If you have a complaint about the ethical conduct or competency of a lawyer in Nova Scotia, please read the instructions below. This form will be submitted to the Professional Responsibility Department of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society. For more information about how the Society processes complaints, please visit this page.
The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society’s Department of Professional Responsibility investigates complaints of conduct unbecoming a lawyer, professional incompetence, incapacity or professional misconduct with respect to a lawyer’s practice of law.
The Professional Responsibility Department is focused on protection of the public and excellence in regulation. Our role is to enhance the competence of members and assist them in adhering to the rules of professional conduct. A foundational principle for this department is to identify opportunities to educate, assist, monitor and guide members where problems have been found or reported, and to only use disciplinary measures where required in the public interest.
Please note that we cannot provide legal advice, change a court decision, or adjust the amount of fees your lawyer has charged you.
Below are examples of matters that fall outside of our mandate:
1. Other Jurisdictions
The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society only has jurisdiction over Nova Scotia lawyers. If your information is regarding a lawyer in another province or territory, please contact the Law Society in that jurisdiction.
2. Fee Disputes
We cannot assist with disputes about your lawyer’s fees. If you feel that your lawyer’s fees are too high or incorrect request an itemized account from your lawyer. If you cannot resolve this with your lawyer, you can ask the Small Claims Court to review it. The Small Claims Court has the authority to reduce the account in appropriate circumstances. You can find out more about the Small Claims Court here: [http://courts.ns.ca/small_claims_court/nsscc_home.htm]
3. Financial Compensation
The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society does not have jurisdiction to pay compensation or provide reimbursement. Professional negligence is generally not considered a complaint that the Society would investigate. If you believe that your lawyer was negligent in their representation of you and that you suffered a loss as a result, you may want to contact the Lawyers’ Insurance Association of Nova Scotia (LIANS).
The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society generally cannot provide compensation to complainants. However, if you gave the lawyer a retainer or they are holding money for you in trust and you believe that they have taken that money when they were not entitled to do so, please see the information regarding our Lawyers’ Fund for Client Compensation.
4. Current Court Matters
Matters involving Court proceedings are regulated by the Civil Procedure Rules and the general practice of the Court. In most cases, the Court decides on the conduct of Court proceedings. The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society’s process is not an alternative way to resolve a legal dispute you may have with someone else.
The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society will not get involved in any related legal disputes and cannot provide you with legal advice or opinion. The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society cannot compel a lawyer to withdraw from a file.
Zero Tolerance Harassment Prevention Policy
Help us maintain a safe and respectful workplace.
We listen to you and conduct ourselves in a respectful, professional manner. In return, we expect and depend on your cooperation.
In an effort to ensure a safe and respectful workplace, the Society will not accept abusive behaviour or communications toward our staff. This includes:
- demeaning or harassing comments;
- racist, discriminatory or obscene statements;
- sexual harassment; and
- intimidation, shouting and threats.
Our staff reserves the right to restrict communication with you if engage in any of these behaviours.
Thank you for helping us maintain a safe and respectful workplace.
By filing a complaint against your lawyer, you are waiving your lawyer’s duty to keep information about you confidential from the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society. You also consent to our contacting your lawyer, if necessary, for information in relation to this complaint. Once we have completed our initial evaluation of your complaint, we will decide whether or not to conduct an investigation.
- Please answer as much of this form as you can.
- Be factual. Give a description of what has taken place. Include relevant details as to time, place, etc. If you like, use point form.
- Also provide copies of any relevant materials that support your complaint.