By Adriana González Braniff
Interested in legal studies? Committed to law and service? Thinking about pursuing a career as a British Columbia Notary Public? Simon Fraser University’s School of Criminology has the perfect graduate program for you.
The Master of Arts in Applied Legal Studies program stands out from others as it is unique as a pre-requisite for admission to the BC Society of Notaries Public. For students interested in a career as a Notary in BC, this is the path to follow.
The program is offered over four terms, and even though it is primarily intended for persons interested in a legal career practising as a Notary Public, admission to the program is not restricted to this. The subjects taught throughout the program interest students working towards careers in many different areas! Some of the offered courses include Canadian Legal System (ALS 601), Real Property I (ALS 611), Contracts (ALS 610), Legal Research (ALS 602), and Personal Planning (ALS 615), all delivered primarily online.
Because Notaries generally practice as sole practitioners or in small practices, experience or interest in running your own business creates an advantage. Practising as a Notary Public entails providing legal services and running the business of a Notary practice. Students without prior business experience are encouraged to explore one or more of the Business Management courses offered through SFU Continuing Studies, prior to, during, or after the MA ALS program.
What do Notaries focus their work on? BC Notaries are authorized to practice law in a limited number of non-contentious areas, meaning they do not appear in court and are not involved in litigation. Areas of practice include wills preparation, residential and commercial real estate transfers, powers of attorney and representation agreements, contracts and agreements, easements and rights of way, among many more.
Notaries play an important role in providing access to legal services and justice across the province, and for this reason, the program is especially interested in receiving applications from qualified applicants planning to practice outside of the Lower Mainland.
Besides exploring the SFU Criminology MA ALS page, interested students may wish to take a look at the Spring 2021 volume of the Scrivener magazine (published by the BC Notaries Association), containing a special focus on the MA ALS program with comprehensive information about its history, courses, and instructors.
Read the interview below to learn more about Margaret Hall and the MA in Applied Legal Studies program at SFU’s School of Criminology: