The Court of Quebec – Small Claims Division recently rendered a decision dated February 18, 1998 annulling a contract between a former lawyer-turned immigration consultant and his immigration client. The court ruled that the services provided by the immigration consultant falls within the prescribed duties of a practicing lawyer.
As is the case in all provinces in Canada, the practice of law in Quebec is regulated by the Quebec Bar Act and is restricted to licensed lawyers who are members in good standing of the Quebec Bar of practicing lawyers.
The court cited and followed the British Columbia Supreme Court decision of Law Society of British Columbia vs. Jaswant Singh Mangat and Westcoast Immigration Consultants Lt., and ordered the reimbursement of the $2600 in fees paid by the plaintiff to the consultant.
This decision follows an increasing trend by the provinces to enforce existing legislation. In effect:
- Non lawyers are prohibited from engaging in the practice of law.
- Providing advice in the immigration field is tantamount to practicing law without a license.
- Protection of the public lies at the heart of the restrictions placed upon non-lawyers who provide advice for a fee.