LAWYERS’ MONOPOLY? THINK AGAIN:
THE REALITY OF NON-LAWYER LEGAL SERVICE PROVISION IN CANADA
The statutes that govern the legal profession across the country reserve the practice of law for lawyers, giving rise to lawyers’ claim to a monopoly over legal services. However, those same statutes, and many others, also allow non-lawyers to engage in practice-of-law activities. Non-lawyers provide legal assistance, advice, and representation across Canada in a range of settings. The privilege of self-regulation imposes on law societies a duty to govern in the public interest. The public interest is often cited to support lawyers’ monopoly, which is a useless fiction. Arguments by lawyers to restrict or limit non-lawyers’ provision of legal services are essentially quality arguments. This article asserts that lawyers’ claims for a monopoly are inconsistent with both the extent and quality of non-lawyer legal service provision in Canada.