May InForum: Courthouse Accessibility, Remembering Justice Chipman, and more!
- Society News
- Equity and Access
- Your Practice
- Lawyers’ Insurance Association of Nova Scotia
- News From the NS Courts
- Professional Responsibility
- Changes in Category
- For Your Information
- Missing Wills
- Career Opportunities
- Upcoming Events
Remembering Justice Chipman
The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society expresses our sincere condolences to the friends and family of Justice David Ritchie Chipman, who passed away on April 23, 2023. Justice David Chipman was a member of our bar from 1953 until he was elevated to the Appeal Division of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in 1987.
Justice Chipman was an active volunteer with the Society before he became a member of the judiciary. Justice Chipman served as the Society’s president, a Council Member, and a member of 13 committees ranging from the administration of justice to discipline to legal ethics during his career as a lawyer. Justice Chipman was a brilliant legal mind, a valuable contributor to the Society, and an exemplary model for all members of our Bar.
While the Justice community in Nova Scotia celebrates the life of the late Justice David Chipman, the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society has referenced our archives to remember his contributions to our profession.
As president of the Bar Society’s Council from 1982-1983, Justice Chipman’s tenure was shaped by his role as a consensus builder and an advocate for common-sense regulation. In several Council meetings, Justice Chipman communicated his appreciation for his fellow Council members and stressed the importance of creating a collaborative and cohesive space at the Council Table. During his term, the Society and the rest of the legal profession were adapting to the enactment of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Justice Chipman was instrumental in steering the Society through the changes while ensuring that the organization did not stray from its mandate.
He was relentless in his advocacy for the public interest. In numerous instances, Justice Chipman implored his fellow Council members to look past their own priorities and anchor their decision in the Bar Council’s role and the lens through which they ought to regulate. Justice Chipman’s sense of duty as a member of the judiciary is well-complemented by his work in the service of public-interest regulation.
The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society remembers and celebrates the contribution he made to our profession. The Society extends our condolences to his friends and family.
Register for the NSBS Annual Meeting
The Society’s Annual Meeting will take place on June 17, 2023 at 8:30 am at Hotel Halifax and virtually. Members of the Society are invited to indicate if they intend to attend the Annual Meeting virtually through Zoom or in-person by registering at this link.
We will hear from Jill Perry, Past President of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, and current President of the Federation of Law Societies and from Jonathan Herman, CEO of the Federation of Law Societies. They will date us on the work of the Federation, with particular reference to the National Study on the Health & Wellness Determinants of Legal Professionals in Canada.
If you choose to attend via Zoom, a link will be shared with you in advance of the meeting by email.
The deadline to register for the meeting is on June 14. If you have any questions on how to register or have any accessibility concerns, please email [email protected].
Nominations open for 2023 Distinguished Service Award
The Society’s Distinguished Service Award (DSA), established in 1999, recognizes outstanding lawyers who have contributed significantly to their community, the legal profession and to the Society.
The DSA Committee reviews the nominations and makes a recommendation to Council based on these considerations:
- Integrity: The recipient is of unimpeachably good character, with a reputation for the highest professional integrity.
- Professional achievement: The recipient is amongst the leaders in the practice of law or the academic realm.
- Service to the profession: The recipient has made long-term, exceptional volunteer contributions to elevate the legal profession through work with one or more of the following: The Society, the justice system, legal scholarship or otherwise.
- Community service: The recipient is an outstanding contributor to the community, through volunteer service and a commitment to making the world a better place.
- Reform: The recipient has made an outstanding contribution to the betterment of the law or the improvement of the justice system.
- Overall: The recipient espouses the highest ideals of the legal profession and is a person to whom all members of the profession can look for inspiration.
Do you know an outstanding lawyer who fits the nomination criteria?
Both members of the Society and members of the public may nominate a lawyer.
Questions? Please contact the Society’s Strategy & Engagement Advisor, Jane Willwerth, at [email protected].
Equity and Access
Equity and Access Office: May Update
I hope that you are doing well as we all work away through spring and into the summer. I wanted to take some time this month to highlight a handful of equity-related changes and events that have happened over the last month and share what is coming up on our calendars.
This past month the Michaëlle Jean Foundation published the Halifax Declaration for the Eradication of Racial Discrimination as a part of the International Decade Dedicated to People of African Descent. It recognizes the abhorrent impact of colonialism and its impact on Canadians of African descent as well as Indigenous people, the injustices that Canadians of African descent have been subjected to, and the necessity to create a barrier free environment within which they can prosper. The Declaration contains several calls to action which are especially relevant to people working in the justice community in this province, and we encourage you to read it and consider how it may be relevant to your practice. It is available here.
