Glossary of terms

Entity regulation exists in various forms in several other places in the world such as Australia and England & Wales. A specific language is evolving around it. This glossary explains specific terms as they relate to the Society’s ‘made-in-Nova Scotia’ approach. Check back as the list grows.

Alternative Business Structures (ABS)
ABS include non-legal ownership of law firms, publicly traded law firms, external investment or any other innovative way to offer legal services outside of the traditional partnership firm model. (Exist in England & Wales.)

Appropriate Management Systems (AMS)        
A term used in New South Wales, where the Office of the Legal Services Commissioner worked with representatives of other organizations and practitioners to develop guidelines and an approach for evaluating compliance with the statutory requirements. This collaboration resulted in an “education toward compliance” strategy, in which a designated director for an incorporated legal practice (a law firm) completes a self-assessment process (SAP), reporting on compliance with 10 elements of sound legal practice.

Entity Regulation
Also known as “entity-based regulation,” this means regulating an organization or lawyer that carries out work that is supervised by a lawyer, including other individuals operating within the organization who are non-lawyers.

ethical infrastructure
Formal and informal management policies, procedures and controls, work team cultures and habits of interaction and practice that support and encourage ethical behaviour within firms. The working title for the made-in-Nova Scotia version is a “Management System for Ethical Legal Practice” (MSELP).

Incorporated Legal Practices (ILP)
Incorporated law  firms in Australia. They are either traditional lawyer-owned entities or those with some  non-lawyer ownership.

legal entity
An organization or a lawyer that carries out work that is supervised by a lawyer whether the work is done by a lawyer or a non-lawyer, including but not limited to law firms, in-house counsel, government departments and Legal Aid.

Legal Profession Act (LPA)
Statute of the Province of Nova Scotia governing lawyers and the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, public-interest regulator of the legal profession. Find the Legal Profession Act on the Society’s website. 

Legal services regulation

Management System for Ethical Legal Practice (MSELP)
The regulatory model being developed by the Society to embody the concept of Proactive Management-Based Regulation in the Nova Scotia context.

Multi-Disciplinary Practices (MDP)
Business arrangement(s) in which individuals with different professional and non-professional qualifications practise together in partnership or association and combine their skills in providing advice and counsel to the consumers of their services. Some practical examples of MDPs might include the partnership of a lawyer, certified financial planner, or healthcare specialist such as a geriatric care manager or social worker to serve elderly clients; a lawyer and media relations specialist providing services to entertainers; as well as the traditional accountant-lawyer partnership.

Outcomes-focused regulation (OFR)
A regulatory regime that focuses on high level principles and outcomes that drive the provision of services for clients and the public.

Proactive Management-Based Regulation (PMBR)
PMBR is characterized by the appointment of one or more lawyer-managers by the firm to take enhanced responsibility for their firm‘s ethical infrastructure.

proportionate risk response
This calls for a selection of efficient, effective and proportionate regulatory measures to achieve regulatory objectives using, among others, risk assessment and risk management tools. It calls for a balancing of interests in terms of how the Society regulates, and how it addresses matters of non-compliance.

regulatory elements
The Society has identified 10 core elements to assist legal service entities in establishing management systems for ethical legal practice. Legal service entities will be required to use the 10 elements as principles for creating and maintaining an effective ethical infrastructure that fits the nature, scope and characteristics of their practice. The 10 elements describe ‘what’ legal service entities will be asked to achieve but not ‘how’ to get there. 

regulatory framework 
The regulatory framework for the Society describes the what, how and why of its regulatory activities. The ‘framework' is a concept that ties together the major components of the regulation of legal services in a structured way, showing the interrelationships of the Society’s legislative mandate (LPA), regulatory objectives, elements and outcomes in determining how the Society operates. Other frameworks can nest within the comprehensive regulatory framework if they represent a unique system of rules that establish the way that something operates, e.g., risk framework, outcomes measurement framework.

Regulatory Objectives
Six regulatory objectives for the Society, including the Triple-P approach to regulation: proactive, principled and proportionate. Approved by Council on November 14, 2014.

regulatory outcomes
Specified outcomes from the entity regulation regime that the regulator strives to achieve. An outcome is generally measurable to monitor progress. 

risk-based regulatory approach
The process used by a regulator to systemically assess the risks associated with a legal service entity's practice and to regulate in accordance with the identified risks. Also, to apply regulatory resources where the risks are the highest.

Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) or self-evaluation tool
Practical tool in the form of a questionnaire for a legal service entity or lawyer to determine the appropriateness of their structure, policies and procedures that ensure lawyers in the entity comply with their ethical duties and that non-lawyers associated with the firm behave in a manner consistent with the lawyers’ duties. 

Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)
Formed in January 2007 by the Legal Services Act to act as the independent regulatory arm of the Law Society, regulating solicitors in England and Wales. It follows outcomes-focused regulation (OFR) using a risk-based regulatory approach.

Any group or individual who can affect or is affected by achievement of the organization's objectives; or in the transforming regulation initiative, by the changes in regulation or the regulator’s processes.

Triple-P Regulation
A “proactive, principled and proportionate” approach that now guides the Society’s regulatory policy including design, implementation, monitoring compliance and enforcement of regulations.

  • Proactive (not reactive): Regulation will use risk as a main factor to anticipate where there might be problems in order to properly address them. If there is little harm or if the risk is acceptable, the regulator should get out of the way.
  • Principled (not prescriptive): Regulation will tell lawyers what to do, not how to do it. To be principled is to be focused on outcomes, not means.
  • Proportionate (not one size fits all): Regulation will be proportional to the risk it is designed to address, and much more tailored to the circumstances of lawyers, law firms and other entities that deliver legal services.

Wondering about any other legal services regulation terms not available in this glossary? Let us know at