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Modernize. Simplify. Reform.


Besides undertaking projects aimed at improving access to justice in Nova Scotia, the task of the Institute, like its predecessor the Law Reform Commission, will include projects which study existing laws and review their appropriateness through research and discussions with the public. The Institute’s Reports and recommendations will be presented to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General for Nova Scotia. The Reports of the Commission are freely available to the public on this site.

The Commission has published papers and reports in a variety of areas, including enforcement of family maintenance obligations, adult guardianship and living wills, the jury system, probate, mental health law, builders liens, vexatious litigants, grandparent/grandchild access, contaminated sites, trusts law (the rule against perpetuities), and human rights law (seniors-only housing).  The Commission was one of the lead partners in the development of Nova Scotia's Civil Procedure Rules, which govern the process of litigation in Nova Scotia's courts.

The Commission's projects have covered a broad range of social and legal issues. Any person may suggest a law reform project to the Institute. A number of the Commission's projects have arisen from requests (references) from the Government of Nova Scotia. Others are undertaken in collaboration with other stakeholders in the Nova Scotia justice system.

The Institute is currently reviewing the Intestate Succession Act and Access to Justice in Nova Scotia.


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Do you have an idea for Law Reform? A question about a current or previous project? Or just want to chat about law reform and access to justice in general?

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Board Members


 Catherine D.A. Watson Coles, QC, President

Ms. Watson was appointed to the Commission by Order in Council in February 2015. She is a Partner in McInnes Cooper's Halifax office and leader of the firm's regional estates and trusts service group. She is a regular speaker on the subjects of estate trust and tax planning to various professional organizations and the public, and a frequent author of articles on these subjects in various newspapers and newsletters. She has been an instructor at the Ontario Bar Admissions course in the area of estate planning. Ms. Watson has been recognized by Best Lawyers in Canada and is listed in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory. She is the Past President and a current member of the Halifax Estate Planning Council and is a member of the Society of Trust and Estates Practitioners, the Canadian Bar Association, the Nova Scotia Barristers Society and the International Bar Association. She is Past Chair of the Wills & Estates Section of the Canadian Bar Association of Nova Scotia and is the Co-Founder and Past Chair of the Pride Business Network in Toronto, Ontario.

    Justice Darlene Jamieson           

The Honourable Justice Darlene Jamieson was appointed to the Commission by the Council of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society in June 2002 and then re-appointed to the Board of the Institute in March 2019. She was appointed to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in November 2018. Before her appointment she was a partner in the law firm Merrick Jamieson Sterns Washington & Mahody with preferred areas of practice being civil litigation, including insurance, banking, construction and employment law. She has held numerous and varied posts with the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society. In 2018, Justice Jamieson was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers.

    Richard J. Melanson  

Mr. Melanson was appointed to the Commission by the Council of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society in September of 2012.  He is a member of the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board and was a partner with the Halifax law firm of Blois, Nickerson & Bryson LLP. His areas of practice included administrative law, bankruptcy and insolvency, civil litigation, corporate & commercial, intellectual property and real estate. Mr. Melanson graduated from the Universite Sainte-Anne with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in 1981, and a Bachelor of Education (Honours) in 1983. In 1988 he graduated from Dalhousie Law School as Gold Medalist. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the provincial association of French speaking lawyers and has served as a volunteer with various organizations over the years. He has been a member of the Board of Examiners of Nova Scotia Social Workers' Association and chair of the Discipline Committee, a member of the Agreement on Internal Trade Working Group and Director and Treasurer of Canadian Parents for French - Nova Scotia.

Dean Camille Cameron

Dean Cameron began her career in private practice in a commercial law firm in Halifax, Nova Scotia where she specialized in civil litigation. While in practice she was a frequent presenter at continuing legal education seminars and bar admissions courses, and taught Civil Trial Practice and Civil Procedure as a sessional lecturer. After ten years of law practice, she obtained an LLM degree at the University of Cambridge and then took up an academic appointment in Hong Kong. Prior to joining the Schulich School of Law, she held academic posts as the Dean of Windsor Law at the University of Windsor, and as a Professor at the University of Melbourne, Australia where she served a term as Associate Dean and as Director of the Civil Justice Research Group. Dean Cameron has served on numerous committees dealing with academic and senior administrative appointments and promotion, research integrity, reviews of academic departments and faculties, teaching quality and university governance. In Windsor she has been the Chair and a member of the Board of Governors of Legal Aid Windsor, and she is presently the Chair of the Advisory Board of Community Legal Aid and a member of the Board of Directors of Hiatus House. She is a Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne, Australia and has been a Visiting Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Oxford.



executive director

Ilana Dodi Luther

Ilana joined the Commission in June 2011. She has worked for legal aid in both Ontario and Nova Scotia. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts from Carleton University, she received a Master of Arts in Political Science from York University. In 2004, she received her law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School, followed by a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School. She has taught at the Schulich School of Law on a part-time basis. In 2015, Dr. Luther obtained her Doctorate in Law from Schulich School of Law. In 2017 she took a hiatus from the Commission to work as a policy analyst for the Government of Nova Scotia. She returned to serve as Executive Director in 2018.


legal research counsel

Sarah Burton

Sarah joined the Institute as legal research counsel in January 2019. Sarah obtained her law degree from Dalhousie University in 2008 and was called to the Nova Scotia and Alberta bars in 2009. She has a Masters in Law from the London School of Economics and is currently pursuing doctoral studies with the University of Ottawa. Sarah has worked as a civil litigator in one of Canada’s leading law firms, and has been involved in cases before the Supreme Court of Canada. She also has worked with human rights and civil liberties organizations, where she focused on access to justice and public education.

Access to Justice Coordinator

Ahmad Moussa

Ahmad joined the Institute as the Access to Justice Coordinator in July 2019. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Development Studies in June 2008. In June 2014 he received a Master of Arts in International Law and Human Rights specializing in Indigenous Rights. Ahmad has 12 years of experience as a justice researcher and advocate working on national and international human rights issues ranging from the Transitional Justice Process for Indigenous peoples in Canada known as the Residential School Settlement Agreement - a restitution process that brought about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission - to the Syrian Refugee Settlement and the Canada-US border asylum seeker emergency responsiveness program. Ahmad has also worked as a community organizer, navigator and justice advocate for marginalized groups experiencing incarceration, homelessness, addictions and other social barriers. He has also lectured on Global Human Rights issues on a part time basis.


Special counsel

William H. Charles, Q.C.

Professor Charles has acted as Special Counsel to the Commission since 2001. He is a graduate of Dalhousie (where he was Dean of Law 1979-1985), Concordia, Harvard and Michigan universities. Professor Charles was the first President of the Law Reform Commission, and held that position from 1991 to 1995. He has served on a number of Boards and Councils in Nova Scotia and continues to publish books and articles on various legal topics.

office manager

Krista Tinslay

After an eight year absence, Krista rejoined the Commission on a part-time basis in June 2016. She holds the Canadian Administrative Professional (CAP) designation and is a long-standing member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals.  Krista has more than 20 years of experience in the administrative field, with a focus on organizational and information management.