What is a Paralegal?

Paralegals are legal professionals who can provide certain legal services and appear before certain lower level courts and administrative tribunals. In the Province of Ontario, they are licensed and regulated by the Law Society of Upper Canada (which also regulates and licenses lawyers).

What is the difference between a paralegal and a lawyer?

While lawyers can represent clients in any legal issue, paralegals can only represent clients in limited functions. In the province of Ontario, paralegals can represent clients in Small Claims Court (civil suits worth less than $25,000), in criminal cases in the Ontario Court of Justice under the Provincial Offences where the maximum penalty is no longer than 6 months in prison, and before administrative tribunals, such as the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). For a more detailed description, please see the page Paralegal issues.  Paralegals’ licensing and scope of work vary across provinces. If you have any questions, please contact the Law Society of Upper Canada at 1 800 668 7380.

What are the advantages of using a paralegal?

Paralegal fee are typically significantly less expensive than those of lawyers, making them a good alternative for people whose legal needs fall within the scope of services provided by paralegals, and who cannot afford lawyers’ fees. Paralegals charge between $40-$80/hour under the JusticeNet program.