Paralegal sentenced for unauthorized practice of law


    TORONTO, Oct. 2 /CNW/ - The Ontario Superior Court has sentenced North
Bay paralegal Maureen Boldt to four months house arrest for the unauthorized
practice of law. She was also ordered to pay $35,000 in costs. Over the past
13 years, Boldt has defied the law and put consumers at risk by continuing to
provide legal services that she was not authorized or qualified to provide.
Her sentence will commence October 15, 2007.
    "This is the first time in living memory that someone has been sentenced
to house arrest as a result of unauthorized practice," says Law Society
Treasurer Gavin MacKenzie. "The unauthorized practice of law, particularly in
the delicate area of family law, poses a very serious risk to the public."
Boldt was found to have prepared separation agreements as part of her family
mediation practice. The courts have noted that the creation of binding legal
agreements by individuals who lack the necessary training and expertise, can
have potentially devastating effects on people's lives.
    In 2000, the court ordered Boldt to stop providing legal services she was
not qualified to provide. When she defied the court order by continuing to
provide legal services, she was convicted in 2006 of contempt of court. Boldt
appealed that conviction and lost the appeal earlier this year. The Superior
Court has handed down her sentence.
    "We appreciate that the courts are willing to send a clear message that
consumers must be protected from unqualified people who seek to provide legal
advice and representation. It is also essential to the effective
administration of justice that court orders be respected, as the court has
clearly said in this case," adds the Treasurer.

    The Law Society governs legal service providers in the public interest by
ensuring that the people of Ontario are served by lawyers and paralegals who
meet high standards of learning, competence and professional conduct and by
upholding the independence, integrity and honour of the legal professions for
the purpose of advancing the cause of justice and the rule of law.




For further information: Roy Thomas, Communications Director at (416)
947-7619, rthomas@lsuc.on.ca, or Susan Tonkin, Communications Advisor at (416)
947-7605, stonkin@lsuc.on.ca