More training needed before paralegals can practise family law

Posted on: October 20th, 2017 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

Paralegals would need additional training before taking on any family law work, Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar tells

In a report released earlier this year, former Ontario Court chief justice Annemarie Bonkalo recommended that paralegals be allowed to provide legal services in certain family law matters without the supervision of lawyers as part of a broader effort to boost access to justice.

Deliscar, principal of Deliscar Professional Corporation, a law firm that offers services in English, French and Spanish, says paralegals provide useful assistance to clients in areas of law where they are allowed to practice, such as in small claims court and for non-indictable criminal matters.

“When you’re getting into the domain of family law, it is a vast area, and there are many more nuances to it than some other areas of practice,” she says. “They would need some kind of training if they were to be allowed into court.

“It would be a steep learning curve for any paralegal, even one that has been in practice for a number of years, because this is an area they are not currently allowed to work in,” Deliscar adds.

Bonkalo’s report suggests that limited use of “properly trained and regulated” paralegals would be better than no representation in cases involving custody, access, simple child support, restraining orders, and simple and joint divorces without property.

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