The Law Foundation of Nova Scotia was established in 1976 by amendment to the Barristers and Solicitors Act, which is now the Legal Profession Act. 2004, c.28, s.1. Its central purpose is to receive from financial institutions the interest on lawyers’ pooled trust accounts, and to distribute the interest to grantees seeking to increase access to justice in accordance with the Foundation’s mandate. It is the only foundation in Nova scotia devoted solely to community law-related initiatives and legal education.

The decision criteria for project grant applications include the Objects of the Foundation, as set out in the legislation, and the more recent recommendations of the Grants Review and Future Directions Report (March 2017 – available for download on this site) which delineate areas where there are gaps in access to justice in Nova Scotia.


The objects of the Law Foundation are “to establish and maintain a fund to be used for the examination, research, revision and reform of and public access to the law, legal education, the administration of justice in the Province and other purposes incidental or conducive to or consequential upon the attainment of any such objects.”


1) Future Grants and Project Funding: The primary focus of future grants will be to  address the legal needs of vulnerable Nova Scotians including:

a) direct services to individuals – information, triage, navigation, assistance with applications etc.
b) services that help prevent legal problems through education and information
c) services that provide information and resources to front line staff and intermediaries who assist vulnerable individuals
d) services that address one or more of the identified priority unmet legal needs:

i) Cost of legal services: options and help for low-middle income individuals in the area of civil non-family
ii) Family law information: particularly in the area of child welfare
iii) Rural access: access to free legal services and access to service providers
iv) Self-represented litigants: information, guides, advice, navigation
v) Pro-bono: rural areas, form filling, prison advocacy
vi) Alternative Dispute Resolution: affordable or free options and prevention/early resolution options
vii) Cultural competency: education and awareness for legal community and frontline staff to facilitate improved service for and access to justice for racialized and minority communities

2) Proposals may, preferably:

a) be self-sustaining and not rely on Law Foundation funding post-project
b) create a useful concrete product or service at the end of the one-year grant
c) demonstrate a collaborative approach to the development and delivery of the project by two or more partner organizations

3) Grants Review and Future Directions Report