Jeremy Maddock, et al. v. Law Society of British Columbia, et al.

(British Columbia) (Civil) (By Leave)


Law of professions — Barristers and solicitors — Representation by non-lawyer agents —Whether statutes allowing representation by agent in certain court proceedings indicates a legislative intention to permit paid agents to promote access to justice — Whether the principle of access to justice requires conflict between a statutory permission to appear as agent, and a general statutory prohibition on non-lawyers providing legal services for a fee, be resolved in favour of permission to appear as a paid agent - Legal Profession Act, S.B.C. 1998, c. 9 — Offence Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 338


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Applicant Jeremy Maddock is a self-employed legal consultant who provides legal research and other services to lawyers and members of the public. He obtained a law degree but is not, and never has been, a practicing lawyer.

The respondent Law Society of British Columbia contacted Mr. Maddock over concerns that he was engaging in activities restricted to practicing lawyers. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Maddock filed a petition in superior court seeking declarations concerning the interpretation of two statutory provisions — s. 15(2) of the Legal Profession Act and s. 57(2) of the Offence Act — which concern the extent to which non-lawyers may perform work of a legal nature.

The Law Society filed its own application, seeking an injunction under s. 85 of the Legal Profession Act to prevent Mr. Maddock from engaging in activities it considered to be restricted to practicing lawyers.

Both applications were heard together. The chambers judge found that Mr. Maddock had breached ss. 15(1) and 15(5) of the Legal Professions Act by engaging in the practice of law for a fee, and by prosecuting a matter in the British Columbia Supreme Court. The chambers judge granted the injunction sought by the Law Society, and dismissed Mr. Maddock’s application for declaratory relief. The Court of Appeal dismissed Mr. Maddock’s appeal.

Lower Court Rulings

January 21, 2020
Supreme Court of British Columbia

2020 BCSC 71, S184867
Application for declaratory relief dismissed; injunction granted to enjoin applicant from engaging in the practice of law or from commencing, prosecuting, or defending a proceeding in any court
February 3, 2023
Court of Appeal for British Columbia (Vancouver)

2023 BCCA 53, CA46693; CA46694
Appeal dismissed