Accessibility concerns have been raised by the Disability Equity Committee and several Society members related to the Halifax Courthouse located on Upper Water Street. Due to the current closure of the parking garage, the only access to the courthouse is through the pedway or the staircase, which has rendered the courthouse inaccessible to many with mobility concerns. At the Society’s last council meeting a resolution was passed directing the Society to advocate for urgent measures to be taken to make the Halifax Law Courts accessible. Below are photos of the current access points to the courthouse at the entrance and at the pedway. It is clear that the only entrance that would be feasible for a person with mobility issues to use is the entrance to the parking garage that is closed to vehicles. Even still, this entry point is dimly lit, an uneven surface, and contains a considerable slope that people using a wheelchair or walker may find challenging.
I want to assure our members that this matter is being taken seriously by our Equity and Access Office and we have reached out to all provincial and municipal government officials urging them to develop an acceptable temporary solution. So far, the Society has opened a dialogue with representatives from the provincial government who share in our concerns. These discussions have been productive and we, along with other stakeholders at the Courts, are exploring solutions, including finding a temporary measure to make the parking garage as accessible as possible during the construction. We will continue to update members on any developments in this issue.
In May, we also recognized the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. We believe that it is important for our members to be aware of these equity days of recognition as they provide an opportunity for all of us to reflect on how these issues may present themselves in our work and in our personal lives. As we look ahead, the Society is beginning to plan our Pride reception and is looking forward to sharing more information with members as it becomes available. Additionally, The Racial Equity Committee is organizing its networking event for newly called members and is also soon to announce the winners of the 2023 Race and the Law Essay Prize. June is also National Indigenous History Month, and the Society will be sharing resources for members to help recognize Indigenous History.
— Marla Brown, NSBS Director, Equity and Access
Award for Mi’kmaq & Indigenous Peoples Excellence in the Legal Profession (AMIE)
The Society is seeking nominations for the Award for Mi’kmaq & Indigenous Peoples Excellence in the Legal Profession (AMIE), which recognizes outstanding Mi’kmaq and Indigenous lawyers within Nova Scotia who have contributed to their community, their Nation, the legal profession and to the Society.
Last year’s recipient was Josie McKinney. Read more about the award and Josie’s biography here.
The AMIE Committee will review nominations and make recommendations to Council based on the following criteria:
- The Nominee is a Mi’kmaw or Indigenous lawyer (practising or non-practising) within Nova Scotia.
- Community Service: The recipient contributes and shows commitment to the Mi’kmaq & Indigenous community through volunteer work.
- Reform: The recipient has made and continues to advocate for reform and change in the justice system to ensure substantive equity for the Mi’kmaq communities and Indigenous peoples living in Nova Scotia.
- Leadership: The recipient is a community leader striving for change.
- Mentorship: The recipient is a mentor to other Mi’kmaq and Indigenous lawyers.
- Overall: The recipient has a career in advancing Mi’kmaq and Indigenous rights and legal traditions.
Do you know an outstanding Mi’kmaw or Indigenous lawyer who fits the nomination criteria?
Nominate a lawyer by submitting a completed nomination form or a nomination form by July 7th.
Questions about this award? Contact the Society’s Equity and Access at [email protected].
Disposal of Undistributed Trust Funds
The next application for disposal of undistributed trust funds will be made in July 2023. Submissions should be received at the Society’s offices no later than July 5th, 2023.
If you wish to make an application for the disposal of undistributed trust funds, please refer to the FAQ’s and the Procedure and Sample Documents, or contact Heather Burchill, Professional Responsibility Counsel, at (902) 377 6307 or [email protected]
Announcement of Membership Fees 2023
The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society has shared the schedule of fees for the 2023/2024 fee year. Membership fees over the next year have reduced compared to last year. Fees are $2,436, a reduction from the $2,480 fees that has been unchanged since 2019/20. Financial surpluses over the last five years have grown reserves. A rebate funded from these reserves will be applied against the breakeven level of fees over each of the next three years.
2023-2024 Society Membership Fees
- Practising: $2,436 + HST
- Non-Practising: $300 + HST
- Retired members: $50 + HST
The LIANS insurance levy for full practicing lawyers is also reduced from last year, the result of the Board of Directors agreeing to a larger credit. The increasing number of insured lawyers also helped to achieve this result. For the 2023-2024 policy year, the net levy due for full practicing lawyers is $1,820, a 6% decline from last year. Government lawyers and legal aid staff lawyers continue to pay a reduced insurance levy.
For a detailed account of the fees and the LIANS Insurance Levy, please visit the Fees page on our website.
Cheque Clearing and Trust Account Cheques
There may be misconceptions that trust account cheques are not subject to regular bank clearing rules that apply to all cheques. This is not the case. Banks may hold funds on deposited cheques until the cheque is cleared, meaning that those funds cannot be paid out for a number of days.
Historically staff at the branch level have had the ability to override the holds and have often done so to assist lawyers in closing transactions. With increasing fraud, banking rules and policies are changing, including reducing the discretion of bank staff, and cheques are more frequently being held for the clearing period.
If you are relying on having immediate access to funds deposited by cheque, including a cheque from another lawyer’s trust account, you are risking that the transaction will not be completed on the expected date, as the bank may put a hold on the funds.
If you pay out funds based on any deposited cheque before the cheque has cleared you are putting yourself at risk of fraud. Having a deposit slip or seeing the balance appear in your account online does not mean the cheque can not be returned NSF and the deposit reversed.
Recent Changes: Have you talked to your bank about hold policies lately?
We have recently been informed of automatic holds being placed on some cheques over a particular dollar threshold. An automatic hold policy is starting to be implemented at some financial institutions. These policies are catching some law firms off guard. If a cheque is flagged, a hold may be placed, unless the branch manager approves the item and chooses to waive the hold. This has been creating issues with trust accounts. It is our understanding that the banks will be issuing a communication explaining any new policy.
The Trust Accounts Team at the Society wants to remind Nova Scotia lawyers to follow best practice when using any form of paper-based payment such as trust cheques. The Society does not guarantee trust cheques because we do not know the financial position of the lawyers’ clients that made deposits.
Paper-based payment instruments such as cheques, certified cheques, money orders and bank drafts are subject to forgery, fraud or can potentially be returned due to insufficient funds, holds, restrictions on deposits or stop payments. Any financial institution’s choice to implement a holding policy is for the purpose of combating fraud. Prior to making a withdrawal from a trust, a lawyer must ensure that the client has sufficient money in trust to cover the withdrawal and the trust bank account has sufficient funds to permit the withdrawal to be completed. Failure to complete the second step is a common source of inadvertent trust shortages, where a payment is made before the necessary funds into trust have cleared the bank account.
To prevent these types of shortages, please follow best practice:
Allow four to five business days for any paper-based payment instrument to clear the bank prior to making a withdrawal; or, receive funds by wire payment as this is usually guaranteed and irrevocable. (Verify with your bank as to the type of electronic deposit received or to be used, not all electronic payment methods are the same. Typically wires are almost immediate and irrevocable, but other types of electronic transfer may not be irrevocable)
What should your next steps be?
Have a conversation with your branch manager and request information about hold policies. Gain an understanding of items or a dollar threshold that may cause a flag to have a hold put on a trust cheque automatically. It is important to stay well informed as we learn how the use of trust cheques will be impacted going forward. In the future, it will be more commonplace to increase the use of electronic funds transfers or wires.
As a reminder, please be cautious when using electronic banking. Fraudsters have become more sophisticated and may have hacked your client’s email account. If you receive a request for a change in banking information, it is best practice to also verify the change over the phone.
Lawyers’ Insurance Association of Nova Scotia
- FRAUD ALERT: Scam Attempts During Summer Holidays, Post-Pandemic
- NSLAP WELLNESS: Immigrant Employees Settling in North America
News From the NS Courts
- State of the Nova Scotia Courts Address
- Provincial Court Bids Farewell to Two Retiring Judges
- Index of Standard Clauses for Orders in the Family Division
Changes in Category
In every issue of our newsletter InForum, we provide updates on category changes. These are the Changes in Category from April 26, 2023 to May 24, 2023
These members have changed to Practising status:
- Jennifer Johanne Brown
- Sharmi Farzana Jaggi
- Liam James Queripel
These members have changed to Non-Practising status:
- Kathleen Elizabeth MacKay Boyle
- Tyler Neil Paul Chiasson
- Brennan Wallace MacDonald
- Adriana Kathleen Marie MacLean
- Stephanie Elise Morton
- Oluwatobi Olawunmi Olaleye
- Sang Ho You
This individual has changed to retired status:
- Pamela J. Branton
- Cathleen C. O’Grady
Our condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of:
Tim Hill KC, who passed away on May 8. Mr. Hill has been a member of our Bar since 1986 and graduated from St. Mary’s University and Dalhousie Law School. He worked as a partner at various law firms and has practiced at BOYNECLARKE LLP for the past 10 years. His obituary is available here.
