Ethics and Unauthorized Practice Committee



SHELLEY MILLER                                                                                   Chair
  • Thomas Ahlfors
  • David Berg
  • Susan Charlesworth
  • Steven Cooper
  • Roman Dzioba
  • Martin Hak
  • James Morton
  • Emerald Murphy
  • Patrick Orr
  • Stephen Shaddock
  • Sara Siebert
  • Barbara Winters


The mandate of the Ethics and Unauthorized 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. Lawyers in Nunavut are obliged to follow the CBA Code of Conduct (2009) .

On March 19, 2005 during its 2004-05 AGM, a motion was passed to adopt the Code as amended from time to time.

The  Code explains what is expected of lawyers (at vii-iii):

The essence of professional responsibility is that the lawyer must act at all times with utmost good faith to the court, to the client, to other lawyers, and to members of the public. Given the many and varied demands to which the lawyer is subject, it is inevitable that problems will arise. No set of rules can foresee every possible situation, but the ethical principles set out in the Code are intended to provide a framework within which the lawyer may, with courage and dignity, provide the high quality of legal services that a
complex and ever-changing society demands.

The Code sets out various rules of conduct covering a wide range of issues, from conscientious service to the client, confidentiality of client information, fees, and conflicts of interest between the lawyer and client, to the lawyer’s role as an advocate and as an officer of the court, to lawyers having interests and businesses outside the practice of law.

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.

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.

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.

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