Part 8 – Standards

8.1 Code of Professional Conduct

8.1.1  The ethical standards contained in the rules and commentaries of the Code of Professional Conduct, as amended, are adopted as ethical standards for all members of the Society, including Articled Clerks, law firms and lawyers who are subject to the rules governing members.

Practice in Other Jurisdictions

8.1.2  A lawyer who practices law in another Canadian jurisdiction must comply with the applicable legislation, regulations, rules, and professional conduct requirements of that jurisdiction.

Professional Standards

8.1.3 Lawyers practicing an area of law must comply with the standards of practice applicable to that area of law.

8.2 Professional Standards – Real Property Transactions

Requirements to Keep Foundation Documents

8.2.1  A practising lawyer or law firm that provides an opinion of title or a certificate of legal effect must keep foundation documents which a reasonably competent lawyer would rely upon to support the opinion of title or certificate of legal effect.

8.2.2  Subject to subregulation 8.2.4, the obligation of a law firm to keep foundation documents continues even if:

  • a lawyer who rendered an opinion or certificate of legal effect on behalf of the law firm is no longer practising in the law firm or at all; and
  • the law firm is dissolved.

8.2.3  A lawyer or law firm having the obligation to keep foundation documents may be relieved of that obligation if the foundation documents are transferred in accordance with this Regulation.

8.2.4  The foundation documents may be transferred if an application is made to the Executive Director by a lawyer or law firm in the prescribed form, together with:

  • the name of the lawyer or law firm to whom the foundation documents are being transferred;
  • the written consent of the lawyer or law firm receiving the foundation documents;
  • the time frame within which the transfer is to be completed; and
  • written confirmation from the lawyer or law firm that the transfer of foundation documents has been completed and they are being maintained in accordance with Regulation 8.2.

8.2.5  The foundation documents required to be kept available in this Part may be stored in paper or electronic form and must be capable of being reproduced upon the request of those entitled to request a copy.

Definitions

8.2.6  In subregulations 8.2.7 to 8.2.8:

  1. a closing date means the earlier of the following, as applicable
    1. the date agreed to by the parties,
    2. the date funds are advanced in the transaction,
    3. the date of recording or registering a mortgage that replaces another mortgage;
  2. a security interest means a security interest as defined in the Land Registration Act.

General Duty to Remove Security Interest – In Parcel Register

8.2.7  A practising lawyer or law firm that pays out, or causes to be paid out, in full or in part, a mortgage recorded in a parcel register under the Land Registration Act must take the steps required in subregulations 8.2.9 or 8.2.10, as applicable, to remove the security interest from the parcel register no later than 180 days from the closing date of the transaction.

General Duty to Remove Security Interest – Not in Parcel Register

8.2.8  A practising lawyer or law firm that pays out, or causes to be paid out, in full or in part, a mortgage not recorded in a parcel register must take the steps required in subregulations 8.2.9 or 8.2.10, as applicable, to remove the security interest from the registry as soon as reasonably possible after the closing date of the transaction.

Steps to Remove Security Interest – Purchase and Sale Agreement

8.2.9  A practising lawyer or law firm that is acting for the seller and pays out, or causes to be paid out, in full or in part, a mortgage in a purchase and sale transaction must take all of the following steps on the closing date of the transaction:

  1. provide to the buyer’s lawyer either
    1. a copy of the mortgage payout statement and confirmation of the transmittal of the payout proceeds by either providing a copy of the transmittal letter or the electronic transmittal, or
    2. if the client of the lawyer or law firm reasonably refuses to authorize the lawyer or law firm to provide a copy of the mortgage payout statement and confirmation of the transmittal of the mortgage proceeds, a statutory declaration signed by the lawyer, or a lawyer on behalf of the law firm, that identifies the parcel, provides the mortgage number and provides the mortgagee’s address, and states that sufficient funds have been transmitted to pay out the mortgage, and
  2. provide to the buyer’s lawyer an undertaking to
    1. release the security interest no later than by the time required in subregulations 8.2.7 or 8.2.8, as applicable, or
    2. in the case where the security interest is recorded in a parcel register under the Land Registration Act and it is apparent that the security interest will not be released within the time required in subregulation 8.2.7, complete all prescribed steps in accordance with Section 60 of the Land Registration Act and the Land Registration Administration Regulations to require the Registrar to cancel the security interest, no later than by the time required in subregulation 8.2.7.

