Qualifying as a lawyer in Canada following completion of the Common Law LLB

In order to qualify as a lawyer in Canada, after completing a common law LLB at Glasgow, a student must:

  1. Apply for a National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) assessment
  2. Gain a NCA Certificate of Qualification
  3. Complete a Bar Admissions Course in the province in which they wish to work and complete all training requirements (e.g. ‘Articling’ which is a legal traineeship)

In order to gain the NCA Certificate of Qualification, students will need to demonstrate competency in eight core modules. The eight (8) Core Subjects are:

  1. Canadian Administrative Law
  2. Canadian Constitutional Law
  3. Canadian Criminal Law
  4. Canadian Professional Responsibility
  5. Foundations of Canadian Law
  6. Contracts
  7. Property
  8. Torts

The first five core subjects have Canadian-specific content and competency in these areas is demonstrated by taking NCA examinations in those subjects, or completing a course covering those areas in an Approved Canadian law Programme. The former is the most cost-efficient route to take, but some students prefer to have guided instruction in the modules, rather than taking the exams on a self-study basis.

An Applicant may demonstrate competence in the other core subjects (Contracts, Torts and Property) by completing these modules as part of the Glasgow LLB degree, subject to legal academic performance requirements (as outlined in sections 8 of the NCA Policy Manual).

Graduates of the 4-year honours Common Law LLB

In Canada, students will ordinarily have completed a non-law degree before studying law at university, and for equivalence purposes, the NCA Policy Manual contains a two-year ‘pre-law education’ requirement in a university-level program. However, an applicant can apply to have this requirement waived in various circumstances, including where they have a law degree of four years in length (the length of the Glasgow Common Law honours degree): see para 4.2 of the NCA Policy Manual. Even if the requirement is not waived, the ‘deficiency’ in pre-law education can be addressed by completing Additional Legal Subjects in the NCA exams (see para. 4.1 of the NCA Policy Manual). Therefore, in some circumstances, studying a four year law degree at Glasgow may be a quicker and cost-efficient route to qualification in Canada. After completing the Common law degree, students could also pursue further postgraduate education (e.g. a one year LLM degree) in order to satisfy the pre-law education requirement, and a postgraduate degree is often a selling point for employers.

Graduates of the 2-year accelerated Common Law LLB

Canadian law degrees are normally three years in length and the NCA specifies how students with shorter (e.g. two year) law degrees can demonstrate the requisite competency at paragraph 6 of the NCA Policy Manual. For most of our Canadian accelerated students, they typically do this by passing additional examinations (often two, but this is assessed on an individual basis), which are assigned to them by the NCA.

Where students are required to take additional legal subjects they will be assigned from the following list:

  • Business Organizations
  • Civil Procedure
  • Commercial Law
  • Evidence
  • Family Law
  • Remedies
  • Tax Law

A student will not be assigned a module from this list which they have already studied at Glasgow.

Qualifying as a lawyer in the UK

The UK has three legal systems and in each there is a split legal profession – solicitors and barristers/advocates. Solicitors do all kinds of legal work. Barristers and advocates specialise in litigation, and oral advocacy, particularly in the higher courts.

Qualifying as a solicitor: England and Wales

The Glasgow common law LLB programmes have previously been recognised for the purposes of qualifying as a solicitor in England and Wales. However, a new qualification system was introduced in 2021, and students who start the LLB (Common law) from now on must qualify under the new system. A law degree will not be necessary. Instead, all applicants will need to take the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE)– a single, national licensing examination – if they wish to become a solicitor. The educational requirement will be a degree in any subject (or equivalent qualification or work experience). Applicants must then pass both stages of the SQE assessment, gain two years' qualifying work experience and pass the character and suitability requirements. For further information, see: https://www.sra.org.uk/students/sqe.

Although a law degree will no longer be needed, it will be a great advantage to have a law degree from a leading university when looking for employment as a solicitor.

Qualifying as a solicitor: the rest of the UK

The Glasgow common law LLB programmes are currently recognised for purposes of qualifying as a solicitor in Northern Ireland (the Solicitor Course at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, Belfast). They are not accredited for the purposes of qualifying as a solicitor in Scotland. 

However, once a person has become a qualified solicitor anywhere in the UK, they can qualify anywhere else in the UK by passing a transfer examination.

Qualifying as a Barrister or Advocate

The Glasgow common law LLB programmes satisfy the academic component of qualification as a Barrister in England and Wales and are recognised law degrees for the purposes of qualifying as a barrister in Northern Ireland (the Bar Course at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, Belfast). They are not accredited for the purposes of qualifying as an Advocate in Scotland.

Qualifying as a lawyer in other countries

In the common law world, bar examinations are a normal feature of entry to the legal profession. The LL.B. (Common Law) programme is intended as a foundation upon which students can build in order to qualify for legal practice in specific jurisdictions. In the United States, for example, it is usual to require a three-year common law degree as a pre-requisite for the state bar exam and such degrees obtained abroad are generally recognised. That does not mean they are sufficient. In order to succeed in any bar examination, appropriate jurisdiction-specific study is required. This may be undertaken independently as self-study or as part of an organised course.

If you are thinking of qualifying as a lawyer in a country other than the UK, you should study the rules for qualifying in that country very carefully.

Reasons to study Law at the University of Glasgow

The key strengths of Glasgow’s undergraduate programmes are:

  • Consistently high rankings for student experience
  • A comprehensive, interdisciplinary and value orientated legal education
  • International mobility and a global sensibility are core to our programmes
  • Teaching excellence is a part of our culture
  • Excellent and internationally flexible employability prospects.

The information on this page has been created according to current understandings of regulatory requirements, but applicants should always check and confirm requirements with relevant professional bodies.  

If you have any questions about admissions requirements, please contact our Admissions Enquiry Team: https://www.gla.ac.uk/study/enquire/

If you have any specific questions about the degree structure and teaching, please contact: law-ug-enquiries@glasgow.ac.uk