Graduating from an Australian law school and the NCA assessment process

17 July 2020

What is the NCA assessment process after you’ve graduated from an Australian law school?

law degrees
Are you getting ready to study for the NCA challenge exams?

If you’re considering studying law, you know it can be extremely competitive to get into a Canadian law school—and there are very few places available. Not being offered a coveted place often forces some students to rethink their career goals. For others, it just makes them more determined: they begin to look at other options, like studying law abroad.

Graduate qualifications from an Australian law school are recognized internationally. Canadian students who wish to practice as lawyers upon their return to Canada are required to apply to the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) for assessment as the first step in the accreditation process.

Understanding the process to become a lawyer

The NCA evaluates the credentials of foreign lawyers or Canadians with a foreign law degree who wish to be admitted as a lawyer in Canada. There is a five-step process involved in each NCA assessment and each application is assessed on an individual basis. The basic process when returning to Canada and meeting the requirements to practice as a lawyer are as follows:

  • NCA – Assessment and challenge examination
  • Articling (or a Law Practice Program – LPP)
  • Barrister & Solicitor Exam
  • Being “called to the Bar”

When students graduate from an Australian law school, they must first apply to have their credentials assessed by the NCA. All applications are assessed by the NCA on a case-by-case basis, because everyone’s application is usually very unique and different based on their own personal experiences and academic history.
NCA assessments focus on the core common law subjects in which you will demonstrate competence, including five Canadian subjects which are mandatory for all applicants. Most Australian law school graduates who apply through the NCA would be asked to complete challenge exams in the following five areas:

  • Principles of Canadian Administrative Law
  • Canadian Constitutional Law
  • Canadian Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Foundations of Canadian Law
  • Canadian Professional Responsibility

Exams are graded on a pass/fail basis (50% is considered a pass). Results are released approximately 10–12 weeks from the date of the last scheduled exam of each session.

The NCA exams are self-study, so you must obtain the material on your own. Many law graduates get their texts from law schools/libraries, and from searching on Google. Be sure to consult the syllabus before purchasing the materials as the textbooks used can change, and ensure you purchase the correct edition of all texts.

Once the applicant has successfully completed the assigned requirements, the NCA will issue a Certificate of Qualification. That certificate is required to apply to a Canadian law society in a common law jurisdiction. More info is available on the NCA website.

Which law programs do OzTREKK Australian law schools offer?

The following Australian Law Schools offer either a graduate-entry LLB or JD and most offer an undergraduate-entry LLB:

NCA assessment policy update for Australian law school students

In recognition of the fact that the pandemic is forcing many schools around the world to include online instruction in their law programs in 2020, the NCA Assessment Policy has been revised to allow for recognition of a limited amount of online interactive instruction. This policy change came into effect on July 21, 2020. Learn more about the latest NCA policy update.


Would you like more information about law degrees offered in Australia? Please contact OzTREKK’s Australian Law Schools Admissions Officer at