Applying to the NSBS with a foreign law degree

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

  • those already admitted to a foreign Bar, including Canadians (Applicants for Admission on Transfer);  and

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.

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: To receive a copy of the transfer application, please contact the Society’s Education & Credentials Advisor at aoconnor@nsbs.org.
  4. The application is considered by the Executive Director.
  5. The application is approved.
  6. The applicant completes the necessary requirements set by the Executive Director. This will include at the least the writing of the Bar Examination.
  7. 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 Course.

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 Course and as an Articled Clerk is submitted. The articling application is currently being revised. Please contact Pam Connor at pconnor@nsbs.org if you are starting articles before June 1, 2020.
  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

If you have any questions regarding the transfer process, please contact:

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