Watch the Nova Scotia Barrister’s Society’s webinar on anti-money laundering and client ID and verification

On the 9th of June, the Nova Scotia Barrister’s Society (NSBS) hosted a webinar entitled ‘Anti-Money Laundering/Client ID and Verification.’

This webinar was hosted by Caron Ferguson Eagan (NSBS Staff Lawyer, Education & Credentials) and presented by Jillian Barrington (in practice with Sheldon Nathanson Law), Bernadine MacAulay (NSBS General Counsel), and Elaine Cumming (NSBS Professional Responsibility Counsel).

A full recording of the webinar as well as the slides used has been made available by the NSBS.

View all the material here. 

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society acknowledges systemic discrimination and makes future commitments to address diversity issues

The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society (NSBS) has released a statement saying that it acknowledges and regrets the existence of systemic discrimination in the Nova Scotia justice system and within the NSBS. They have released the statement as they feel that acknowledgement of the systemic discrimination which exists within the Society is a step towards improving the society’s work in creating change and protecting the public interest.

The NSBS has defined the term systemic discrimination, to mean “a system of disproportionate opportunities or disadvantages for people with a common set of characteristics such as race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and/or socio-economic status. For example, the mistreatment of Indigenous and Black communities throughout the justice system has been chronicled in the Marshall Inquiry, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. It has been recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada and retold through the voices of the Idle No More and Black Lives Matter movements”.

The NSBS has recognised that where systemic discrimination manifests in policies and procedures, there must be modification of policies and procedures, as well and work must be done to accommodate individual members of equity-seeking communities, including those who are members of the bar.

As a result of the acknowledgement, the society has recognised the need for action and education, launching new commitments designed to reduce barriers created by racism, unconscious bias and discrimination. This will include a comprehensive external, independent review of the NSBS regulatory policies and processes to identify and address any areas of systemic discrimination that exist within the Society. With Doug Ruck, QC appointed as the independent, external reviewer.

Read more about the acknowledgement and the commitments here. 

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society introduces new succession planning professional standard

The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society (NSBS) has introduced a new Succession Planning Professional Standard, effective from the 2nd February 2021. The standard comes as the result of a working group launched in 2017 appointed to consider the implications for the profession if lawyers and firms do not have effective plans in place for practice interruption.

Following a consultation process launched in May 2018, the society’s council approved amendments to the NSBS Regulations, made pursuant to the Legal Profession Act, to include a requirement for lawyers and law firms to develop and maintain succession plans for all lawyers associated with the firm.

The Society has taken the decision to develop resources and support to help lawyers and firms realise these obligations in ways that make sense for their practices and circumstances, rather than taking a compliance-driven approach. Initiatives include a succession planning toolkit, as well as assistance from the society, and meeting to help lawyers work through any issues.

View the new standard here, or read more about the society’s introduction of the standard here.

Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan to launch new skills course with CPLED

A new skills course designed by the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) will be launched for articling clerks in Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan. The course, known as The Practice Readiness Education Program or PREP is designed to equip students with the necessary practical skills to pursue a career in law in the future.

The PREP course is designed to run over nine months, with two intakes per year, and is broken down into four sections:

  • Foundation modules (5 months) – online modules providing a foundation in all CPLED competencies including Lawyer Skills, Practice Management and Professional Ethics and Character. (More detail on the foundation modules is available here)
  • Face-to-face foundation workshops (5 days) – face-to-face workshops that include role-playing in the areas of interviewing, negotiating, and advocacy
  • Virtual firm one-month rotations (3 months) – rotations working in a virtual law firm, testing previous training, tasks will include  interviewing simulated clients within a learning management system, allowing assessors to track progress
  • Face-to-face Capstone (4 days) – the final assessment in the program requires students to participate in a face-to-face simulated matter, which will test all the skills developed throughout the program, combined with a final reflection piece

The program is designed to be taken after students have completed their formal legal education and in conjunction with their articling.

Further details about the PREP are available here and here.

FLSC launches anti-money laundering and terrorist financing risk advisory for the legal profession

The Federation of Law Societies of Canda (FLSC) has launched a series of risk advisories and risk assessment case studies, designed to help legal professionals adapt to the new anti-money laundering rules. The rule changes are based on an FLSC model rule and have been adopted by Nova Scotia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. The new rules particularly focus on client identification and verification.


