All participants in a hearing before the tribunal have the right to a representative of their choice. A representative does not need to be a lawyer.
A representative is anyone who assists a participant with an appeal. This assistance can include giving advice about the participant’s rights or responsibilities; selecting, drafting, or completing documents; representing the participant at a hearing; negotiating on behalf of the participant; and explaining procedures and decisions.
This Code recognizes that any person representing a worker or an employer has certain obligations and responsibilities toward the participant they represent, the Tribunal, and all participants. The Code sets out, broadly, the standards of behaviour that the Tribunal expects from any representative.
Generally, this Code does not apply to friends or family who may be present as "moral support" or to assist in an informal and unpaid manner. However, all persons who participate in hearings before the Tribunal must be respectful to all participants and to Tribunal members and staff.
Representatives are expected to:
be knowledgeable concerning the relevant legislation (the Workers’ Compensation Act);
be aware of and comply with the Tribunal’s practice manual and appeal procedures;
be prepared to present the case at hand; this includes carefully reviewing the case materials and relevant Board policies, and promptly consulting with the participants as to their directions and instructions so that they may comply with the Tribunal's preparation and disclosure requirements;
throughout the appeal process, behave courteously and respectfully to the opposing participant, to any witnesses called during the proceedings, to the Appeal Commissioner(s) hearing the appeal, and to Tribunal staff;
respect the confidentiality of information disclosed during the Tribunal’s processes and not use that information for other purposes without the consent of the participants and of the Tribunal;
copy all written communications with the Tribunal to the other participants;
not communicate directly with a presiding Appeal Commissioner, other than in writing copied to all other participants; during a conference call or at a hearing;
direct any questions regarding a final decision to the Chief Appeal Commissioner;
refrain from behaviour that the Tribunal considers to be an abuse of process, for example unduly delaying appeals or engaging in a pattern of behaviour which is vexatious or harassing.
If a representative fails or refuses to comply with this Code of Conduct, the Tribunal may exclude the representative from the hearing room and/or restrict the representative's access to Tribunal staff. In cases of serious or repeat violations, the Tribunal may prohibit the representative from representing participants before the Tribunal.
You cannot charge a fee for representing a participant before the tribunal, unless permitted to do so under provincial law.
Workers may be entitled to free legal representation through the Workers’ Advisers Program. Call one of these numbers to find out more:
Mainland toll free 1-800-774-4712
Cape Breton toll free 1-800-890-6786
Employers may seek assistance through the Office of the Employer Advisor Nova Scotia Society:
For more information about the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal, visit our website or contact our office.
Toll free: 1-800-274-8281
Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal
5670 Spring Garden Road
10th floor, Suite 1002
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 1H6