Steps to Remove Security Interest – Transaction other than Purchase and Sale Transaction

8.2.10  A practising lawyer or law firm that is acting in a transaction, other than a purchase and sale transaction, that requires the recording in the parcel register or the registering in the registry of a mortgage to replace or amend a previously recorded or registered security interest, or that requires the certification or opinion as to the priority of a security interest recorded in the parcel register or registered in the registry that replaces or amends a previously recorded or registered security interest, must take all of the following steps on the closing date of the transaction:

  1. place in their file either a copy of
    1. the mortgage payout statement, if one is provided to the lawyer or law firm, and confirmation of the transmittal of the payout proceeds, by means of either a copy of the transmittal letter or the electronic transmittal, or confirmation that the payout has been effected, by means of written evidence, or
    2. a statutory declaration identifying the parcel, providing the mortgage number, providing the mortgagee’s address, and stating that sufficient funds have been transmitted to pay out the mortgage;
  2. release the previously recorded or registered security interest that the newly placed mortgage replaced, no later than the time prescribed in subregulations 8.2.7 or 8.2.8, as applicable; and
  3. in the case where the security interest is recorded in a parcel register under the Land Registration Act and it is apparent that the security interest will not be release within the time required in subregulation 8.2.7, complete all prescribed steps in accordance with Section 60 of the Land Registration Act and the Land Registration Administration Regulations to require the Registrar to cancel the security interest, no later than by the time required in subregulation 8.2.8.

8.3  Promotion of High Standards

8.3.1  In order to promote high standards for the practice of law, the Society may support programs that enhance the competence of lawyers.

8.3.2  Sole practitioners and law firms must develop an effective management system for ethical legal practice, and demonstrate that they are engaged in and committed to the following:

  • maintaining appropriate file and records management systems;
  • communicating in an effective, timely and civil manner;
  • ensuring confidentiality;
  • avoiding conflicts of interest;
  • developing competent practices;
  • ensuring effective management of the law firm and staff;
  • charging appropriate fees and disbursements;
  • sustaining effective and respectful relationships with clients, colleagues, courts, regulators, and the community;
  • working to improve diversity, inclusion and substantive equality; and
  • working to improve the administration of justice and access to legal services.

Self-Assessment

8.3.3  A sole practitioner or law firm may be requested to conduct a self-assessment through which they will evaluate the extent to which they have in place appropriate policies, practices and systems to support the elements as set out in subregulation 8.3.2 that apply to their practice.

Mandatory Training and Education

8.3.4  Council may from time to time prescribe mandatory training and educational requirements relating to the practice of law or a particular area of law.

Continuing Professional Development

8.3.5  “Continuing professional development” is any activity that has education as its primary purpose that is:

  • relevant to the professional needs of a lawyer; and
  • preserves and enhances a lawyer’s knowledge or skills in the areas of
  • substantive legal education and skills development,
  • risk and practice management, and
  • professionalism.

8.3.6  All practising lawyers are expected to complete a minimum of 12 hours of continuing professional development in each reporting year.

8.3.7  The reporting year for continuing professional development is June 1 through May 31.

8.3.8  Commencing June 1, 2016, every lawyer must:

  • prepare and implement a written plan for continuing professional development;
  • make a declaration to the Executive Director that a plan has been prepared and implemented;
  • maintain a record of continuing professional development undertaken and keep the record for five (5) years from the date of declaration; and
  • provide a copy of the plan and the record of continuing professional development undertaken to the Executive Director on request.

8.3.9  The Executive Director may commence an investigation pursuant to Regulation 9.2 if a lawyer fails to provide to the Executive Director a copy of the plan or the record of continuing professional development undertaken as required by subregulation 8.2.8.

8.3.10  The requirements of subregulation 8.3.8 also apply to lawyers who are suspended pursuant to Part III of the Act or subregulation 4.5.1.

Waiver

8.3.11  The Executive Director may, on receipt of the prescribed form, waive the requirements of this Regulation if, in the opinion of the Executive Director, such waiver is in the public interest.

8.4 Library

8.4.1  The library of the Society will be known as the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Library.

Purpose of Library

8.4.2  The library supports the work of the Society and the competent and professional practice of law by lawyers by:

  • organizing and distributing legal information; and
  • maintaining collections of materials to achieve this goal.

Library Policies

8.4.3  The Executive Director will ensure that policies governing the library are current.

Fees

8.4.4  Any library fees incurred by a lawyer or law firm as a result of the late returns, loss or destruction of library materials must be paid by June 30 of each year.