11/21/2013 12:23 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST

Meetings next month on possible settlement in Halifax orphanage abuse case

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's justice minister says both sides in a proposed class-action lawsuit involving former residents of a Halifax orphanage will meet early next month in hopes of settling the matter out of court.

Lena Diab says her department has been in contact with a lawyer representing about 150 former residents of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children who allege years of sexual, physical and psychological abuse by staff over a 50-year period up until the 1980s.

Those allegations have not been tested in court.

Diab says the matter is sensitive and should only be taken to court as a last resort.

Premier Stephen McNeil has not said how much the provincial government is willing to provide in a settlement.

He has promised to hold a full public inquiry into the alleged abuse at the home.