For Your Information
FREE LEGAL CLINIC IN HALIFAX LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS
The Free Legal Clinic at the Halifax Law Courts is looking for lawyers to volunteer their time providing Pro Bono legal advice for self-represented litigants.
This initiative was first launched in Halifax in 2015 to fill a gap in services for people needing assistance with their civil law matters and family law appeals, excluding child protection matters. Nova Scotia Legal Aid provides duty counsel services at most courthouses to help self-represented individuals with criminal and family law matters, but there was nothing available for other types of cases. Since 2015, this work has expanded to include free legal clinics at the courthouses in Yarmouth, Truro, and Sydney.
The Halifax Free Legal Clinic offers appointments most Thursdays between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., excluding holidays. Each session lasts one hour. Appointments can be in person on the 2nd Floor at the Law Courts or by telephone.
The next session of the clinic begins on Thursday, June 8, and continues until the end of August. Volunteer lawyers are needed for the following dates:
- June 8
- June 15
- June 22 June 29
- July 6
- July 13
- July 20
- July 27
- August 3
- August 10
- August 17
- August 24
These clinics provide a valuable service to litigants who may not otherwise have access to a lawyer and are a rewarding experience for volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering during the spring session, please contact [email protected] by Friday, May 19, and indicate which dates you are available and whether you prefer to attend appointments in person or via telephone.
Provincial Court of Nova Scotia Notice to the Profession: June 2023 Intake Date
Courtroom #6 Long Trial (Halifax) – Spring Garden Road
January 2023 to June 2023 Intake Dates
The June 2023 Intake Dates for Provincial Court matters in CR#6 are:
June 13, 2023
ALL INTAKE IS AT 9 A.M.
To qualify for dates in CR#6 a Provincial Court matter must require four days or more. All cases will be pre-trialed and time requirements will have to be justified.
CR#6 will continue to provide relief to CR#5 by hearing Youth Court matters requiring four (4) days or more. These longer youth cases will be sent to CR#6 on CR#6’s regular intake dates for docketing. Generally speaking, CR#5 will not be scheduling youth cases in the CR#6 docket.
The clerk for CR#6 (Hilary Rankeillor) can be reached at (902) 424-8772.
Volunteer Opportunity: North American Indigenous Games
The North American Indigenous Games is looking for volunteers for July 15 to 23, 2023. People who are interested in volunteering who will be at least 14 years old by July 1, 2023 can apply online at https://naig2023.com/opportunities/.
Name on will: Randy Smith
Last known residence: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Any lawyers with information please contact Tiffany Smith at [email protected] or (902) 577-5877
- Staff Lawyer II – III – Family Law
- Staff Lawyer II – Criminal
- Secretary 2 (Legal Assistant)
- Family Lawyer
- Crown Attorney (TRURO)
- Crown Attorney (Sydney)
- Crown Attorney
- Associate Legal Counsel – Dalhousie University
- Legal Counsel
- Family Law Experienced Associate Lawyer
- Legal Assistant – Litigation
- Property Paralegal
- Articled Clerk
- Civil and Family Lawyers
- Criminal Defence Lawyer
- Legal Assistant- Property
- Associate Lawyer
- Crown Attorney
- Legal Project and Research Coordinator
- Senior Labour Relations Consultant
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Advisor
- Succession Planning for Cottages & Recreational Properties (May 25)
- Young Lawyers Conference (May 25)
- Section 278.3 Applications – What it means to produce a “record” in sexual assault cases (May 30)
- Interest Arbitration in Essential Services: Experts discuss key cases and critical concepts (June 1)
- Opening Doors: Ensuring equity, diversity, and inclusion in hiring, promotion, and retention (June 6)
- Online LRA Qualification Assessment (June 7)
- CBA-NS Bench & Bar Reception and Dinner (June 8)
- Planning for & Managing Difficult Beneficiaries(June 8)
- Fairness in Firing: Examining recent principles and rising damages in bad faith terminations (June 22)
- Introduction to Post-Mortem Tax Planning for Business Owners (June 22)
- Family Law Section SCFD Bench & Bar Reception (June 28)
- An Evening with the Nova Scotia Labour Board (June 28)
- Avoiding Challenges to Testamentary Documents (June 29)
- Do’s & Don’ts of Working with Private Investigators (June 29)