Faculty of Law

Faculty of Law
Faculty of Law

Upper Year

Students apply for upper-year admission if they are enrolled in a common law LLB or JD degree at another law school in Canada or outside Canada, or have completed a law degree in a foreign jurisdiction.

The number of openings in each upper-year category is dependent on the internal attrition rates at the law school. Usually the number of places available in each category cannot be known precisely until late June when the Faculty ascertains how many of its students seek to study elsewhere, how many are taking an approved leave, and how many are returning to study. The number of places is never large and occasionally there are no places at all. In particular, there have been very few openings for the admission of NCA applicants. Typically the Admissions Office receives many more applications from candidates that meet the minimum standards than there are places available. All upper-year applicants are required to have both a sound academic record and good personal or academic reasons for wanting to study at the Faculty of Law of Queen’s University.

If you have any questions about the Admission process at Queen’s Law please contact jd@queensu.ca.

Admission Standards

Only applicants who have attained at least a “B” average in previous years of study in law will be considered for admission in all upper-year categories. If you have failed one or more courses in law school or in the NCA process, you will not be considered for admission. At least one academic letter of reference must be provided from a law professor who can comment on your academic abilities.

For transfer and Letter of Permission applicants, a letter is required from the Dean or Associate Dean Academic of the current law school attesting that you are in good standing and have not been the subject of any disciplinary sanction on academic or non-academic grounds, nor otherwise been found to have engaged in misconduct.

Provided that the application is competitive on academic factors, priority will be given to the admission of transfer or Letter of Permission applicants who seek to return to their home province from a Canadian law school outside Ontario and to applicants seeking to transfer between Ontario law schools. Curriculum-related grounds and career path reasons supporting the application will be considered. Consideration will be given to compelling compassionate or personal grounds supporting the application. For example, consideration will be given to transfer and Letter of Permission applicants whose own ill health or the ill health of a close family member or child care responsibilities necessitate closer proximity. Documentation corroborating the grounds should be provided to support the application.

English Language Proficiency and TOEFL

An excellent command of spoken and written English is essential to success in law school. A TOEFL score is required if you are not fluent in English. If you have completed at least three years of full-time study at a recognized university taking courses for which English is the official language of instruction, you may request exemption from the TOEFL requirement.
Such a request for exemption must be supported by an academic letter of reference attesting to your fluency in written and spoken English.

Test results from the new iBT TOEFL are preferred. Standards for the new TOEFL iBT are a minimum total score of no less than 100, with a minimum of 24 on the Writing section, no less than 22 on the Speaking section, no less than 24 on the Reading section and no less than 20 on the Listening section. Under the old TOEFL scoring system, no applicant with a TOEFL score of less than 600/250 and a TWE of less than 5.0 was considered. The institution code for Queen’s University is 0949. For further information, please see the TOEFL website.

Admission Categories

Transfer

a) From a common law LLB or JD program at a Canadian Law School

If you have completed the first year of a common law LLB or JD degree program at a Canadian law school, you may apply to transfer into the second year of the JD degree program at the Faculty of Law at Queen’s University. If admitted, you will be expected to satisfy the JD degree requirements after two years of full-time course work at Queen’s. Upon successfully completing the degree requirements and adhering to all academic regulations, you will be eligible to receive a Queen’s University JD degree. You will have transfer credits recognized for first-year courses that are substantially similar to the first-year curriculum of the JD degree program at Queen’s University, but will be required to complete any first-year courses that were not part of the first-year curriculum of the degree program of the current law school you wish to transfer from.

b) From a common law LLB or JD degree program at a law school outside Canada (Advanced Standing Applicants)

Advanced standing applicants are transfer applicants who seek to be admitted into the Queen’s JD degree program from a law school outside Canada offering a common law LLB or JD degree. Applicants claiming advanced standing must outline in the personal statement the courses for which they seek recognition for transfer credit and the reasons for that claim. Generally, you are not accorded more than one year’s advanced standing and will be required to take Canadian Public Law, Constitutional Law and Criminal Law from the first-year curriculum. Transfer credit will be recognized for first-year courses that are substantially similar to the first-year curriculum of the JD degree program at Queen’s University but
transferees will be required to complete any first-year courses that were not part of the first-year curriculum of the degree program at the home law school they wish to transfer from.

