Graduates of foreign law schools

Number of Canadian students pursuing foreign law degrees
on the rise

Students advised to be aware of the benefits and implications of studying outside Canada

Admissions staff at the Law Society have seen a steady increase in the number of Canadians who are earning their law degrees outside the country and many of those schools are aggressively marketing to international candidates.

And while studying abroad can have great appeal for many reasons, the Law Society is encouraging students to do their research before attending law school in a country other than Canada.

“Studying law at an international university is appealing to more and more students every year,” said Alan Treleaven, Director of Education & Practice with the Law Society. “We are certainly not suggesting foreign law schools provide any less of an education, but we want to make sure that students know if they graduate from a law school outside of Canada, it could be months, or even years, before they can apply to practise law in BC.”

Students with international law degrees who want to practise law at home must first apply for a Certificate of Qualification from the National Committee on Accreditation, a standing committee of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. The Federation, through the NCA, has a mandate from Canada’s law societies to assess the education and experience of people with credentials from outside of Canada.

“The purpose of the certification process is to assess whether students trained elsewhere have the same knowledge and skills as graduates of Canadian law schools and are therefore ready to enter bar admission programs here in Canada. However, obtaining that certificate from the NCA ­involves payment of fees, as well as considerable time to satisfy additional academic requirements,” said Treleaven. “Students have to write a series of examinations and, in some cases, they could also be required to complete more course work at a Canadian university.”

After obtaining a Certificate of Qualification from the NCA, a student in BC can apply to the Law Society Admission Program.

More information can be found on the Law Society website or NCA website: flsc.ca/en/nca.