Ensuring law school programs meet the standards of the National Requirement.
What We Do

Approving Canadian Law School Programs

The Federation approves all Canadian common law programs. Through an annual review, we ensure law school programs meet the standards of the National Requirement.

The National Requirement has been in force since 2015 and is subject to review at least every five years. It specifies the knowledge and skills that graduates of Canadian common law programs and internationally trained lawyers and law graduates must demonstrate to qualify for entry to bar admission programs in the Canadian common law jurisdictions. It also specifies the learning resources that Canadian common law school programs must have to be approved.

An amended National Requirement was approved by the Council of the Federation on March 12, 2024, based on the February 2024 Final Report and Recommendations of the National Requirement Review Committee. To allow an appropriate period for transition, the new amended standard will come into effect on January 1, 2029, with application to spring 2029 graduates of approved Canadian common law programs and to NCA applicants whose files are ready to be assessed on or after January 1, 2029. The January 1, 2018 National Requirement will remain in effect until that time.

Two approval models

The National Requirement also applies to applications for new Canadian common law degree programs. Two models are used for granting approval. The Program Approval Model assesses the program, and all graduates collectively, to ensure it meets the National Requirement. The Individual Student Approval Model, or ISAM, assesses individual graduates to determine if each meets the National Requirement.

A law program not yet operating or that has not produced its first graduating class may receive only preliminary approval. Programs with preliminary approval are reviewed annually along with a law school’s existing programs. To learn more, consult the Conditions of Law School Approvals.

The current list of approved programs is available here.

If, during the annual review process, the Federation finds that some aspect of a law school’s operation appears not to meet requirements, we ask the law school to explain how it will address the perceived shortcoming. You can review an outline of the Federation’s concerns and law school responses here

Students who graduated from a Canadian common law program in 2015 or earlier are eligible for entry into bar admission programs in any common law jurisdiction, unless otherwise indicated.

Law school program definitions

  • Dual Program – combined completion of a J.D./LL.B. plus a J.D./LL.B. from another university
  • Joint Program – combined completion of a J.D./LL.B. plus a degree from another discipline within the same university, either undergraduate or graduate
  • One Year Program – a one-year J.D./LL.B. for graduates of Canadian civil law programs