Source: The Hindu News Update Service
Toronto (PTI): Broadening prospects for legal professionals coming from India and other Asian countries, Canadian authorities have decided to recognise their law degrees equivalent to that of the U.K. and Australia.
"The National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) has decided that three-year full-time law degrees from Common Law Countries including India, England and Australia should be treated equivalently regardless of their country of origin. It is a substantial reduction in barrier to entry into legal profession," Vern Krishna, outgoing executive director of the NCA, said on Sunday.
Prof. Krishna, who will retire on June 30 after 27 years of his service, said that the new decision that came in force from March 1 and again revised on May 1, 2009 would pave the way for Indian lawyers and other foreign trained professionals quicker integration into the mainstream.
"Law degrees from India, Australia, Bangladesh, England, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, the U.S., Wales and West Indies are being treated equivalently," Prof. Krishna said.
He, however, said that professionals from these countries willing to practice law in Canada have to qualify exams in about six subjects depending upon the subjects they studied and grade obtained in order to achieve equivalence. Besides, they will have to write bar exams to practice as a lawyer here, he added.
The exams will test ability of foreign aspirants about their knowledge of law, how they apply it and their competence that allow them to serve public, he said.
Prof. Krishna said that Canada is offering vast opportunities for South Asian Legal professionals as trade and investment between Canada and South Asia are expected to grow significantly in years to come.
Welcoming the NCA's decision, Bhausaheb Ubale, former chief of Canadian Human Rights Commission, said that the step removed biggest barrier faced by Indian legal professionals and demanded similar provision in other professions also.
Foreign credentials recognition - or, more aptly, its non-recognition - is a "systemic problem" that continues to exist in Canada, said Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney.
He said his government has tripled its fund allocations to the foreign credential recognition programme.
"We're creating a national framework and hope to be able to present it in a year for now," he said, adding that it will enable the newcomers to have their credentials assessed quicker and paving the way towards their integration into the mainstream jobs market.