A number of law schools in Canada operate as a faculty or as an affiliated school to a Canadian public university. Twenty law schools offer common law schooling, whereas seven schools offer schooling in the civil law system. Although the judicial system in most Canadian provinces operate under a common law system, the province of Quebec uses the civil law system for private law matters. As a result, most Canadian law schools that offer schooling in civil law are based in Quebec.

Legal education in Canada

Generally, entry into law programs in Canada is based primarily on a combination of the student's previous grades as well as, for English-language common-law programs, their score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Factors such as specialized degrees, work experience, community involvement, personal character, extracurricular activities, and references are sometimes taken into account, for which the Universities of Calgary, Windsor and McGill's holistic law school admissions are well known, but the LSAT remains far more determinative of admission than comparable standardized tests for other disciplines, such as the MCAT or GMAT. Quebec law schools, including the dual-curriculum, bilingual McGill University Faculty of Law, do not require applicants to write the LSAT, although any scores are generally taken into account; nor do the French-language common-law programs at the Université de Moncton École de droit and University of Ottawa Faculty of Law.

All of Canada's law schools are affiliated with public universities, and are thus public institutions. This practice has been held to have helped reduce disparities in the quality of students and instruction as between the schools.[citation needed] Since there is a limited number of positions in each law school's annual admissions, entry to all Canadian law schools is intensely competitive: most law schools receive far more applicants than they can accommodate. Most schools focus on their respective regions, and many graduates remain in the region in which the school is located, though the relatively uniform quality of the law schools affords greater geographic mobility to graduates.

After completing the Juris Doctor (J.D.), a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.), or a Bachelor of Civil Law (B.C.L.), students must article for about a year (in Quebec, the six-month stage is the equivalent to articling); this can be a challenge for those with lower grades, as there are often a shortage of articling positions, and completion of articles is required to be able to practice law in Canada. Articling involves on-the-job training, at a lower introductory salary, under the supervision of a lawyer licensed by the Provincial Bar who has been practising for a minimum of 5 years. An alternative to articling, usually for the most competitive students, is to complete a Judicial Clerkship with a provincial or federal court under the direction of a judge. After ten to sixteen months of articling or clerking and call to the bar, lawyers are free to practice in their own right: many are hired by the same lawyer or firm for which they articled, while some choose to begin independent practices or accept positions with different employers. Others may leave the private practice of law to work in government or industry as a lawyer or in a law-related position. Former Judicial Law Clerks are typically not hired by the court after their clerkship.

Schools teaching common law

School Province (city) Degree Type Founded
Dalhousie University, Schulich School of Law Nova Scotia (Halifax) J.D. Public 1883
Lakehead University, Bora Laskin Faculty of Law Ontario (Thunder Bay) 2013
McGill University, Faculty of Law Quebec (Montreal) 1968
Queen's University, Faculty of Law Ontario (Kingston) 1957
Thompson Rivers University, Faculty of Law British Columbia (Kamloops) 2011
Toronto Metropolitan University, Lincoln Alexander School of Law Ontario (Toronto) 2019
University of Alberta, Faculty of Law Alberta (Edmonton) 1912
University of British Columbia, Peter A. Allard School of Law British Columbia (Vancouver) 1945
University of Calgary, Faculty of Law Alberta (Calgary) 1976
University of Manitoba, Robson Hall Faculty of Law Manitoba (Winnipeg) 1914
University of New Brunswick, Faculty of Law New Brunswick (Fredericton) 1892
University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law Ontario (Ottawa) 1953
University of Saskatchewan, College of Law Saskatchewan (Saskatoon) 1912
University of Toronto, Faculty of Law Ontario (Toronto) 1949
University of Victoria, Faculty of Law British Columbia (Victoria) 1975
University of Western Ontario, Faculty of Law Ontario (London) 1959
University of Windsor, Faculty of Law Ontario (Windsor) 1967
Université de Moncton, École de droit New Brunswick (Moncton) 1978
Université de Montréal, Faculté de droit Quebec (Montreal) 2011
York University, Osgoode Hall Law School Ontario (Toronto) 1889

Schools teaching civil law

School Province (city) Degree Type Founded
Université Laval, Faculté de droit Québec (Quebec City) LL.B. Public 1852
McGill University, Faculty of Law Québec (Montréal) B.C.L. Public 1848
Université de Montréal, Faculté de droit Québec (Montréal) LL.B. Public 1892
Université d'Ottawa, Faculté de droit Ontario (Ottawa) LL.L. Public 1953
Université du Québec à Montréal, Faculté de science politique et de droit Québec (Montréal) LL.B. Public 1969
Université de Sherbrooke, Faculté de droit Québec (Sherbrooke) LL.B. Public 1954
Akitsiraq Law School Nunavut (Iqaluit) LL.B. 2013

Schools offering dual law degrees or choice of legal system

See also


  1. ^ "Programme de droit canadien". University of Ottawa. Dec 20, 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-09-11.
  2. ^ "National Program at U of Ottawa". University of Ottawa. June 24, 2006.