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Amendments will modernize legal professions regulation, improve access to justice

The Ministry of Attorney General seeks to modernize the regulatory framework for legal professionals in B.C., including lawyers, notaries and paralegals, to better protect people accessing legal services and help improve access.

PHOTO: Stock

The Ministry of Attorney General seeks to modernize the regulatory framework for legal professionals in B.C., including lawyers, notaries and paralegals, to better protect people accessing legal services and help improve access.

On March 1, 2022, David Eby, Attorney General, wrote to the presidents of the Law Society of British Columbia and the Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia. Eby’s letter outlined several proposed changes to the existing regulatory framework.

Subject to further refinement as work progresses, a legislative proposal will be developed that involves:

  • regulating all legal professionals in B.C. under a single statute and by a single regulator;
  • establishing a mandate for the regulator that clarifies its duty to protect the public, including the public’s interest in accessing legal services and advice;
  • establishing a modern regulatory framework that is consistent with best practices in professional regulatory governance; and
  • establishing clearly defined scopes of practice for each regulated profession with procedures to allow for expanded scopes as needed.

Having all legal professionals under one independent regulator will help ensure an efficient and centralized approach to closing the access to justice gap. The changes will also strengthen the governance framework for all legal professions.

The specifics of these changes will continue to be refined by the ministry in collaboration with the Law Society of British Columbia, the Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia and representatives of the paralegal profession.

More information will also be shared, including when and how public input will be sought.

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