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Monday, April 1, 2013

PROPERTY MANAGER BARRED FROM PROVIDING LEGAL SERVICES IN TENANT MATTERS

The Law Society of Upper Canada has succeeded in securing a permanent injunction against a property manager found to have been providing legal services in landlord and tenant matters without a licence as a lawyer or paralegal.

Enzo Vincent Chiarelli said he appears before the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board as a “personal representative” of landlords, a situation he argued makes him a landlord and not a legal adviser. But Superior Court Justice Robert Goldstein found otherwise in The Law Society of Upper Canada v. Chiarelli on March 19.

“I agree with the law society that when the respondent appears before the board, he is providing legal services,” wrote Goldstein.

“Appearing before an administrative tribunal as a paid representative to make submissions, examine witnesses, and cross-examine witnesses is quintessentially legal or paralegal work.”

If Chiarelli is correct in his argument, it means any paid person could appear before the tribunal without a legal practice licence, the judge said, adding the injunction doesn’t stop Chiarelli from making a living as a property manager.

“The prohibition is not on property managers. The prohibition is in respect of unlicensed legal professionals,” wrote Goldstein.

QUEBEC BAR APPROVES NEW MOBILITY AGREEMENT

The Barreau du Québec has voted to ratify the 2013 national mobility agreement that will allow lawyers from the rest of Canada the full and permanent ability to practise in that province. The move follows a decision by the Law Society of Upper Canada to approve the agreement.

Unlike previous mobility agreements that gave limited leeway for lawyers from common law jurisdictions to practise in Quebec, the new deal allows Canadian practitioners to act in an area of the law they’re competent in across the country.

POLL RESULTS

The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

According to the poll, the majority of participants agreed with a recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision that acknowledged remission and ineligibility for parole as sufficient grounds for enhanced sentencing credit for pretrial custody.

In R. v. Summers, the appeal court upheld a lower court’s decision to grant convicted murderer Sean Summers enhanced credit of 1-1/2 days for each day he spent in remand. The federal government’s new Truth in Sentencing Act, part of its tough-on-crime agenda, restricts courts from giving more than one day of credit for each day in pretrial custody except in certain circumstances.

About 75 per cent of poll participants agreed with the appeal court’s findings on the issue.

Several lawyers lauded the decision, saying it means those who spent time in pretrial custody will end up serving the same amount of time as others convicted of the same crime but who were out on bail.

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Lawyers have expressed concerns that of 38 justices of the peace the province appointed this summer, only 12 have law degrees. Do you think this is an issue?
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