Knowing the line between a paralegal and attorney

(Ali Hassan) #21

now, it is about education to the public about the policy, we are in the way to get law about legal aid

(Fatima Adamu) #22

Interesting discourse, I am of a different opinion though I completely agree with you 100% that we need to know our limit and let the people seeking our services know from onset that we are not lawyers. A paralegal is trained and equipped to give some level of legal advise For instance, if someone comes to you and says I want to buy a piece of land in this community but I do not know what to do or how to go about it. The response would be to point them towards the right procedure using your knowledge of the law and while doing that, you help them gain knowledge of the law and then they use it. In addition, the help them understand options available for various problems and how to engage with the law in finding solutions, that to me is giving advice. I still insist that what community based paralegals need to do which forms part of our ethnics is to state what your status really is. In advanced countries where people get a degree in paralegal studies and have a formal structures in the legal systems, the people already know their roles and functions.

(Ahmed Ismail) #23

Yes @eda I think that should be the nitty-gritty. Though the environments various but a Paralegal must stick on Empowering & Educating the Community taking them into light of what they don’t know about the Law√. And when it comes to represent a client in a Court Room, they can still offer assistance by breaking down some complex terms for him/her before the hearing begins.

(Oudom Ham) #24

Should there be any rule or principle for paralegal? Are there some universal criteria for community paralegal? Regards, Oudom

(Fatima Adamu) #25

@Oudom_Ham Are there some universal criteria for community paralegals ? I believe there should be some common ethics which should be universal Impersonation: This has been the most common challenge with the Bar here in Nigeria. The fear that paralegals may go off parading themselves as lawyers and therefore, the first lesson a community paralegal learns is that they are not lawyers and they are not expected to act as one.

Confidentiality – A community paralegal is expected to keep the secrets of a person seeking help and matters divulged to them should be between them except when there is need for a third party to be in the know, then it should be with the consent of the need assistance.

Politeness and Respect: Life is about respect for one another and courtesy is what makes them come back. Prompt and Timeliness: effectiveness and efficiency is measured by how timely service was . Dont keep people seeking for help waiting unnecessarily

Impartiality – A community paralegal must always be unbiased and impartial. If a case of interest comes to you, refer it to a colleague

Fairness and Justice – Do not let your culture, emotions or religion weigh heavily in the decisions you make or advice that you give, make sure you guide is the law.

Extortion: Except the organization you work for asks that you collect money for services, No community based paralegal shall collect money from any client in form of fees for services rendered. There could be some others and the list goes on. I say these are universal because they can fit into any context in the world .

(Oudom Ham) #26

@fatimaadamu, it’s very helpful! Thanks a lot for your sharing :slight_smile: Kind Regards, Oudom

(Eda Rosa) #27

In the United States of America there are organizations that paralegals can be certified under that have similar ethics guidelines as an attorney for example there is the National Association of Legal Assistance and one can receive certification per state as well. I am not aware of a universal or international organization(s).

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