Court Rules Legally Disabled Claimant Must Have Lawyer

In Sahyoun v Ho, the Court emphasized the need for a legally disabled person to have a lawyer, or the Public Guardian and Trustee, act on their behalf in the Supreme Court of British Columbia.


[13] Rule 20-2 of the Rules of Court deals with persons who labour under a legal disability. The relevant portions of the Rule provide:


Start of proceedings by person under disability


(2) A proceeding brought by or against a person under legal disability must be started or defended by his or her litigation guardian.


Lawyer must be involved


(4) A litigation guardian must act by a lawyer unless the litigation guardian is the Public Guardian and Trustee.


[14]  Rule 20-2(4) is very similar to R. 6(4) of the former Rules of Court. Arguably, the wording is now stronger. Formerly, R. 6(4) stated that the litigation guardian “shall act by a solicitor…” R. 20-2(4) now states that the litigation guardian “must act by a lawyer…”. Both “shall” and “must” are, however, defined in s. 29 of the Interpretation Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 238 as “imperative”.


[16] This court has interpreted the requirement that a litigation guardian “act by a lawyer” as set out in R. 20-2(4), and formerly under R. 6(4), very strictly.

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