VANCOUVER (March 20th, 2014)
– An Ontario-based paralegal recognised as a pioneer in his industry, will challenge a ban on practicing in British Columbia this morning at 10:30am at BC’s Provincial Courthouse, 800 Smithe Street,
and if successful, his campaign could help thousands of people in BC find affordable legal representation.Brian Lawrie, runs the largest paralegal firm in Canada. He’s a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, and was appointed Bencher by the Attorney General. He contributes to all government initiatives and legislation involving paralegals. However, in 1987, the Law Society of British Columbia stopped him from representing a Vancouver driver in court saying it was unlawful. In Ontario, the same law was successfully challenged and people facing traffic violations can now hire a paralegal to represent them in court, saving them from paying more costly lawyer fees.In BC, paralegals cannot be hired directly by those facing tickets. Paralegals here are assigned to cases by the lawyers they work for. In Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba, paralegals with expertise in traffic cases can be hired directly. If Lawrie’s petition is successful, it would open the doors for paralegals across the BC to practice independently of lawyers, meaning affordable representation is available to more people.
“I don’t see why British Columbians facing traffic tickets shouldn’t be afforded the same legal representation as those in three other Canadian provinces,” says Lawrie. “In our experience, paralegal representation in Ontario has not only benefitted those people who received tickets, it has also streamlined the court system.”
While simply paying a one-off ticket may seem to be cheaper than hiring legal counsel, with more than one infraction, drivers are at risk of losing their license, which can often affect peoples jobs, homes and livelihood. As well, receiving, accepting and paying a single ticket can increase insurance premiums significantly.
WHO: Brian Lawrie, Ontario based Paralegal
WHAT: Handing in legal petition to challenge a ruling that he cannot practice in BC
WHERE: BC Provincial Court, 800 Smithe Street
WHEN: Wednesday 19th March 2014 10:30am