Code Section Group

Business and Professions Code - BPC

DIVISION 3. PROFESSIONS AND VOCATIONS GENERALLY [5000 - 9998.11]

  ( Heading of Division 3 added by Stats. 1939, Ch. 30. )

CHAPTER 5.5. Legal Document Assistants and Unlawful Detainer Assistants [6400 - 6415]

  ( Chapter 5.5 repealed and added by Stats. 2002, Ch. 1018, Sec. 2. )

ARTICLE 2. Registration Procedures [6402 - 6407]
  ( Article 2 added by Stats. 2002, Ch. 1018, Sec. 2. )

6402.
  

A legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant shall be registered pursuant to this chapter by the county clerk in the county in which his or her principal place of business is located, and in which he or she maintains a branch office, and provide proof that the registrant has satisfied the bonding requirement of Section 6405. No person who has been disbarred or suspended from the practice of law pursuant to Article 6 (commencing with Section 6100) of Chapter 4 may, during the period of any disbarment or suspension, register as a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant. The Department of Consumer Affairs shall develop the application required to be completed by a person for purposes of registration as a legal document assistant. The application shall specify the types of proof that the applicant shall provide to the county clerk in order to demonstrate the qualifications and requirements of Section 6402.1.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 295, Sec. 3. (AB 285) Effective January 1, 2016. Repealed as of January 1, 2021, pursuant to Section 6401.7.)

6402.1.
  

To be eligible to apply for registration under this chapter as a legal document assistant, the applicant shall possess at least one of the following:

(a) A high school diploma or general equivalency diploma, and either a minimum of two years of law-related experience under the supervision of a licensed attorney, or a minimum of two years experience, prior to January 1, 1999, providing self-help service.

(b) A baccalaureate degree in any field and either a minimum of one year of law-related experience under the supervision of a licensed attorney, or a minimum of one year of experience, prior to January 1, 1999, providing self-help service.

(c) A certificate of completion from a paralegal program that is institutionally accredited but not approved by the American Bar Association, that requires successful completion of a minimum of 24 semester units, or the equivalent, in legal specialization courses.

(d) A certificate of completion from a paralegal program approved by the American Bar Association.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 2002, Ch. 1018, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2003. Repealed as of January 1, 2021, pursuant to Section 6401.7.)

6402.2.
  

To be eligible to renew registration under this chapter, the registrant shall complete 15 hours of continuing legal education courses, which meet the requirements of Section 6070, during the two-year period preceding renewal.

(Added by Stats. 2015, Ch. 295, Sec. 4. (AB 285) Effective January 1, 2016. Repealed as of January 1, 2021, pursuant to Section 6401.7.)

6403.
  

(a) The application for registration of a natural person shall contain all of the following statements about the applicant:

(1) Name, age, address, and telephone number.

(2) Whether he or she has been convicted of a felony, or of a misdemeanor under Section 6126 or 6127, or found liable under Section 6126.5.

(3) Whether he or she has been held liable in a civil action by final judgment or entry of a stipulated judgment, if the action alleged fraud, the use of an untrue or misleading representation, or the use of an unfair, unlawful, or deceptive business practice.

(4) Whether he or she has ever been convicted of a misdemeanor violation of this chapter.

(5) Whether he or she has had a civil judgment entered against him or her in an action arising out of the applicant’s negligent, reckless, or willful failure to properly perform his or her obligation as a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant.

(6) Whether he or she has had a registration revoked pursuant to Section 6413.

(7) If the application is for a renewal of registration, a statement by the applicant that he or she has completed the legal education courses required by Section 6402.2.

(b) The application for registration of a natural person shall be accompanied by the display of personal identification, such as a California driver’s license, birth certificate, or other identification acceptable to the county clerk to adequately determine the identity of the applicant.

(c) The application for registration of a partnership or corporation shall contain all of the following statements about the applicant:

(1) The names, ages, addresses, and telephone numbers of the general partners or officers.

(2) Whether the general partners or officers have ever been convicted of a felony, or a misdemeanor under Section 6126 or 6127, or found liable under Section 6126.5.

(3) Whether the general partners or officers have ever been held liable in a civil action by final judgment or entry of a stipulated judgment, if the action alleged fraud, the use of an untrue or misleading representation, or the use of an unfair, unlawful, or deceptive business practice.

(4) Whether the general partners or officers have ever been convicted of a misdemeanor violation of this chapter.

