Criminal Law Practice Standards Consultation

The five groups of NSBS Standards include the Family Law Standards, Real Estate Standards, Law Office Management Standards, Criminal Law Standards and the new Wills, Powers of Attorney and Personal Directives Standards. These practice Standards are legal obligations for NS lawyers in your practice and represent things every lawyer must do at a minimum.

The Society’s Standards include guidance and resources that are useful particularly for newer lawyers or lawyers who do not practice extensively in that particular area of law.

We’re seeking feedback from lawyers, specifically criminal lawyers, on two draft Criminal Law Practice Standards – the draft Cultural Competence Standard and the draft Charter Applications Standard.

Your feedback is essential as we need firsthand insight from practicing lawyers on how these standards would be applied.

How to Provide Feedback

  1. Review the draft Criminal Standards – the draft Cultural Competence Standard and the draft Charter Application Standard.
  2. Submit your feedback by completing our online form(s) specific to the standard you are providing feedback on or by emailing your feedback to
  3. Feedback will be compiled and provided to the Criminal Law Professional Standards Committee.

About the Criminal Law Professional Standards Committee

The Society’s Criminal Law Professional Standards Committee, appointed by Council, is responsible for developing professional standards for the area of criminal law. This Committee includes members who practice privately, with NSLA and with the Crown.

A Standard is a pithy statement of requirements and is sometimes referred to as “above the line. “Below the line” is information (e.g. case law) and guidance which will be valuable to practitioners trying to integrate the standard into their practices.

Lawyers should keep up to date as new case law can move beyond the Standard, especially below the line. The Committee updates standards periodically.

How Criminal Law Standards are Drafted:

  1. A subcommittee of practitioners with experience in a specific area produce a draft Standard. After reviewing the draft Standard, the Committee passes it to the Racial Equity & Gender Equity Committees for review.
  2. Once the draft Standard is ready for Council, it is put on the Executive Committee agenda. The Executive Committee can add the draft Standard to Council’s Agenda, perhaps asking for improvements.
  3. Council provides preliminary approval for the draft Standard(s) to be circulated to members for feedback or may request that the Committee further refine the draft Standard.
  4. The Society sends draft Standard members for input. For the draft Criminal practice Standards, everyone who has self-identified on the Annual Lawyer Report as practising at least 1% criminal law receives an e-mail. We also share the call for feedback in InForum and on the Society’s website at
  5. The Committee considers all feedback received from members and approves the draft standard. If significant revisions are required, we may consult with members seeking additional feedback.
  6. A final draft is sent to the Executive, then Council for approval
  7. Once the Standard is approved by Council, it becomes a requirement for NS lawyers.