The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society is responsible for protecting the public interest in the practice of law. This includes building equity and diversity values into the Society’s policies, procedures and activities. Under the direction of the Executive Director and through its mandate, the Equity & Access Office helps fulfil this responsibility by:
- seeking to improve the administration of justice;
- addressing issues of racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination in the legal profession; and
- ensuring that the legal profession adequately reflects the public it serves in Nova Scotia.
The Equity & Access Office advises the Society on equity issues and how to incorporate them into policies and operations. It promotes membership in the legal profession and the provision of legal services by members of equity-seeking groups. It also leads numerous initiatives that aim to improve the administration of justice by advocating for enhanced access to legal services and the justice system for equity-seeking groups.
The Office supports the Racial Equity Committee and Gender Equity Committee in accordance with their mandates, and provides resources for Council and all Society departments and Committees on issues of equity, diversity and discrimination.
As required under section 4(2)(d)(i) of the Legal Profession Act, the Equity & Access Office engages regularly with organizations and communities that have an interest in the Society’s purpose and reflect the economic, ethnic, racial, sexual and linguistic diversity of the province.
The Office addresses some of the expectations under Council Policy 18 for the Executive Director to build strategic alliances with external organizations. Increasingly, it also offers research and administrative support to the Society’s efforts to inspire and facilitate innovation in the practice of law in Nova Scotia.