ICLR 2019: Regulating in Uncomfortable Spaces

The following content has been provided by the panel presenting on this topic during the afternoon on Day 1 of ICLR 2019.


As recent events have shown, regulating the conduct of lawyers who serve as elected politicians or in public office, as well as those who provide legal services to others in public office, is a minefield. It is a challenge to properly balance the interests of the public, lawyers and the administration of justice when potential ethical violations occur.

This workshop will be of interest to those involved in the regulation of lawyer conduct, those who help develop Law Society policy and rules, and those who prosecute or defend lawyers who are the subject of investigations who serve in public office or provide advice to those in public office.

The workshop will highlight a number of cases in various jurisdictions where such lawyers have been the subject of complaints, and how these jurisdictions have balanced the various interests to determine an appropriate outcome.


Moderator: Victoria Rees, Director of Professional Responsibility, Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society

Panelist: Ellyn Rosen, Regulation and Global Initiatives Counsel, ABA Center for Professional Responsibility

Panelist: Rebecca Magorokosho-Musimwa, Regulatory Services Manager, Law Society of Zimbabwe

Panelist: Ian Miller, Partner, Kingsley Napley LLP, London, UK


What particularly do you hope to explore in this session?  Any specific questions you hope to answer?

This workshop will provide practical case-based guidance (including a take-away you help develop) on:

  1. What factors should regulators consider when assessing risk and determining when/ whether to take action in these circumstances?
  2. How can regulators effectively balance all relevant interests when engaged in these assessments/investigations?


What do you hope to achieve with this session?

This session will be conducted in workshop fashion, with significant engagement and input from the audience to create, during the session, a useful tool/checklist of factors to consider when dealing with similar complaints and the conduct of lawyers in public office or providing advice to those in public office.

See the full conference programme

Legal Services Regulation at the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society: a progress update

The journey to Legal Services Regulation (LSR) has taken a major step with the November 17, 2017 approval by Council of several regulatory amendments to advance the Society’s initiatives. The result is a model of regulating legal services that is risk focused, proactive, principled and proportionate. Key components of the regime and the impacts on law firms are outlined on the NSBS website.

The NSBS continues to work with government so that amendments to the Legal Profession Act will be introduced in the spring of 2018. With the proposed provisions, the Society will then have the full range of authority required to fully implement the policies previously approved by Council to enable better promotion of the public interest and the expansion of innovative legal services.

An essential component of the Society’s transformed Legal Services Regulation framework is an enhanced focus on risk. By risk, the NSBS means ensuring that:

  • lawyers and firms are able to achieve the ten elements of a management system for ethical legal practice;
  • lawyers engage in conduct that reduces risks to the public; and
  • the Society identifies and responds to these risks in a proactive, principled and proportionate way, and achieves their Regulatory Objectives and Outcomes.

Developing and embedding a risk focus in the Society’s regulatory work is unfolding on a variety of levels, requiring both internal and external culture changes, as well as changing the conversation with lawyers to offer support and to work collaboratively to reduce risk.

Read more about the NSBS approach to risk and the steps that are underway to embed a risk-focused approach in their regulatory system.

Profile of a regulator: Victoria Rees

Victoria Rees – Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society
Role: Director of Professional Responsibility
Employed in various management positions with the NSBS for 29 years
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
Mother of three wonderful young men; 3rd degree brown belt in karate; love to travel; voracious reader; lover of all sports, especially American football (go Patriots!); gardener; pianist
Tell us more about what you do at work
I am responsible for complaint mediation, investigation and prosecution; ethics education and advice for lawyers; claims against the Compensation Fund; trust audits; conduct risk assessment and management; Fitness to Practice Program; professional responsibility policies and procedures; 
Tell us about your organisation’s remit
Independent Governing body for the Nova Scotia legal profession; public protection; access to justice;
What projects are you currently working on?

  • National Discipline Standards, including national adjudicator training standards
  • National Model Code of Professional Conduct
  • Joint Maritime Provinces Adjudicator Training program
  • Implementing new Legal Services and Triple P regulatory model
  • The longest and most costly disciplinary hearing in NSBS history
  • Implementing restorative justice principles into the Professional Responsibility process
What are the biggest challenges facing your organisation?

