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Professional Autonomy and the Public Interest: The Barristers' Society and Nova Scotia's Lawyers, 1825-2005

Professional Autonomy and the Public Interest: The Barristers' Society and Nova Scotia's Lawyers, 1825-2005

by Barry Cahill


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Formed in 1825, the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society is the second-oldest law society in common-law Canada, after the Law Society of Ontario. Yet despite its founders' ambitions, it did not become the regulator of the legal profession in Nova Scotia for nearly seventy-five years. In this institutional history of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society from its inception to the Legal Profession Act of 2005, Barry Cahill provides a chronological exploration of the profession's regulation in Nova Scotia and the critical role of the society. Based on extensive research conducted on internal documents, legislative records, and legal and general-interest periodicals and newspapers, Professional Autonomy and the Public Interest demonstrates that the inauguration of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society was the first giant step on the long road to self-regulation. Highlighting the inherent tensions between protection of professional self-interest and protection of the larger public interest, Cahill explains that while this radical innovation was opposed by both lawyers and judges, it was ultimately imposed by the Liberal government in 1899. In light of emerging models of regulation in the twenty-first century, Professional Autonomy and the Public Interest is a timely look back at the origins of professional regulatory bodies and the evolution of law affecting the legal profession in Atlantic Canada.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780773558625
Publisher: McGill-Queens University Press
Publication date: 11/07/2019
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Barry Cahill is an independent scholar of the legal history of Atlantic Canada and was researcher with the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children Restorative Inquiry from 2016 to 2019. He lives in Halifax.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations ix

Preface xi

Introduction: "Wholesome Control" 3

Part 1

1 From Statutory Regulation to Law Society 19

2 The Society and the Bar: Road to Annexation 32

3 The Society under the Barristers and Solicitors Act 48

4 Brave New World 62

5 Back to the Future 95

Part 2

6 "Nova Scotia's Watergate": The Society and the Marshall Inquiry Report 107

7 Made in Manitoba: The Society and the Legal Profession Act 121

8 The Society and Professional Regulation 141

9 The Society and Administration 153

10 The Society and Legal Education 167

11 The Society and Continuing Professional Development 198

12 Conclusion: Self-Regulation and the Public Interest 216


A Chronology 221

B Officers and Senior Officials 241

C The Barristers' Library 248

Bibliographical Note 257

Notes 259

Index 317

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