Course Overviews

To pass the Bar Course, students must pass examinations in Family Law, Commercial Law, Civil Procedure, Practice Skills, Practice Management and Ethics, Criminal Law, Administrative Law and Real Estate/Wills. Each exam is 3½ hours long and focuses on the lecture presentations, the Bar Admission Course materials and the approximately 80 provincial and federal statutes and regulations covered in the Course. The Bar Admission Course materials consist of 11 separate volumes and cover thousands of pages of materials.

The goal of the Course is to give new lawyers a comprehensive overview of Newfoundland and Labrador and federal law and procedure and transfer to them the necessary information to ensure entry level competence in the profession. The Course is intensive, practical and relevant to what a new lawyer will see in practice. We attempt to have the Course be an enjoyable experience for the students and the judges, lawyers and other professionals whose contributions make the Course a success.

Family Law:

Topics include divorce proceedings, parenting (custody and access), child and spousal support, matrimonial property, provincial family legislation, pensions, court procedure, child protection, support enforcement and tax implications of family law. There is also a panel discussion on the practice of family law.

Corporate/Commercial Law:

Topics include incorporation and organizing a business, registration issues, corporate procedures, corporate finance, the Personal Property Security Act, security opinions, purchase and sale of a business/shares and commercial insolvency.

Civil Procedure:

Topics include limitations of actions, fatal accidents, survival of actions, commencing proceedings, service, defences, counterclaims, third party proceedings, summary trial, expedited trial, discovery and disclosure of evidence, setting down for trial, the Judgment Enforcement Act, civil appeals, costs and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.

Practice Skills, Practice Management and Ethics:

The Course presents lawyering-skills workshops where students receive instruction in direct examination, cross-examination, negotiating settlements, interviewing clients, examination for discovery, risk management and how to avoid professional negligence claims. As well there is a session on maintaining a balance between professional and personal lives, a presentation on the Lamer Inquiry and a presentation on using the resources of the Law Society Library. There are also presentations on the Law Society Trust Accounting requirements and professional conduct and client complaints. There is a separate section on ethics and the Code of Professional Conduct, in which students complete a written assignment.

Criminal Law and Procedure:

Topics include the court structure, presumptions and burdens, classification of offences, pre-arrest, arrest, charge, first appearances, judicial interim release, disclosure, elections and re-elections, solicitor/client matters, preliminary inquiries, pre-trial matters, Charter applications, trial by judge alone, jury trials, the sentencing process, types of sentences, criminal appeals, young offenders, evidentiary matters, voir dires, search and seizure and defences. As well, in this section, students receive instruction on advocacy skills, there is a panel discussion with judges on the topic of advocacy, and students prepare for and participate in a mock trial and sentencing exercises.

Administrative Law:

Topics include the Labour Relations Board, labour and commercial arbitration, municipal law, the Human Rights Commission, the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission, the professional discipline process, statutory appeals, judicial review of arbitration and a presentation on judicial review and other prerogative orders.

Real Estate and Wills:

Topics include the registry system and land tenure, the real estate transaction, the mortgage, professional responsibility in real estate issues, title insurance, survey/location certificates, taxation issues, crown lands, quieting of titles, possessory title, residential tenancies and title searches. There is a real estate transaction workshop and a separate section on wills, estates and probate.