The Law Society of Saskatchewan is considering how to extend a limited authority to practice law to alternative (non-lawyer) legal service providers on a case-by-case basis through limited licensing. The overall goal of implementing a Limited License framework is to enhance access to legal services for underserved Saskatchewan individuals balanced with ensuring public protection.
As the granting of a limited license to practice law is a novel approach to legal regulation in Canada, a new licensing system needs to be developed. The development of the limited licensing system involves consultation and pilots to support the advancement of appropriate rules and regulation. The pilot is for individuals that cannot otherwise offer their services under the present legislation or Rules of Professional Conduct with consideration for these criteria and parameters:
NEED – ACCESS TO LEGAL SERVICES
Is there an identified legal need being met through the services? Does the service fill a gap, providing underserved markets and locations with access to legal services?
SCOPE – COMPETENCE
What competencies may be required to deliver services effectively?
|What experience (education, training) does the provider have in the area of service?
|Has the provider been the subject of complaints, lawsuits, criminal prosecutions or other concerns that identify potential for integrity problems or consideration for the rule of law and administration of justice?
|Capacity – area of practice
|Are these high-risk areas of practice requiring more thorough analysis due to complexity?
|Capacity - type of service
|Are the types of services high-risk with potential prejudice/harm to the public if delivered without specific legal education or training?
|Capacity – professional development
|Do the legal services require ongoing regular continuing education to deliver effectively?
RISK MANAGEMENT – CONSUMER PROTECTION
What level of risk is identified for protection of the public interest?
|Compliance - Intention
|What is the provider’s desire to comply with regulation and achieve objectives?
|Compliance - Capability
|What is the provider’s capability to comply with regulation and achieve objectives?
|Is a form of insurance coverage in place in relation to the provision of legal services?
|Oversight / Scrutiny
|Is there proxy monitoring / oversight evident for the services?
There are several qualifications to these parameters:
At the conclusion of each pilot, the applicant may continue to deliver legal services according to the Rules that will be developed for limited licensees, unless determined by the Law Society that this is not in the public interest.