Management Systems for Ethical Legal Practice (MSELP)

These core elements will assist legal entities in establishing Management Systems for Ethical Legal Practice (MSELP). They were identified through consideration of the Legal Profession Act, the Code of Professional Conduct, Practice Standards and regulations establishing requirements for the practice of law, with input from lawyers and other stakeholders, and lessons learned from complaints and claims made against lawyers in Nova Scotia.

Lawyers and legal entities are required to have in place all of the elements that apply to the specific legal entity, in order to have an effective management system for ethical legal practice, and demonstrate that the lawyer or legal entity is engaged in and committed to the following:

  1. Developing competent practices;
  2. Communicating in an effective, timely and civil manner;
  3. Ensuring confidentiality;
  4. Avoiding conflicts of interest;
  5. Maintaining appropriate file and records management systems;
  6. Ensuring effective management of the legal entity and staff;
  7. Charging appropriate fees and disbursements;  
  8. Sustaining effective and respectful relationships with clients, colleagues, courts, regulators and the community;
  9. Working to improve diversity, inclusion and substantive equality; and 
  10. Working to improve the administration of justice and access to legal services.

Legal entities will be required to use these elements as principles for creating and maintaining an effective ethical infrastructure that fits the nature, scope and characteristics of their practice. The elements describe ‘what’ legal entities will be asked to achieve but not ‘how’ to get there.

Council approved a Draft Self-assessment Tool on March 24, 2016 for purposes of a pilot project that launched in the fall of 2016.


Since November 2015, the Society engaged in an extensive consultation process with the profession about transforming regulation in general and specifically, legal entity regulation and the Management System for Ethical Legal Practice (MSELP). For details on highlights and feedback from the consultation thus far, see Legal Services Regulation – the consultation process.    

For details on the development of the original draft elements, see Appendix A, page 26 of Transforming Regulation and Governance Project: Phase 4, prepared by Creative Consequences P/L.