Chapter 9: Practicing Law In Other Countries
Practicing Law In Other Countries
The legal profession in Canada is governed by one of the fourteen law societies of Canada. In general, the education requirements to practice law in Canada may be satisfied by one of the two following methods:
a) Obtain a LL.B degree from an accredited Canadian law
b) Obtain a LL.B from a fully accredited non-Canadian law
Graduates of the accredited law programs listed in this book who have earned a LL.B degree (or J.D.) would be eligible if they obtained their degree under method “b” and would be required to submit transcripts of their legal education and experience, if any, to the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) for evaluation. Each case is reviewed individually, but typically candidates can expect to be required take some or all of the following additional courses:
According to the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, the following factors are considered in determining the additional education required to meet the legal education requirements for the practice of law in Canada:
Age of the degree
Academic Standing of the Student
The particular subjects studied
The undergraduate education of the candidate
According to the NCA, “candidates with Upper Second Class Honours should receive “advanced standing as would a candidate with Lower Second Class Honours, though not as much. Third Class standing or lower normally will not receive any advanced standing.”
Therefore, you may be required to obtain ten additional credits, which is roughly equivalent to 1.5 years of additional study. Not bad if you consider that the LL.B degree may be earned in two or three years by distance learning—and at a fraction of the cost of traditional U.S. and Canadian Law Schools.
Once the NCA makes a determination on the additional courses a candidate must undertake, the candidate then has a choice of two methods to fulfill the requirements:
1) Study at an accredited Canadian Law School
2) Take a private course under the auspices of the NCA
Many U.S. and Canadian students are working full time and simply cannot afford to quit their jobs to attend a full-time program. And, part-time law schools are not generally available in Canada. However, by utilizing the alternative legal education strategies in this book Canadian and U.S. law students (and students from any country) can become a Canadian lawyer—and save not only time, but also thousands of dollars over the traditional method of becoming a lawyer. And, recall, outside the U.S., distance learning law programs are quite the norm.
The legal profession in the United Kingdom is a bifurcated system made up of Solicitors and Barristers. In the past, only barristers were afforded audience privileges, that is, they were able to appear before the court. Solicitors, on the other hand, prepared cases for trial and tended to other legal matters handled outside the courtroom. Today, many solicitors also have rights of audience and there is much discussion about merging the two classes.
Qualification as a Solicitor:
Step 1 Obtain a Qualifying Law Degree
Step 2 Complete a Legal Practice Course (LPC)
Step 3 Training Contract
Candidates who have earned an LL.B degree from one of the accredited law schools listed in this book will generally meet the requirements of Step 1. Your degree will be on equal footing irrespective of whether it was earned by classroom study or by distance learning. It must, however, be conferred by an accredited law school. Step 2 may be completed by enrolling in a one-year full time course, two-year part time course or by distance learning. Step 3 is fulfilled by undergoing an apprenticeship period with a Solicitor firm.
Any U.S. licensed attorney may become accredited to practice law in the United Kingdom by passing the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test (QLTT), administered by the Law Society. Examinations are administered in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. A U.S. attorney must be licensed to practice in one of the 50 United States, and have at least two years legal practice experience.
Attorneys with less than two years practice may still take the QLTT examination but need to apply for deferred licensing following proof of two years practice experience.
For more information visit: www.qltt.com
Qualification as a Barrister:
· Step 1 Obtain a Qualifying Law Degree
· Step 2 Gain Admission to an Inns of Court
· Step 3 Complete a Bar Vocational Course (BVC)
· Step 4 Complete a Six Month Pupillage
· Step 5 Obtain a Provisional Practising Certificate
· Step 6 Complete a Six Month Pupillage
· Step 7 Obtain a Practising Certificate as a Barrister
As with the Requirements for Solicitors, candidates who have obtained a LL.B degree from one of the accredited law schools listed in this book the will generally meet the requirements of Step 1. Step 2 may be completed by attending the prescribed number of dinners at an Inns of Court. Step 3 may be completed by completing a one year full-time or two year part-time BVC course. Steps 4 to 7 are completed by obtaining a pupillage (apprenticeship) with a chamber of Barristers for two six-month intervals and upon meeting with satisfactory approval, being issued a Practising Certificate.
Procedure for Admittance to Practice Law
In 1970, fourteen Caribbean nations, along with the Cayman Islands, formed the Council of Legal Education. The Council’s primary function was to promulgate rules of practice and to establish the minimum standards of legal education for lawyers wishing to practice law before the courts of the member states. The following Caribbean nations are signatories to the agreement.
British Honduras British Virgin Islands Cayman Islands
St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla St. Lucia
Trinidad and Tobago
There are two methods of meeting the Council’s requirements:
1) Obtain a LL.B degree from the University of the West Indies
2) Obtain a LL.B degree from a fully accredited institution
Candidates who have obtained a LL.B degree from one of the accredited law schools listed in this book the will generally meet the requirements of Step 1 and would then need to apply for admission to a short program at one of the following three law schools established by the Council:
Norman Manley Law School – Jamaica
Hugh Wooding Law School – Trinidad
Once admitted to one of the Council’s law schools, candidates will undertake a course of study in the laws of the Caribbean followed by a short apprenticeship with a Caribbean law firm. Upon meeting these requirements, the candidate will be awarded a “Legal Education Certificate” certifying that he or she has successfully fulfilled the education and training requirements for admission to practice. No person is permitted to practice in the Caribbean without being awarded this certificate.
Some nontraditional law-school graduates may wish to be admitted in the Caribbean first before seeking admission to practice in the U.S., UK or Canada as it is often easier to be admitted elsewhere once admitted in another common law jurisdiction. I should also remind you that earning a law degree by distance learning is actually quite common in the UK, Caribbean and, to some extent, Canada— to this extent it is really not nontraditional at all. These programs are only nontraditional from a U.S. perspective, and even then, only for the past 50 years or so.