How can a foreigner lawyer practice in Canada?

If you are a lawyer but not a Canadian citizen, then the simple fact is you can’t practice law in the country, unless you have special authorization. In Canada, that piece of approval held by an institution called the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA). What it does is provide a re- certificate stating that you can practice law within Canada. In this article, we will explore NCA a bit more and discuss the assessment that the institution has. We will also talk about what happens when you complete the assessment and learn more about the NCA exams.

Purpose of NCA

The main reason why the National Committee on Accreditation exists is to match the standards of Canadian legal practitioners. So, if you wish to practice law, you don’t need to choose variable routes of entrance requirements applicable to all the provinces and territories in Canada. However, Quebec, as the Barreau du Québec and the Chambre des Notaires du Québec, follows an evaluation process which is not the same as the NCA.

Besides those two places, you must need to understand the NCA assessment and crack its exam to qualify. The NCA’s primary mandate aims to let any foreign law practitioner understand the Canadian civil law program and be on the same page as the other native lawyers in the country.

About the Assessment

Ideally, if you are a trained International Lawyer, you can straightaway apply for the NCA assessment. One significant aspect here is you don’t even have to be a Canadian citizen to apply since the NCA authority bypasses this formality. However, you must meet the following criteria to process the NCA assessment:

  • The NCA form is available online, and there is also a fee that you must take care of – $450.
  • You must submit the original copies of the final academic transcripts, where you have studied.
  • There is a Language proficiency score that you must attain – a minimum of 7.0 on every module of the IELTS test (for English) or TESTCan (for French). Sometimes, the authority waves this requirement, provided you must submit adequate evidence.

After the Assessment

The NCA starts its assessment report once you submit all the relevant documents. Typically, it takes around 4-8 weeks to scrutinize all your filed documents. Now, the NCA reviews the application on its individual merits. There are a lot of significant factors that the authorities consider, such as the academic qualification, overall experience, subjects of studies, type of legal system, and many more.

Once the authorities greenlight your assessment report, you need to complete three tasks to acquire a Certificate of Qualification:

  1. To pass the NCA exams. There is also a fee of $340 that you must pay for it.
  2. Getting admission in a Canadian law school pursuing a specific area.
  3. To complete the following Canadian common law degree program.

The Conclusion

After you successfully passed the NCA exam, you need to choose an area of expertise and join a
Canadian law school. Complete the course, get the degree, and get the Certificate of Qualification,
after which you can practice law in Canada.