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

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date



Legal Profession Act, Barristers' Society, Nova Scotia, Canada


In Professional Autonomy and the Public Interest, Barry Cahill provides a meticulous account of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, from its inception in 1825 through the adoption of the province’s Legal Profession Act in 2005. The book is organized in two parts: the first part provides a chronological history of the society and the second gives a thematic analysis that draws out and reinforces key elements from the first. Supplementing the book are three appendices: the detailed chronology and the list of officers and senior officials are useful and expected references, but the extended note on the society’s library sits rather awkwardly and perhaps could have been integrated into one of the chapters.

Cahill’s chief contribution is to demonstrate and debunk the continued confusion over the society’s history, emphasizing that, while the Nova Scotia bar was established in 1749, the society was formed in 1825 and did not become the regulator of the legal profession until 1899.