As a Lawyer, you already know that every country has its own laws and judicial system. The challenges you will face in qualifying to practice in Canada will depend on whether the legal system of your first country is Common Law, Civil Law, religious law or a combination. Except for the province of Quebec, Canada’s legal system is based in Common Law.

In the province of Nova Scotia, the best place to start the process is at the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society. The Pathway to Licensure diagram will help point out your options. An Employment Specialist at ISANS can help you figure out the pathway(s) that can work for you.

ISANS offers:



Observership Program for Internationally Trained Lawyers

If you are interested check out the brochure and also talk to your Employment Specialist.



Other Useful Websites for Internationally Trained Lawyers

Nova Scotia Barristers Society

Federation of Law Societies of Canada

National Committee on Accreditation

Canadian Bar Association – Nova Scotia

Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University

Masters of Law (LLM) Common Law Program, University of British Columbia



Online NCA Exam Prep Program – Osgoode Hall Law School – York University

This program is specifically designed for internationally qualified lawyers and law graduates planning to write the National Committee on Accreditation’s 5 mandatory examinations.

The Online NCA Exam Prep Program offers instruction in the following subjects:

  • Foundations of Canadian Law
  • Canadian Constitutional Law
  • Canadian Administrative Law
  • Canadian Criminal Law
  • Professional Responsibility


Helpful Resources & Articles

Mixed Jurisdictions: Common vs Civil Law – by William Tetley

Tips for Lawyers Re-qualifying in Canada – by Alice Toal

Information for Internationally Trained Lawyers – by Janet Kravetz

Alternative Careers for Lawyers

Alternative Careers for LawyersBy Janice Mucalov, LL.B., September 2009


Internationally Trained Lawyers Multi-stakeholder Work Group

For several years now, the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society and ISANS have been leading an effort to make changes and improve licensure processes. ISANS and other key stakeholders participate actively on this Work Group to identify barriers and develop solutions.  Read more…