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PRACTICE BY UNAUTHORIZED PERSONS - Students-at-law

Wednesday, September 04, 2019 @ 8:55 AM  


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Motions by the appellants Jorowski and Eisbrenner to permit Sweryda to represent them in their respective appeals. Jorowski and Eisbrenner were charged under the Highway Traffic Act and appealed their provincial offence convictions to the Court of Queen’s Bench. Sweryda was a law student who was prepared to represent the appellants without expectation of receiving a fee or reward. The Crown took the position that to allow Sweryda to represent the appellants in the Court of Queen’s Bench would be contrary to the Legal Profession Act and the Criminal Proceedings Rules of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench. The appellants took the position that s. 53(1) of the Provincial Offences Act (POA) was clear and unambiguous and that, on its plain reading, it permitted a non-lawyer to act on behalf of a defendant in any POA proceeding in any court.

HELD: Motions dismissed. Sweryda was not permitted to represent the appellants. Section 53(1) of the POA was to be interpreted narrowly, allowing it to coexist with the Legal Profession Act without conflict. When read in the context of the entire POA, s. 53(1) did not authorize Sweryda to represent the appellants in the Court of Queen’s Bench. The application of s. 53(1) was limited to matters before a justice of the peace or a judge of the Provincial Court of Manitoba.

R. v. Jorowski, [2019] M.J. No. 206, Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench, S. Bond J., July 18, 2019. Digest No. TLD-September22019006