Legal Ethics and Practice Committee

COMMITTEE OFFICERS 2019-20 

  • Stephanie Boydell - Chair
  • Erinma Abara - Vice-Chair
  • Martin Hak ( Resigned December 2019)
  • Caroline Pothemont
  • Gloria Song

Read the 2019-20 AGM Committee Report here.
 

Mandate

The mandate of the Ethics and Practice Committee, as set out in the Rules of the Law Society of Nunavut, is

  • to report and make recommendations on any questions concerning the ethics of the profession submitted to the Committee;
  • to report and make recommendations regarding any complaint of unauthorized practice submitted to the Committee; and
  • perform any other duties assigned by the Executive.


The Law Society of Nunavut is committed to maintaining high ethical standards. Since November 2016, lawyers in Nunavut are obliged to follow the Model Code of Conduct. 

The Legal Ethics and Practice Committee fulfills the ethics aspect of its mandate by focusing on promoting the ethical standards set out in the Code. It is the mandate of the Discipline Committee to investigate complaints against lawyers who allegedly fail to meet those standards.

Unauthorized Practice

Only licensed lawyers can practice law in Canada. The Law Society of Nunavut licenses its members to practice law in Nunavut if they have met the educational and professional requirements to practice law. Practicing law without a license is called the unauthorized practice of law.

What is the unauthorized practice of law?

The Legal Profession Act, RSNWT (Nu) 1988, c L-2 (the “Act”) states in s. 68 that no person shall engage in the practice of law unless he or she is an active member of the Law Society.

Section 1 of the Act provides a definition of the “practice of law.”  It is very broad and includes “giving legal advice”.

Individuals who engage in the practice of law and who are not entitled or permitted to do so engage in the unauthorized practice of law.

What can happen if someone engages in the unauthorized practice of law?

Every person who engages in unauthorized practice is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or, in default of payment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.

If a person is convicted of this offence, the Law Society may also apply and the Nunavut Court of Justice may grant an injunction prohibiting a person from engaging in the practice of law.

In addition, the Law Society may consider other options which may include reporting a person to their “home” law society or writing to the Nunavut Courts advising that a person is not lawfully authorized the practice law in Nunavut. 

If you have a concern about possible unethical or unauthorized practice, please contact us at the Law Society of Nunavut office.

Members of the public can risk serious legal and financial consequences by entrusting legal matters to unlicensed persons. Lawyers engaged in the unauthorized practice of law may not be subject to ethical standards and other regulatory requirements, and may not carry errors and omissions insurance. Meanwhile, non-lawyers lack the education necessary to give legal advice or perform legal services.

The Legal Ethics and Practice Committee fulfills the practice aspect of its mandate by investigating allegations of persons engaging in the unauthorized practice of law and making recommendations about how to handle those allegations to the Executive.