Peter A Allard School of Law

LLM in Common Law

Curriculum Requirement

Students are required to complete a minimum of 30 credits of course work in one calendar year from the start of their program (i.e. May start dates should finish by April; September start dates should finish by August). Studies can be extended beyond the one-year mark with permission of the Associate Dean, Graduate Studies.  Students must complete at least 24 of the 30 credits at the graduate (500) level.

Required Core Courses

Students must complete at least one of the following courses: 

  • Canadian Public Law (LAW 505 – 5 credits). Only offered in-person in the Summer Session.
  • Canadian Private Law: Contractual Obligations and Remedies (LAW 515 – 5 credits) - Only offered in-person in the Summer Session.
  • Canadian Criminal Law and Procedure (LAW 525 – 5 credits)

Seminar Paper or Legal Research and Writing Requirement

Students must also complete one of the following legal researched focused courses:

  • Seminar Paper: Students complete this requirement by passing a 500 level course of at least 3 credits with a research paper counting for at least 60% of the student’s final mark. 
  • Advanced Legal Research & Writing (LAW 530 – 4 credits): This course provides advanced instruction for graduate students in legal research and writing. It focuses on Canadian legal research, but also covers research in other common law jurisdictions and in international legal forums. Instruction in writing focuses on common forms of writing in legal practice and, to a lesser extent, for legal academics.

Electives and Cross listed Courses

Students complete their remaining credits by successfully completing courses chosen from the graduate or upper-year JD curriculum offered by the Allard School of Law.  LL.M. CL students are permitted to count a maximum of six (6) credits from JD courses taken at the 300 or 400 level.  All other coursers must be at the 500 or graduate level courses. Many, but not all, JD courses are cross listed at the graduate level and will be listed with a second number: i.e. 300.001/500.001. Cross listed courses have an additional coursework requirement – the approximate equivalent of a 5 page case note, a short paper or a short presentation – reflecting the greater work expected of a graduate level course.  The notation on a student’s transcript will be the 500 level course, and not the 300 or 400 level course. 

Upper-year JD courses that are not cross-listed on the course schedule can still be taken at the graduate level and cross-listed individually. 

Restricted Courses

The following courses are not open to students in the LL.M. CL Program:
•    First year JD courses (200 level courses); 
•    Mandatory seminars in the research-based LLM and PhD programs (LAW 500, LAW 524D; LAW 610 and LAW 611);
•    Moots, clinical courses, other experiential courses or trial advocacy (LAW 472); and
•    Courses in other faculties. 

Minimum Grading Requirement for Graduate Students

According to the policies of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, master’s student may only count six (6) credits of coursework with grades of 60-67% towards a master's program. A standing of Fail (F) will be assigned to courses with grades that fall below 60%.  All grades above 90% must be reviewed and approved by the Graduate Committee.  A graduate student who fails a course may not take a supplemental exam. If a graduate student has to repeat a failed required course, then the student must obtain a minimum mark of 74%. If the failed course is not a required/mandatory course, the student can choose a different course of the same credit value to replace the failed course.

NCA Accreditation Process

It is the student’s responsibility to apply to the NCA and to arrange for completion of the NCA’s requirements if they wish to practice law in Canada. The following information below is provided for reference only; for the most up to date information, please see the NCA’s website

Please remember that the NCA is the accrediting body, not UBC. As a result, it is the student’s responsibility to confirm that NCA requirements are being met with the NCA. Successfully completing a course in the LL.M. CL program with a passing grade will meet the NCA’s requirement for that subject; the student will not be required to also take the subject’s challenge exam. The following courses corresponding to NCA required subjects are listed as a reference only: 

When to send my UBC transcripts to the NCA

Civil Law Students: Students from civil law jurisdiction are required to complete the 8 core Canadian common law and core common law.  The NCA will often not recognize non-common law legal training for subject credit.  Students can complete four (4) NCA subjects and have their file reassessed and be assigned any remaining subjects to be done in a program or through the self-study method.   Students can send official transcripts to the NCA through Enrollment Services by requesting them on their Student Services Page for the NCA to re-assess their file. Once all NCA required subjects are completed, students can send their transcripts to the NCA again to start the process of being issued their Certificate of Accreditation. Many students also choose to self-study for some of their NCA assigned subjects to make room in their schedule for electives in an area of particular interest. This is also a good option and we recommend that students discuss this with their program advisor at the time of registration in July. 

Common Law Students: Students from common law jurisdictions are most often required to complete the five (5) core Canadian common law NCA subjects. Once their assigned subjects are completed, students can order their official transcripts to be sent to the NCA through the Student Service Centre. For students who have completed a two year law degree (Senior Status or Graduate Entry in the UK) the NCA often requires an additional 2 subjects to be completed. Those additional subjects might be waived once the LLM CL program is completed, since that counts as the third year of law school. Students should confirm this with the NCA individually. In this situation, students have to wait until their degree is conferred by UBC before sending their final transcript to the NCA. 

NOTE: The NCA requires hard copy transcripts, and will not accept transcripts sent by email.  Please be sure to select the hard copy option when requesting official transcripts.

Program Explanation Letters

Many of our students take cross listed courses to meet their requirement of 24 graduate level credits to graduate. In some cases, the cross listed courses will have general titles such as ‘Topics in Common Law’ on the transcript. The Graduate Program provides an explanation letter for students which lists all completed courses, equivalent JD course names, credits and grades and includes an explanation of the LLM CL program for potential employers and the NCA. We recommend you request such a letter from us when you are ready to send your transcripts to the NCA for assessment and we can send it directly to the NCA upon your explicit request. 

Please fill out the Program Explanation PDF and email it to Alan Grove (grove@allard.ubc.ca)

NCA Timeline and Starting Your Articles

You can start your articles once you have received your certificate of qualification from the NCA and have been cleared by the relevant Law Society for articles. This process can take several weeks to months depending on the workload at the NCA at the time. The graduate program staff have worked with the NCA to allow graduating students to begin articling before their degree has been conferred by the University. Students must have completed all degree requirements, applied for graduation, and be in good financial standing with the University. Once we receive the final grade needed for graduation we can send a confirmation email to the NCA with the student’s program explanation letter and a confirmation that the student will graduate at the next graduation date (November or May every year). This is sufficient for the NCA to let the relevant law society know that the student can begin their articles. In some cases, we have moved through this process within two weeks. We recommend you contact your program staff right away if you are planning on accepting articles with a tight timeline and we will be able to assist you in this process. 

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