Information Regarding Transfer to the Practice of Law in Ontario From Applicants Qualified in Jurisdictions Outside Canada A law degree from a university outside Canada does not entitle an applicant to enter the Bar Admission Course in Ontario. This is not due to the quality of courses taken, but rather to the content of those courses which would not include the necessary Canadian law.
The By-Law governing entry to the Bar Admission Course states that an applicant must have either an LL.B. degree (Common Law) from an approved Canadian law school or a Certificate of Qualification issued by the National Committee on Accreditation. Attached is a list of approved universities.
Those who graduate or qualify outside Canada should apply, therefore, to the *National Committee on Accreditation to explore what advanced standing, if any, they might be entitled to at a Canadian law school or what challenge examinations they will have to sit in order to gain a Certificate of Qualification.
The National Committee on Accreditation will also evaluate the legal training and professional experience of persons from Quebec with civil law degrees.
All applicants applying from jurisdictions outside Canada must follow the above procedure.
Enclosed please find the following:
(Those receiving this information by E-Mail can access the NCA information from the Federation of Law Societies of Canada website: http://www.flsc.ca - under “Foreign Lawyers” OR Fran Russo at the NCA offices - firstname.lastname@example.org)
To assist you in understanding the entire process, set out below is a rough outline of the procedure to be followed by someone with a law degree from outside Canada who wishes to be called to the Bar in Ontario.
The academic qualification for admission to the Bar Admission Course as a student-at-law is set out in section 3 of By-Law 12 made under the Law Society Act and reads as follows:
Academic requirements for admission to the Bar Admission Course
Sec. 3 A person may be admitted to the Bar Admission Course as a student-at-law if he or she has,
(1) graduated from a law course that is offered by a university in Canada and is approved by Convocation; or
(2) received a certificate of qualification issued by the National Committee on Accreditation appointed by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and the Council of Canadian Law Deans.
1. The Certificate of Qualification referred to in Section 3(b), above attests to the fact that the applicant’s experience and training is equivalent to a student who holds a Canadian Bachelor of Laws Degree.
Consequently, anyone with a law degree from outside Canada wishing to be licensed in Ontario, must apply in writing to the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) for an assessment of their qualifications.
2. The National Committee on Accreditation was formed by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. Many of those who apply to the NCA already have been licensed in the foreign jurisdiction and have some practice experience behind them.
The National Committee on Accreditation considers each person’s qualifications individually, up against no one else’s, as no two law degrees in the world are the same or two people’s experience. The NCA takes all of this into consideration.
3. The applicant must fill out an NCA application form and submit it with all pertinent, supporting documents.
4. The applicant does not appear before the Committee.
The NCA will consider applications roughly five or six times a year. The NCA will tell the applicant what courses they are required to take from one of the sixteen approved law schools throughout Canada; or, if they fall into a particular category, they may be told instead that they have the option to write a set of “challenge examinations”. The applicant would prepare for these challenge examinations on their own rather than having to attend law school.
All processing of the applications to the NCA are dealt with exclusively by the National Committee office in Ottawa. The Law Society has no involvement whatsoever. If a prospective NCA applicant feels that they need more specific information about the assessment process through the NCA, they should contact Fran Russo, Administrative Assistant to the Executive Director of the NCA at (613) 562-5204. A prospective applicant may also want to have a look at the material on the NCA’s web site (see bottom of pg. 1 for address).
An applicant who has completed all the requirements of the NCA will be issued a Certificate of Qualification. The applicant will then be considered to have the equivalent of the Canadian LL.B. (common law) degree and will be eligible to become enrolled in the Bar Admission Course (BAC) in Ontario.
The Bar Admission Course
The BAC is made up of three phases:
1. - Skills Phase (teaching term) 2. - Articling Phase (articling term) 3. - Substantive Procedural Phase (teaching term)
The objective of the BAC is to ensure, to the extent education can do so, that newly-called lawyers are competent lawyers who are equipped with the skills, knowledge and sense of professional responsibility and purpose required for the initial three years of practice, and to assure not only effective service of clients’ interests, but a steady, constructive growth of professional character and legal skills.
The BAC approaches this objective using a variety of teaching methods. The teaching emphasis is on small group learning and individual work, supplemented with some lectures. The teaching process centers primarily on hypothetical problems and transactions typically arising in various fields of law, which are presented as client files. Drawing from correspondence, agreements, memoranda and client interviews, students identify and resolve legal issues that are presented in the context of these hypothetical situations. The BAC includes a significant emphasis on acquiring and enhancing skills. The BAC relies on practitioners who generously volunteer their time and expertise as instructors.
Because of the nature of skills education, a full-time faculty fulfills a key role in accomplishing the educational objectives of the program. Articling Phase
The Articling Phase is 10 months in length. This includes two weeks vacation. Applicants may wish to review the Law Society’s Articling website. It may be found at www.lsuc.on.ca/articling.
Applicants who have practice experience behind them in the foreign jurisdiction, may want to explore, with the Articling staff (416-947-3341) what abridgement of the articling term, if any, may be given them on the strength of their past practice experience.
For Detailed Information on the Three Phases of the Bar Admission Course
Detailed information on the three phases of the BAC can be found at http://www.lsuc.on.ca/services/bac.jsp .
All academic requirements may be fulfilled without being a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident of Canada, however, candidates must be either a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident of Canada in order to be eligible for Call to the Bar in Ontario.
Further conditions include being of good character, successful completion of all academic requirements, submission of all necessary documents and payment of all fees.