The End(s) of Self-Regulation?


  • Richard F. Devlin Associate Dean, Graduate Studies and Research, Dalhousie Law School; University Research Professor, Dalhousie University
  • Porter Heffernan LL.B., Dalhousie Law School; LL.M. Candidate, Dalhousie Law School



Self-regulation is a sacred cow of the Canadian legal profession. The authors question this assumption on several levels and ask whether, in a liberal democratic society such as Canada, self-regulation really is in the public interest. The advantages and disadvantages of self-regulation are discussed in the context of other Commonwealth nations who have moved away from this type of regulatory structure. Though the self-regulation debate has been traditionally viewed as a "one way or the other" argument, calibrated regulation seems to be a possibility in Canada and, in fact, steps have already been taken in this direction. Devlin and Heffernan conclude by proposing the creation of a Task Force — The Sponsors’ Table on the Regulation of the Legal Profession — to reconsider the present state and future possibility of recalibrated regulation in Canada.