Definition of the Practice of Law

Definition of the Practice of Law

The Ministry of Justice and the Law Society of Saskatchewan created a Task Team in 2017 to explore the possibility of allowing non-lawyers to provide some legal services.  One of the recommendations from the Task Team was to clarify the definition of the practice of law and identify what represents an unauthorized practice of law Effective January 1, 2020, amendments to The Legal Professions Act, include a clearer definition of the practice of law.  It reads as follows:


29.1 The practice of law is the application of legal principles and judgment with regard to the circumstances or objectives of another entity or person that require the knowledge and skill of a person trained in the law, and includes the following:

        (a) giving advice or counsel to others with respect to their legal rights or responsibilities or the legal rights or responsibilities of others;

        (b) drafting or completing legal documents or agreements that affect the legal rights of an entity or person;

        (c) representing another entity or person in any of the following:

              (i) a court;

              (ii) a formal administrative adjudicative proceeding;

              (iii) a formal dispute resolution process;

              (iv) any other administrative adjudicative proceeding in which legal pleadings are filed or a record is established as the basis for judicial review;

        (d) negotiating legal rights or responsibilities on behalf of another entity or person




Recognizing that many groups and individuals who are not lawyers may find themselves caught within the definition, the Law Society has added rule 1002(1) identifying certain groups and individuals who may be exempted from the new unauthorized practice provisions, and in the public interest, continue to provide limited legal services without becoming a lawyer.  These exceptions in the Rules are as follows:


Exemptions from the prohibition against the unauthorized practice of law

1002(1) Subject to subrule (2), for the purposes of clause 10(k.1) and clause 31(i) of the Act:

        (a) the following persons are exempt from the prohibition against the unauthorized practice of law in section 30 of the Act insofar as they are carrying out the functions mentioned in  clauses (i) to (xiii):

              (i) a person serving in a neutral capacity as a mediator or conciliator;

              (ii) a person participating in labour negotiations, arbitrations, conciliations or proceedings respecting collective bargaining rights or agreements;

              (iii) a person exercising an adjudicative function pursuant to statutory authority;

              (iv) a person acting as a legislative lobbyist;

              (v) a public officer acting within the scope of his or her authority as a public officer;

              (vi) a person employed by the government to act as a lay representative before administrative agencies or tribunals;

              (vii) a notary public exercising the powers conferred on the notary public by law;

              (viii) a person who delivers courtworker services to Aboriginal people through an Aboriginal delivery agency that has contracted with the Government of Saskatchewan or the Government of Canada to deliver courtworker services as part of the Aboriginal Courtworker Program;

              (ix) a person authorized to practice law in accordance with any provincial or federal statute;

              (x) an officer or employee of an incorporated or unincorporated organization preparing a document for the use of the organization or for an action or matter to which the organization is a party;

              (xi) a university law student in respect of services permitted to be provided by that student in accordance with the rules; and

              (xii) an individual who is representing a person in an administrative adjudicative proceeding if the administrative tribunal determines that the individual would be of assistance to the person and the tribunal;

       (2) Subrule (1)(a)(xiii) and (b) do not exempt the following persons from the prohibition against unauthorized practice:

       (a) a former member who has been disbarred and has not been reinstated;

       (b) a member who is under suspension for any reason;

       (c) a person who has been denied admission on the basis that the person is not suitable to practice, as defined in Part 7 or that admission would otherwise be inimical to the best interests of the public; or

       (d) a person against whom an injunction has been issued pursuant to section 32 of the Act during the time that the injunction is in effect;

       (e) a person who charges a fee for the service provided pursuant to subrule (1)(a)(xiii).