Applying to the NSBS with a foreign law degree

Applicants with a foreign law degree seeking admission to the Society, include:

Applicants with a Foreign law degree – Admitted to a Foreign Bar

These individuals have earned their law degrees and were admitted/called to a foreign Bar. They may or may not have practised law in the country where they were admitted/called. They must be lawfully entitled to be employed in Canada.

FAQs for Internationally Trained Lawyers

Do you require an original copy of my transfer application?

No. You can scan and email the application to the Society provided that the notary stamp and seal are visible on the application page and on the notarized government issued photo ID.

Do you require original copies of supporting documentation? What should I do if my law society is unable to send documents due to COVID-19?

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, supporting documentation such as certificates of good standing can also be sent via email directly from the governing body, however, your ruling will be conditional upon receipt of the original.

Do I need to submit a separate application for an articling exemption?

No. When you apply as an internationally trained lawyer, we will automatically review your application to determine if a period of supervision (also referred to as articling) is required.  We will consider your overall practice history, relevant work experience in Canada (if applicable), how long it has been since you’ve practiced in your home jurisdiction, and what you plan to do once you have been called to that bar in Nova Scotia.

Can you tell me if I will be required to article or complete the bar admission program prior to submitting my transfer application?

No. We cannot make a determination until we have a complete application.  It is in the best interest of applicants to receive a decision based on a complete set of facts.

What happens once I submit my transfer application and all supporting documentation?

Once we have a complete application we will review your documents and issue a ruling letter via email. Your ruling letter will outline the conditions you must meet prior to your admission and the reasoning behind the decision.  We strive to process complete applications within two weeks, however it may take up to six weeks during periods of high volume, particularly April – July.

What type of conditions could be imposed?

Based on your practice experience we will determine if you must complete all or part of our Bar Admission Program, which includes the Society’s Cultural Competence Workshop and the Practice Readiness Education Program (PREP) offered through the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED). You may also be required to work under supervision in Nova Scotia (also know as articling). The articling requirement could range from 6-12 months. Applicants may also be required to review our Bar Review Materials.

Can I complete my articles in another province?

No. Our regulations require that articles must be completed with a member of the Society who meets the eligibility requirements to act as a principal/supervising lawyer.

Can I apply for and start PREP prior to applying to the Society?

Yes, however you should be aware that we could waive parts of the PREP course. This means that it is in your best interest to apply to the Society well in advance of CPLED’s registration deadline for PREP.

Do you offer a subsidy for ITLs enrolled in PREP?

No. Unfortunately, we cannot offer a subsidy for ITLs at this time.

Steps required to be called to the Bar in Nova Scotia – for applicants with a foreign law degree who are admitted:

  1. Apply to the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) to have the lawyer’s law degree and credentials assessed. Commence this process before immigrating to Canada as it will take time. 
    Note: Nova Scotia, as a province of Canada, is a Common Law jurisdiction. Therefore, the NCA criteria are generally greater for lawyers with civil law degrees and who practise in a country with a Civil Code than they are for lawyers with a non-Canadian common law degree.
  2. NCA issues a Certificate of Qualification.
  3. Submit an Application for Admission on Transfer to the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society.

Please note that we do not require a paper copy of your applicationE-mail your scanned application to the Society’s Education & Credentials Advisor at aoconnor@nsbs.org. Note that you can scan documents using most smartphones.

After submitting your application, please contact us to process your application fee by:

  • Credit card by calling us at 902-422-1491
  • Online banking by adding Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society as a payee under bill payments and use your member number without the dash as your account number

We do not accept e-transfer payments.

  1. The application is considered by the Executive Director.
  2. The application is approved.
  3. The applicant completes the necessary requirements set by the Executive Director. This will include completing the Bar Admission Program, which consists of the Cultural Competency Workshop, and the Practice Readiness Education Program (PREP).
  4. Upon successful completion of the conditions set by the Executive Director or the Credentials Committee (as per #6 above), the lawyer is eligible for admission to the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society.

Applicants with a Foreign law degree – Not Admitted to a Foreign Bar

These individuals have earned their law degrees and have NOT been admitted/called to a foreign Bar. They must be lawfully entitled to be employed in Canada.

It will be necessary for them to obtain articling positions in Nova Scotia and complete the Bar Admission Program.

Steps required to be called to the Nova Scotia Bar – for applicants with a foreign law degree who are NOT admitted to a foreign Bar

  1. Applicant applies to the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) to have the non-Canadian law degree and credentials assessed. Start this process before immigrating to Canada as it will take time.​
    Note: Nova Scotia, as a province of Canada, is a common law jurisdiction. Therefore, the NCA criteria are generally greater for applicants with a civil law degree than they are for applicants with a non-Canadian common law degree.
  2. NCA issues a Certificate of Qualification.
  3. Applicant obtains an articled clerk position in Nova Scotia with a firm, lawyer or organization that qualifies to act as a principal to an articled clerk.
  4. An Application for Enrolment in Bar Admission Program and as an Articled Clerk is submitted. Review articling applications and information.
  5. The completed application is considered by the Executive Director.
  6. The application is approved.
  7. Upon successful completion of all articling requirements, the individual is eligible for admission to the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society.

Guide for New Lawyers

Questions?

Education & Credentials Advisor

Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society
Cogswell Tower, 800–2000 Barrington Street
Halifax, NS B3J 3K1

T: 902 422-1491 | F: 902 429-4869
Email: baradmissions@nsbs.org