(5) Whether the general partners or officers have had a civil judgment entered against them in an action arising out of a negligent, reckless, or willful failure to properly perform the obligations of a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant.

(6) Whether the general partners or officers have ever had a registration revoked pursuant to Section 6413.

(7) If the application is for a renewal of registration, a statement by the applicant that the individuals performing legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant services have completed the legal education courses required by Section 6402.2.

(d) The applications made under this section shall be made under penalty of perjury.

(e) The county clerk shall retain the application for registration for a period of three years following the expiration date of the application, after which time the application may be destroyed if it is scanned or if the conditions specified in Section 26205.1 of the Government Code are met. If the application is scanned, the scanned image shall be retained for a period of 10 years, after which time that image may be destroyed and, notwithstanding Section 26205.1 of the Government Code, no reproduction thereof need be made or preserved.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 295, Sec. 5. (AB 285) Effective January 1, 2016. Repealed as of January 1, 2021, pursuant to Section 6401.7.)

6404.
  

An applicant shall pay a fee of one hundred seventy-five dollars ($175) to the county clerk at the time he or she files an application for initial registration or renewal of registration. An additional fee of ten dollars ($10) shall be paid to the county clerk for each additional identification card.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 295, Sec. 6. (AB 285) Effective January 1, 2016. Repealed as of January 1, 2021, pursuant to Section 6401.7.)

6405.
  

(a) (1) An application for a certificate of registration by an individual shall be accompanied by a bond of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) executed by a corporate surety qualified to do business in this state and conditioned upon compliance with this chapter. The total aggregate liability on the bond shall be limited to twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000).

(2) An application for a certificate of registration by a partnership or corporation shall be accompanied by a bond executed by a corporate surety qualified to do business in this state and conditioned upon compliance with this chapter in the following amount, based on the total number of legal document assistants and unlawful detainer assistants employed by the partnership or corporation:

(A) Twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for one to four assistants.

(B) Fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) for five to nine assistants.

(C) One hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for 10 or more assistants. An application for a certificate of registration by a person employed by a partnership or corporation shall be accompanied by a bond of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) only if the partnership or corporation has not posted a bond in the amount required by this subdivision.

(3) If a partnership or corporation increases the number of assistants it employs above the number stated in its application for a certificate of registration, the partnership or corporation shall promptly increase the bond to the applicable amount in subparagraphs (B) or (C) of paragraph (2) based on the actual number of assistants it employs, and shall promptly submit the increased bond to the county clerk.

(4) The bond may be terminated pursuant to Section 995.440 of, and Article 13 (commencing with Section 996.310) of Chapter 2 of Title 14 of Part 2 of, the Code of Civil Procedure.

(b) The county clerk shall, upon filing of the bond, deliver the bond forthwith to the county recorder for recording. The recording fee specified in Section 27361 of the Government Code shall be paid by the registrant. The fee may be paid to the county clerk who shall transmit it to the recorder.

(c) The fee for filing, canceling, revoking, or withdrawing the bond is seven dollars ($7).

(d) The county recorder shall record the bond and any notice of cancellation, revocation, or withdrawal of the bond, and shall thereafter mail the instrument, unless specified to the contrary, to the person named in the instrument and, if no person is named, to the party leaving it for recording. The recording fee specified in Section 27361 of the Government Code for notice of cancellation, revocation, or withdrawal of the bond shall be paid to the county clerk, who shall transmit it to the county recorder.

(e) In lieu of the bond required by subdivision (a), a registrant may deposit the amount required by subdivision (a) in cash with the county clerk.

(f) If the certificate is revoked, the bond or cash deposit shall be returned to the bonding party or depositor subject to subdivision (g) and the right of a person to recover against the bond or cash deposit under Section 6412.

(g) The county clerk may retain a cash deposit until the expiration of three years from the date the registrant has ceased to do business, or three years from the expiration or revocation date of the registration, in order to ensure there are no outstanding claims against the deposit. A judge may order the return of the deposit prior to the expiration of three years upon evidence satisfactory to the judge that there are no outstanding claims against the deposit.

(h) The bond required by this section shall be in favor of the State of California for the benefit of any person who is damaged as a result of the violation of this chapter or by the fraud, dishonesty, or incompetency of an individual, partnership, or corporation registered under this chapter. The bond required by this section shall also indicate the name of the county in which it will be filed.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 295, Sec. 7. (AB 285) Effective January 1, 2016. Repealed as of January 1, 2021, pursuant to Section 6401.7.)

