Canada - Nova Scotia International Trade in Legal Services

Canada - Nova Scotia International Trade in Legal Services


Is there legislation governing the legal sector

Legal Profession Act:

Under what title do lawyers practise?


How does an individual lawyer obtain a "licence" to practise law? How often must this be renewed?



To become a lawyer for the first time, a person must: Have a minimum Bachelor of Laws from a Canadian Common Law university (LLB or JD)) or a certificate of qualification from the National Committee on Accreditation of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada certifying that the applicant's academic credentials are at least equivalent to a Canadian common law LLB. Applicants must also complete a skills course and bar exam and must also successfully complete a 12 month articling period.

Does this entitle the holder to practise throughout the country? If the law license only permits one to practice on a sub-national level, please explain the jurisdictional limits


The holder can practise in the territory of Nova Scotia and, pursuant to two national mobility agreements, lawyers admitted in any of the provinces or territories of Canada (other than Quebec) may become licensed in any other province or territory without passing an examination. These permanent mobility rights will be extended to mobility to and from the Barreau du Québec under a new National Mobility Agreement expected to come into force before the end of 2014. In addition, lawyers can practise temporarily, for a maximum of 100 days, in any of the following:  British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island.

Are there certain activities that are "reserved" to those who are licensed to practise law in the jurisdiction?

Appearing in court and advising on the law of Nova Scotia is reserved to Nova Scotia licensed lawters and, pursuant to the national mobility agreements, other Canadian lawyers.

Do you need to hold local nationality to be eligible to practise law?


What legal forms can lawyers work in? (e.g. self employment, partnership, limited liability partnership, multi-disciplinary partnership, incorporation)

Self-employed, partnership, law corporation, limited liability partnership

What other ethical or regulatory requirements must a licensed lawyer comply with? 

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society regulations:
and  Code of Professional Conduct:

Do law firms need to receive a "license" (or permission/approval) to practice law?

To form an LLP or law corporation an application for a permit must be submitted to the Law Society

Which authority issues licences? Are there different authorities for individuals and firms? 

Nova Scotia Barristers' Society



Are there any explicit rules or restrictions other than visas on fly in fly out practice of law? Ie. Do you need to obtain a licence for temporary practice?

Foreign lawyers are required to obtain a permit as a foreign legal consultant. Fly-in-fly-out practice is not permitted without a permit.

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a visa to visit clients or to market but not to practice?

See information for Canada

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a licence to establish and practise as a foreign legal consultant and what is the scope of this limited licence?

A foreign lawyer can obtain a limited licence entitling them to offer advisory services in foreign and international law (ie become a foreign legal consultant).  A foreign lawyer must apply to the Law Society for a permit:

Are there any conditions that must be fulfilled once a foreign lawyer has been granted a limited licence (e.g. residency requirement)

The relevant legislation are regulations made under the Legal Profession Act and the Legal Profession Regulations.

Are there any conditions that must be fulfilled for a foreign lawyer to qualify for a limited licence? (e.g. prior practice)

Must have practised in own jurisdiction for at least three years. Foreign legal consultants may only practise the law of their home jurisdiction, and are prohibited from handling trust moneys.

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation? No
Are foreign lawyers allowed to appear in court under any circumstances?

No - not without becoming licensed in a Canadian jurisdiction.

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?



Yes. In order to obtain a full licence to practise law in this jurisdiction, foreign lawyers must apply to the National Committee on Accreditation for evaluation of their credentials and experience. The National Committee on Accreditation establishes the educational and practising criteria an applicant must meet to be considered for admission to the Law Society. Once an applicant satisfies those criteria, he or she must follow the same process for admission as domestic graduates. Dependent on experience the requaliying lawyer may not need to undertake a period of articling.


Can a foreign law firm obtain a licence to open an office?

Foreign firms are permitted to establish a commercial presence (a permanent office) to offer advisory services in foreign and international law. There is no explicit foreign law firm licensing regime which regulates these arrangements.

Even if a foreign law firm does not require a legal licence must they register in some form in order to set up an office? (e.g. with a ministry of company affairs etc)

Not applicable
Are there different types of foreign law firm 'licence'  (e.g. Joint Law Venture, stand alone foreign licence etc)

Not applicable

Is there a quota on the number of licences available?

Not applicable

Are there geographical restrictions on foreign firm licences or on the number of branches a foreign firm can have?

Not applicable

Are there "scope of practice" rules that apply directly to foreign law firms (as opposed to lawyers themselves)? (e.g. home, host, international law), if so, what are they? They can advise on home and international law.
Are there restrictions on the corporate form a foreign law firm can take? Not applicable
Are there rules about the name a foreign law firm can take? Not applicable
What entity grants a 'license' to a foreign law firm? If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL There is no explicit foreign law firm licensing regime which regulates these arrangements.


Are there restrictions on the ownership share of foreign lawyers in a law firm?

Foreign firms are not permitted to enter into commercial association with local lawyers or law firms

May a domestic lawyer be employed by a foreign lawyer or law firm?


Can a domestic lawyer enter into partnership with a foreign lawyer?


Can a domestic lawyer or domestic law firm employ a foreign lawyer?




Other useful sources or comments or links

The Nova Scotia Barristers' Society:

Verified by

Federation of Law Societies of Canada (August 2014)