  • Implementing the new Legal Services Regulation model, effecting internal and external cultural changes, and collaborating nationally on similar changes
  • Changing demographics of the legal profession; e.g. ageing
  • Increase in membership fees due to high costs of discipline hearing – costs control
  • Organizational redesign to support new Legal Services regulation model
  • Achieving significant amendments to our Legal Profession Act and regulations in 2017-18 to support new regulatory model
What do you consider to be your greatest achievements in life, and in work?
a. In life? Raising 3 unique, engaging, interesting and kind sons despite many challenges
b. In work? Contributing to excellence in regulation and governance of the legal profession in various ways over 29 years
What is the most unusual/surprising thing you have had to deal with at the NSBS?
I could write a book! Things we have received in the course of complaint investigations: many photos of various body parts we’d rather not see; a large plastic container of used lottery tickets; ‘the case of the missing diamond ring’; ‘the case of the footsteps in the snow’; a box from someone in Russia of what looked like internal organs in plastic bags, but turned out to be various parts of a birthday cake wrapped in old sweatpants; a very tall articled clerk running into my office to hide while being chased by a very small one-armed lawyer; and lawyers calling ‘actus interruptus’ to seek permission to have sex with clients!
What are the biggest changes you have witnessed during your time as a legal regulator?
So many… probably the impact of technology on how we do our work, how lawyers work, client expectations, cybercrime, supporting global law firms; and changes in access to legal information which have impacted legal service providers and the role of lawyers
What interests you most about your work?
Understanding human nature and what leads good lawyers to make bad decisions; how to identify areas of potential risk and better protect the public; helping lawyers in dark places find the light; helping staff become the best they can be.
What are you most looking forward to about the conference?
Meeting new counterparts (and seeing old friends) and thought-leaders, hearing new ideas, engaging in commiseration and support; understanding global trends in regulation; sharing knowledge and experience.

ICLR 2017 – Panel: “Risk Based Approach to Regulation”

A synopsis of panel session 8, which takes place on 6 October at ICLR Singapore, kindly provided by the session’s  moderator, Victoria Rees.  Conference materials will be made available to members after the conference.

Moderator: Victoria Rees, Director of Professional Responsibility, Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, Canada


  • Scott MacLean, Acting Executive Director, Investigations, Office of Health Ombudsmen, Queensland, Australia
  • Paul Philip, CEO, Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority, United Kingdom
  • Kolantha Sarogenei, CEO, Lockton Companies (Singapore) Pte Ltd., Singapore

With increasing demands and expectations of regulators in an increasingly complex legal services environment, risks to the public, to the profession and to regulators are greater than ever:  For example, we’ve seen the impact of technology on the provision of and access to legal services; the rise in cybercrime; growth in global legal service providers and multi-disciplinary practices; economic downturns; changes in lawyer demographics including an aging population and rural depopulation; etc.  A competent and relevant regulator must stay abreast and, where possible, ahead of these trends in order to prepare the legal profession for changes impacting it, clients and the public.

Those who regulate lawyers and the legal profession have a shared mandate to protect the public and users of the legal services we regulate. It is essential for effective public protection to understand and manage the risks to achieving that mandate, otherwise we are ourselves at risk of losing our respective roles in the regulation of lawyers. Further, by operating in a risk-focused manner, we are better able to target our limited financial and human resources where they will best protect the public, and enhance the trusted reputation of the regulator.

This session is designed to engage the audience in an interactive discussion facilitated by panelists with experience in various forms of risk assessment and management, and risk-based regulation of lawyers. Through our experiential-based stories, we will highlight the benefits, strengths, opportunities and challenges with this approach to legal services regulation, which can take many different forms.

Through this session, participants will learn about the Nova Scotia experience launching its new Triple P (proactive, principled and proportionate) and risk-focused approach to legal services regulation. You will hear about the successes and challenges faced by the Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority as they have led the way in outcomes and risk-focused regulation; you will learn more about the current status of the Appropriate Management Systems approach and risk-based regulation in Australia, within both the legal and medical professional context; and you will hear stories and lessons learned from the perspective of the professional liability insurer for lawyers in Singapore.

To provide more detailed background and resources from these perspectives in advance, each panelist will prepare a paper citing practical and relevant articles, resources and tools. Important take-aways from this session will include: understanding how to identify risks which are impacting and may impact the provision of legal services, and regulation of lawyers/firms/ABS/MDP; how to manage and respond to those risks in a proportionate manner; and how to develop a risk-focused approach to regulation, regardless of the size or complexity of your jurisdiction’s current regulatory framework.