6406.
  

(a) If granted, a certificate of registration shall be effective for a period of two years, until the date the bond expires, or until the total number of legal document assistants and unlawful detainer assistants employed by a partnership or corporation exceeds the number allowed for the amount of the bond in effect, whichever occurs first. Thereafter, a registrant shall file a new certificate of registration or a renewal of the certificate of registration and pay the fee required by Section 6404, and increase the amount of the bond if required to comply with subdivision (a) of Section 6405. A certificate of registration that is currently effective may be renewed up to 60 days prior to its expiration date and the effective date of the renewal shall be the date the current registration expires. The renewal shall be effective for a period of two years from the effective date or until the expiration date of the bond, or until the total number of legal document assistants and unlawful detainer assistants employed by a partnership or corporation exceeds the number allowed for the dollar amount of the bond in effect, whichever occurs first.

(b) Except as provided in subdivisions (d) to (f), inclusive, an applicant shall be denied registration or renewal of registration if the applicant has been any of the following:

(1) Convicted of a felony, or of a misdemeanor under Section 6126 or 6127, or found liable under Section 6126.5.

(2) Held liable in a civil action by final judgment or entry of a stipulated judgment, if the action alleged fraud, or the use of an untrue or misleading representation, or the use of an unfair, unlawful, or deceptive business practice.

(3) Convicted of a misdemeanor violation of this chapter.

(4) Had a civil judgment entered against him or her in an action arising out of the applicant’s negligent, reckless, or willful failure to properly perform his or her obligation as a legal document assistant or unlawful detainer assistant.

(5) Had his or her registration revoked pursuant to Section 6413.

(c) If the county clerk finds that the applicant has failed to demonstrate having met the requisite requirements of Section 6402, 6402.1, or 6402.2, or that any of the paragraphs of subdivision (b) apply, the county clerk, within three business days of submission of the application and fee, shall return the application and fee to the applicant with a notice to the applicant indicating the reason for the denial and the method of appeal.

(d) The denial of an application may be appealed by the applicant by submitting, to the director, the following:

(1) The completed application and notice from the county clerk specifying the reasons for the denial of the application.

(2) A copy of any final judgment or order that resulted from any conviction or civil judgment listed on the application.

(3) Any relevant information the applicant wishes to include for the record.

(e) The director shall order the applicant’s certificate of registration to be granted if the director determines that the issuance of a certificate of registration is not likely to expose consumers to a significant risk of harm based on a review of the application and any other information relating to the applicant’s unlawful act or unfair practice described in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, of subdivision (b). The director shall order the applicant’s certificate of registration to be denied if the director determines that issuance of a certificate of registration is likely to expose consumers to a significant risk of harm based on a review of the application and any other information relating to the applicant’s unlawful act or unfair practice described in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, of subdivision (b). The director shall send to the applicant and the county clerk a written decision listing the reasons registration shall be granted or denied within 30 days of the submission of the matter.

(f) If the director orders that the certificate of registration be granted, the applicant may resubmit the application, with the appropriate application fee and the written decision of the director. The county clerk shall grant the certificate of registration to the applicant within three business days of being supplied this information.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 295, Sec. 8. (AB 285) Effective January 1, 2016. Repealed as of January 1, 2021, pursuant to Section 6401.7.)

6407.
  

(a) The county clerk shall maintain a register of legal document assistants, and a register of unlawful detainer assistants, assign a unique number to each legal document assistant, or unlawful detainer assistant, and issue an identification card to each one. Upon renewal of registration, the same number shall be assigned, provided that the applicant is renewing registration in the same county in which he or she was previously registered and there is no lapse of three or more years in the period of registration.

(b) The identification card shall be a card not less than three and one-quarter by two inches, and shall contain at the top, the title “Legal Document Assistant” or “Unlawful Detainer Assistant,” as appropriate, followed by the registrant’s name, address, registration number, date of expiration, and county of registration. It shall also contain a photograph of the registrant in the lower left corner. The identification card for a partnership or corporation registration shall be issued in the name of the partnership or corporation, and shall not contain a photograph. The front of the card, above the title, shall also contain the following statement in 12-point boldface type: “This person is not a lawyer.” The front of the card, at the bottom, shall also contain the following statement in 12-point boldface type: “The county clerk has not evaluated this person’s knowledge, experience, or services.”

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 295, Sec. 9. (AB 285) Effective January 1, 2016. Repealed as of January 1, 2021, pursuant to Section 6401.7.)

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