The Office of the Legislative Counsel is under the direction of the Chief Legislative Counsel who is responsible to the Speaker of the House of Assembly.

The position of Legislative Counsel was created April 5, 1941, replacing the Law Clerk. The Legislative Counsel assumed all of the duties of the Law Clerk. The position of Chief Legislative Counsel was created November 6, 1979.

The legislative counsel are the lawyers for the House of Assembly. They are not only legislative counsel, but also parliamentary counsel. As parliamentary counsel, the legislative counsel provide legal counsel to the House of Assembly, the Speaker and the Office of the Speaker. The Office of the Legislative Counsel provides legal counsel and some support services to committees of the House (primarily the Committee on Assembly Matters, the Law Amendments Committee and the Private and Local Bills Committee) and to the House of Assembly Management Commission. The committees are established by the Rules and Forms of Procedure of the House of Assembly. The Commission is established by the House of Assembly Management Commission Act.

The legislative counsel are also legal counsel to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner under the Conflict of Interest Act.

As legislative counsel, the legislative counsel draft proposed legislation, whether "Government bills" (proposed by the ministers of the Crown) or "private members' (public) bills", "private bills" or "local bills" (proposed by any member of the House of Assembly -- minister, backbencher or opposition member).

The Office of the Legislative Counsel is responsible for the preparation and publication of all bills introduced in the House of Assembly. The preparation and publication of the "annual" or "sessional" bound volumes (now usually two per year) at the end of each sitting (now two per year) are also the responsibility of the Office. The Office also publishes the looseleaf consolidation of the public statutes. In addition, after each sitting or session of the House of Assembly, the Office prepares and publishes a Status of Legislation booklet which lists each bill introduced in that sitting or session and its disposition by the House of Assembly. As well, the Chief Legislative Counsel is the Statute Revision Officer under the Statute Revision Act.

The Office of the Legislative Counsel publishes the Rules and Forms of Procedure of the House of Assembly.

One of the legislative counsel is also the Assistant Clerk of the House of Assembly.

Rules 78 and 79 of the Rules and Forms of Procedure of the House of Assembly, Section 52 of the House of Assembly Act and the Statute Revision Act all pertain to the functions of the legislative counsel.

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This page and its contents published by the Office of the Legislative Counsel, Nova Scotia House of Assembly, and © 2012 Crown in right of Nova Scotia. Updated September 6, 2012. Send comments to legc.office@gov.ns.ca.