Unlike other countries, such as England, in Canada there is no bright line between the types of matters which fall within the scope of practice of barristers and that of solicitors. Rather, Canadian lawyers are permitted – and often required – to handle both office and trial work. This is frequently the case for the general or sole practitioner.
In the field of wills and estates, the scope of practice of litigators and solicitors contains considerable overlap and largely depends upon the scope of practice of individual counsel. The difficulty for solicitors who practice in the area of wills and estates is deciding where along the road the matter has morphed from a purely administrative matter to a litigious matter. In what circumstances should the lawyer for the personal representative remain involved? What exactly is his or her role, and more accurately, what is the role of the personal representative in moving the matter forward? At what point should the lawyer refer the matter to another lawyer better versed in litigation matters? At what point must he or she refer it out? Finally, when should the personal representative and her lawyer be involved in the litigation at all? This paper was prepared for and presented at a Legal Education Society of Alberta Seminar.