paperny ja

2.22: Self-represented litigants
2.23: Assistance before the Court

Case Summary

The Applicant, Real Estate Strategies Group Inc. (“RESG”), brought two Applications: the first, was an Application to allow RESG to be represented by an individual who is not a member of any Canadian law society; the second was to allow RESG to appeal after it had failed to comply with the timing for filing as provided by the Rules of Court. The second Application could only be heard if RESG was successful on the first as RESG’s agent would otherwise not be permitted to file any Court Applications on RESG’s behalf, nor represent RESG on the Appeal.

Paperny J.A. noted that Rule 2.22 provides that only individuals can be self-represented, requiring corporations to be represented by a member of a Canadian law society. Rule 2.23(1) allows an individual who is not a member of a Canadian law society to provide assistance to a party before the Court so long as that assistance does not include speaking for the party and does not contravene section 106(1) of the Legal Professions Act, RSA 2000, c L-8 (“LPA”). Section 106(1) of the LPA prohibits those who are not a member of the law society from acting as a barrister or solicitor, this includes appearing in Court or leading evidence on behalf of a party, as well as bringing Applications on behalf of a party. Accordingly, corporations must be represented before the superior Courts of the province by a person authorized to practice under the LPA, and the Court has no common law or inherent jurisdiction to permit such representation outside of that already provided for in the Rules of Court or the LPA.

RESG argued without authority that the “natural persons powers” granted to corporations under the Business Corporations Act, RSA 2000, c B-9 should prevail over the LPA. RESG’s principle also argued that requiring RESG to be represented by a member of the law society would contravene his rights under section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c 11, because RESG is a source of income to him. Justice Paperny, referring to prior leading authority, held that section 7 of the Charter was not a guarantee of financial prosperity or economic security.

In the result, Paperny J.A. concluded that RESG was not permitted to be represented by an individual who was not a member of the Law Society, and accordingly, both Applications were dismissed.

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