Authority to Practice Law

There are limits on who has the authority to practise law, and what the practice of law entails. The Legal Profession Act, 1990 defines the practice of law as: 

Practice of law 

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

You should know what acts constitute the “practice of law” under the Legal Profession Act, 1990 and Law Society of Saskatchewan Rules because:

    • no person can practise law in Saskatchewan unless they are an active member of the Law Society (section 30(1) of the Act);
    • active members of the Law Society must maintain insurance that provides indemnity against professional liability claims (section 11(1) of the Act and Rule 720);
    • you must help to prevent the unauthorized practice of law (section 7.6-1 of the Code of Professional Conduct); and
    • your non-lawyer staff cannot engage in the practice of law in Saskatchewan. See section 6.1-3 of the Code for a list of activities in which a non-lawyer cannot engage. To review the full list of activities prohibited for non-lawyers, see section 6.1-3 of the Code.

Be aware of exceptions for articling students, government agents and others in section 31 of the Act and exemptions in Rule 1002(1) and for alternative legal service providers under Part 10 of the Rules. The exemptions in the Rules include a person authorized in accordance with any provincial or federal statute to engage in practice of law activities listed in s.29.1 of The Legal Profession Act, 1990 which may include legislation such as:

  • Small Claims Act, 2016
  • Summary Offences Procedure Act, 1990
  • Criminal Code of Canada (limited authorization)

As a lawyer, you are responsible for the work completed by staff. Staff are expected to act at your instruction and on your authority. You are responsible to educate your staff on the duties assigned to them and should review, spot audit, and regularly oversee the work being completed by your staff.

Consider developing an office manual that sets out standard procedures, firm policies and employee benefits, and ensure that it is available (in hard copy or electronic form) for each employee.