., of Victoria, BC, prepared documentation and provided representation in small claims matters for a fee. Mr. Gallard and Gallard’s Collection Service Ltd. have consented to a BC Supreme Court order prohibiting them from providing legal services, unless they become entitled to practise law in BC.

Hassan Naraghi (also known as Hassan Faghihi-Naraghi) and Taraz Accounting & Business Services Ltd., of North Vancouver, BC, were offering to incorporate companies for a fee. The BC Supreme Court has ordered that Mr. Naraghi and Taraz Accounting & Business Services Ltd. be prohibited from providing legal services, unless they become entitled to practise law in BC.

Ma Nguyen , of Vancouver, BC, offered to incorporate a company for a fee. Mr. Nguyen has consented to a BC Supreme Court order prohibiting him from providing legal services, unless he becomes entitled to practise law in BC.