Who We Are and What We Do

As the regulator of Nova Scotia’s legal profession, the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society (NSBS) exists to uphold and protect the public interest in the practice of law.

We fulfill our public interest mandate by ensuring that lawyers deliver competent and ethical legal services in accordance with the standards set for legal professionals.

The Society:

  • Accredits articling clerks and lawyers through a rigorous admissions and licensing process;
  • Establishes ethical standards through our Code of Professional Conduct;
  • Ensures the professional responsibility of lawyers, including by receiving and investigating complaints concerning lawyers’ quality of service and allegations of professional misconduct;
  • Sets practice standards and competency requirements for lawyers;
  • Strives to improve the administration of justice – we work with the Courts, government departments and justice system participants and facilitate dialogue and cooperation to help improve all aspects of the justice system for Nova Scotians.

Our Mission

We regulate the legal profession in the public interest in a manner that is proactive, inclusive and supportive so our members deliver competent and ethical legal services.

Our Vision

Acting in the public interest, we provide leadership, value and support to a competent, ethical, inclusive and engaged legal profession.

Our Values

These core values guide our work:

Excellence

We promote excellence in the profession and strive for excellence in all aspects of our work. We adopt appropriate and best policies, procedures and practices.

Fairness

We operate fairly and impartially. We are proactive, principled and proportionate.

Respect

We treat all persons with dignity and respect. We listen, consider and seek to understand other points of view.

Integrity

We approach our work in an ethical, honest and principled fashion.

Visionary leadership

We actively seek out and assess what is happening provincially, nationally and globally that affects the regulation of the legal profession. We anticipate and respond to a rapidly changing environment and have the courage to initiate change.

Diversity

We promote substantive equality and encourage the profession to embrace the value of diversity. We are inclusive and supportive of people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, practice environments and life experiences.

Accountability

We are open, transparent, objective and fiscally responsible in our independent governance and regulation of the profession.

How We Regulate – Our Triple P Approach

We regulate Nova Scotia lawyers in a manner that is risk-focused, proactive, principled and proportionate.

We embed this “Triple P” approach of being proactive, principled and proportionate in all of our activities.

Proactivity: We do not simply react, but we engage the legal profession and Nova Scotia’s communities to discuss challenges and opportunities.

Principled: We set a regulatory framework that is aspirational and focused on our public interest mandate rather than based solely on narrowly prescriptive rules.

Proportionate:  We apply efficient and effective regulatory measures to achieve objectives using, among others, risk assessment and risk management tools. It calls for a balancing of interests and a ‘proportionate’ response, both in terms of how the Society regulates and how it addresses issues of non-compliance.

Our Triple P regulation gives appropriate consideration to the risks to the public and the profession. It encourages innovative approaches to risk reduction, providing a regulatory system that serves the best interest of the public in having access to competent and ethical legal services.

Snapshot of Nova Scotia’s Legal Profession

The Society’s membership currently includes more than 2000 lawyers.

Each fall we share current statistics about Nova Scotia’s legal profession. The statistical snapshot includes:

  • numbers of practising lawyers and non-practising (including retired) members,
  • years at Bar,
  • geographic distribution,
  • gender and diversity data,
  • types of practice, and
  • areas of law.