Nova Scotia Barristers Society Report on Governance

The Council of the Nova Scotia Barristers Society has just released a report produced by Victoria Rees, their Director of Professional Responsibility, entitled “Transforming Regulation and Governance in the Public Interest.” The report is currently under consideration by the Council.

From the Executive Summary:

The goal of this paper is to inform, not to persuade.
In adopting ‘Transforming Regulation and Governance in the Public Interest’ as a strategic priority, Council has signalled that it wants to consider fundamental and perhaps profound change. Council members will need to approach the concept of transforming regulation and governance with an open mind, prepared to explore the possibilities, and not burdened by questions of ‘why?’ so much as motivated by the question ‘why not?’

In undertaking this review, Council will need to stay grounded and focused on the Society’s current authority (although not constrained by it) and then determine if, in seeking change, it can do so within the current statutory and regulatory framework, or if legislative change will be required. Below is a series of questions/issues that Council will need to consider to address all matters raised by a consideration of comprehensive regulatory reform. Consider them to be points on a ‘roadmap’; they are there to see but not all need to be visited at the same time or in any particular order.

Below is the table of contents:

1.0 Introduction and Executive Summary
2.0 Self-Regulation and the Public Interest – The Foundations for Where We Are and Where We Might Go

2.1 Independent lawyers – Independent regulators
2.2 Independence is qualified – Regulators do not act alone
2.3 Simplified regulation to promote competition and creativity
2.4 Putting new theories into practice – Regulatory reform in England – Focus on outcomes
2.5 Putting new theories into practice – Regulatory reform in England – Focus on risk
2.6 Putting new theories into practice – Regulatory reform in England – Sharing responsibility for lawyer regulation and compliance
2.7 Reflections on the current state of Canadian legal regulation
2.8 Summary of the evolution of regulation of the profession

3.0 Current Traditional Regulatory Models
4.0 The Future of the Legal Profession and Impact on Regulation

4.1 Technology and access to legal information and products online, virtual law practice, and growth in non-lawyer provision of legal services, products and information
4.2 Unbundling of legal services and specialization; client empowerment, expectations and demands for increased value at reduced cost
4.3 Changes in law firm structure and ownership
4.4 Regulation of lawyers vs. law firms vs. legal services/service providers
4.5 Growth of corporate and in-house counsel
4.6 Globalization and evolution of the legal services market
4.7 Membership demographics and the aging Bar in Nova Scotia
4.8 Access to justice

5.0 New Regulatory Models – An Environmental Scan

5.1 Australia
5.2 New Zealand
5.3 Ireland
5.4 Scotland
5.5 Netherlands

6.0 Outcomes-Focused and Risk-Based Regulation – The England and Wales Model

6.1 What is Outcomes-Focused Regulation (OFR) and how did it evolve in England?
6.2 Outcomes-Focused Regulation as a regulatory norm
6.3 Risk monitoring
6.4 The creation of new ownership models – the Alternative Business Structure (ABS)
[no 6.5]
6.6 England continues to measure success and impact

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