Ethics and Professional Responsibility

Course Code: PLBA 4003

Academic Year: 2022-2023

This course examines the ethical issues that arise in a professional paralegal practice. The students examine the differences in responsibilities between supervised and independent paralegals and the interaction of paralegals within the legal community. In the framework of independent paralegal practice, students analyze the duty of paralegals to their clients, other licensees and the administration of justice. In developing appropriate ethical practices for paralegals, the students examine the paralegal rules of conduct developed by the Law Society of Upper Canada. Through case studies, the students gain insight into the pitfalls of different courses of action and the standards to which they are expected to adhere. The duty of paralegals to their clients is critically examined in the context of such issues as conflict of interest, confidentiality, competency and honesty and candour. In addition, a model of ethical advocacy practices is developed by assessing the duty of the independent paralegal to the court and tribunal as well as to the other parties and their legal representatives.