NCA Assessment Process
The National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) is a standing committee of the Law Societies of Canada. Its mandate is to assist law societies in Canada to protect the public interest by assessing the legal education and professional experience of individuals who obtained their credentials outside of Canada or in a civil law program in Quebec. This assessment is done before these individuals apply for admission to a common law bar in Canada.
The NCA assesses the legal credentials of people who have immigrated to Canada, or are considering immigrating. The NCA also assesses the credentials of Canadians who have obtained their legal training in another country and the credentials of Canadian civil law graduates who wish to apply for a licence to practise law in a Canadian common law jurisdiction. The NCA does not assess the legal credentials of individuals who want to apply to and become members of the Barreau du Québec or the Chambre notaires du Québec. They have their own evaluation procedures.
There is a five step process involved in each NCA assessment, as illustrated:
1) You submit your application with required documentation and payment;
2) The NCA reviews and assesses your credentials;
3) The NCA notifies you of assignments or deficiencies;
4) You complete your assigned requirements; and
5) The NCA issues a Certificate of Qualification.
Each application is assessed on an individual basis, taking into account the specific elements of each applicant’s educational and professional background, as stated in NCA Policies and Guidelines. The NCA applies a uniform standard on a national basis so that applicants with common law qualifications obtained outside of Canada do not need to satisfy different entrance standards to practise law in the different common law provinces and territories of Canada.
When the NCA assessment is complete, a letter is sent to each applicant describing any further legal education that may be required to demonstrate that their legal education and training is comparable to that provided by an approved Canadian common law faculty.
Once the applicant has successfully completed the assigned requirements, the NCA issues a Certificate of Qualification. That certificate is required to apply to a Canadian law society in a common law jurisdiction.
More information on the NCA process is available here.