Changing Membership Categories

*New* An online application to change to non-practising categories (including retired, resigned, and life membership) is now available via the member portal!

Changing Your Category from Practising

Members in good standing may apply to hold a non-practising status (non-practising, retired, or life membership).

Status as a Non-Practising Member

As a non-practising member, you agree to not engage in the practice of law as defined in section 16 (1) of the Legal Profession Act.  When changing to a non-practicing status, please make suitable arrangements for:

  • all applicable client matters;
  • trust account obligations; and
  • outstanding claims or complaints.

Non-practising and retired lawyers can continue to notarize documents and swear affidavits. Generally, your notary commission and your ability to take an oath as a lawyer do not expire unless you resign or are disbarred. Learn more about the notary public process.

*non-practising members pay an annual fee of $300 + hst.

As a retired member, you agree to not engage in the practice of law as defined in section 16 (1) of the Legal Profession Act and can confirm that you no longer earn employment income.

*retired members pay an annual fee of $50 + hst.

*Life member is a person who has been a member for at least 50 years, is no longer engaged in the practice of law and is exempted from the payment of fees to the Society.

Resigning from the Society

A practising lawyer may apply to resign from the Society, however, the Society’s Council must approve resignation applications. Resignation is withdrawal from membership in the Society. This means that you need to be re-admitted to the Nova Scotia Bar should you wish to return to practice law. This can often be a lengthy process with additional associated costs.

You can access the application to change your membership category from practising (to non-practising, retired, resigned, or life membership) through the Society’s Member Sign In:

  • Sign in to your Member profile at members.nsbs.org by entering your username and password.
  • Find the application for change category down in the drop-down menu under ‘Applications’ in the navigation menu.
  • Click on change category down – this will take you to a page where you can select the application accordingly.
  • Complete the application.

Changing a Category to Practising

Non-practising members may apply to be reinstated to the Practising Lawyer membership category. Review Regulation 5.6 and the Policy Relating to Change of Membership Category to Practising Lawyer.

Submit the application, supporting materials and the fee well in advance of your effective category change date. This provides an opportunity to address any issues with an application in advance of the reinstatement date.

Your application will be processed and the Education & Credentials staff issue a ruling unless there are character or fitness issues. We refer all applications with character or fitness issues to the Credentials Committee.

We strive to process complete applications with no public interest issues within two weeks. However, it may take up to six weeks to complete the process.

We may extend timelines during periods of high application volume, particularly from April 1 to July 15.  Review our policy on timelines.

Change Category from Non-Practising to Retired

Reinstatement After Appointment to Judicial Office

A person who has been appointed to a judicial office, but is no longer in that office, may apply to the Society to be reinstated to any category of membership except an articled clerk (pursuant to Regulation 5.4). Review the policy .