The Admissions Office will determine whether or not previously earned credits will be recognized for transfer to the Queen’s University JD degree. Upon admission, you will be expected to satisfy the JD degree requirements after successful completion of at least two years of full-time course work. Upon successful completion of the degree requirements and adherence to all academic regulations, you will be eligible to receive the JD degree from Queen’s University.

Letter of Permission

As an upper-year law student, you may apply to study as a visiting student at the Faculty of Law for a single term or for a maximum period of one academic year on a Letter of Permission basis. If you are admitted on a Letter of Permission, you are not eligible for transfer into the Queen’s JD degree program. Academic work completed at Queen’s Faculty of Law will be credited toward satisfaction of the degree requirements of the home law school. The home law school will reserve the right to approve course load and course selections. Subject to the foregoing, a Letter of Permission student will be subject to the academic policies and regulations of Queen’s University and of the Faculty of Law for the duration of the registration as a visiting student.

National Committee on Accreditation (NCA)

If you have completed a law degree from a foreign common law jurisdiction and wish to be admitted to the practice of law in a Canadian common law jurisdiction, you must apply to the NCA. The NCA was established by the Canadian Council of Law Deans and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to conduct assessments of the equivalency of legal credentials and experience. For further details and contact information, please see the Working in Ontario and Federation of Law Societies of Canada websites.

Applications for admission in the NCA category must be supported by a current letter of recommendation from the NCA concerning the conditions upon which a Certificate of Qualification would be issued by the Committee and any subsequent correspondence with the NCA about progress in the recommended courses. The Certificate of Qualification is needed for entry into a provincial licensing process. NCA applicants should note that interviews for articling placement in Ontario generally take place during the summer, one full year prior to the start of the placement.

Applicants are advised to contact the Law Society of Upper Canada to confirm the procedures and deadlines for the licensing process.

The Admissions Committee relies on the NCA’s recommendation and gives preference to applicants who are required to take examinations in fewer than eight subjects to earn a Certificate of Qualification. A letter of recommendation and any subsequent correspondence relating to completion or attempts of required courses must be received by Queen’s Faculty of Law by June 30.

A Queen’s University JD degree is not conferred upon applicants admitted under the NCA category.

As an alternative to admission to a law school, NCA applicants may seek assistance preparing for NCA examinations from new bridging programs offered by the Internationally Trained Lawyer's Program at University of Toronto and from the Professional Development Divison of Osgoode Hall Law School.

Application Documentation

The following documentation is required for admission to the upper year categories:

  • Official transcripts of all law grades received. Transcripts should include academic records of all undergraduate programs and subsequent graduate work and should specify the courses taken, the grades, the degree and the standing obtained and provide a legend to the grading scheme. Official transcripts are required from all postsecondary institutions attended, including transcripts from studies as a visiting or exchange student. If you have undertaken undergraduate studies outside of Canada and the United States, you must have your foreign transcript assessed by World Education Services (WES) or an equivalent service. If you have undertaken graduate studies outside of North America, you are not required to have your foreign transcript assessed by WES or an equivalent service, although such assessment may be requested. Candidates from the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) must have their NCA assessment sent directly from the NCA. If an official NCA assessment is provided, applicants are not required to send original transcripts from outside Ontario. See www.wes.org/ca
     
  • Certified copy of the LSAT score report form. You are not required to take the test if you were admitted to a Canadian law school without an LSAT score report. Upper-year applicants who have never written the LSAT will not be required to take the LSAT.
     
  • A personal statement outlining the reasons for seeking admission to Queen’s Law School. (See the personal statement section under the section “First Year Admissions”.)
     
  • At least one, but no more than two, confidential academic letters of reference from instructors at the current law school. A non-academic reference may be filed by NCA applicants who have engaged in the practice of law.
     
  • For Letter of Permission and transfer students, a letter from the Dean or Associate Dean Academic attesting that you are in good standing and have not been the subject of any disciplinary sanction or investigation for misconduct on academic or non-academic grounds.
     
  • Letter of permission from the previous law school, if admission is being sought in this category for one or both terms of third-year JD degree studies.
     
  • For the NCA category, you must provide a current letter of recommendation from the NCA that specifies the courses and conditions upon which a Certificate of Qualification would be issued and any subsequent correspondence with the NCA that pertains to progress in courses stipulated initially.​
     
  • Other documentation and information as the Admissions Committee may request.