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The CILEx Graduate Fast-Track Diploma – A Guide

The CILEx (Level 6) Graduate Fast-Track Diploma is a qualification for Law graduates who want to become a lawyer. It’s an alternative to the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) and the Legal Practice Course (LPC), and is known as a quicker route towards qualifying as a legal professional.

This page will give you an introduction to the CILEx Graduate Fast-Track Diploma, explaining how it works, how much it costs and how to apply for one, as well as what you can use it for. We’ve also covered other CILEx qualifications, including those at Level 3.

What is the CILEx Graduate Fast-Track Diploma?

The CILEx Graduate Fast-Track Diploma is aimed at LLB graduates and non-Law graduates with a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). Completing a CILEx Fast-Track Diploma means that you can qualify as a chartered legal executive.

These programmes are one of the more accessible routes into the legal profession, offering a cheaper and more flexible way of becoming a lawyer. For example, you aren’t required to secure a training contract or pupillage before qualification (unlike the BPTC and LPC).

Also, education providers often give evening classes so that students can remain employed during their studies. A variety of institutions offer CILEx qualifications, from universities and further education colleges to CILEx themselves, at the CILEx Law School. Online programmes are also available.

CILEx Graduate Fast-Track Diplomas are Level 6 qualifications – the same level as a Bachelors degree. For those without an LLB or GDL, CILEx offers Level 3 courses which can eventually lead to becoming a qualified legal professional.

The structure of the CILEx Graduate Fast-Track Diploma involves studying two of the following practice subjects – one of which must relate to a topic you studied during your LLB / GDL:

  • Civil litigation
  • Company and partnership law
  • Conveyancing
  • Criminal litigation
  • Employment law
  • Family law
  • Probate

In addition, you’ll need to take the CILEx Level 6 Client Care Skills unit, which covers negotiation skills, complaint management and related topics.

How is the CILEx Graduate Fast-Track Diploma assessed?

For the two practice subject modules, you’ll take a three-hour examination (either in January or June). These are the grade boundaries:

  • 50% – Pass
  • 65% – Merit
  • 75% – Distinction

The Client Care Skills unit involves internally assessed tasks (moderated externally) that are submitted in January or June. This is graded as a pass / fail.

CILEx Fast-Track Graduate Diploma
Type Taught / Professional
Subjects Law
Qualification Level 6 (NQF)
Length Nine to 12 months (125 hours)
Availability England and Wales

What is a chartered legal executive?

A chartered legal executive is a lawyer who is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx). Legal executives share some similarities with solicitors and enjoy many of the same opportunities – your career path as a legal executive could lead to you becoming a partner of a law firm, an advocate or a judge.

The big difference between legal executives and solicitors is the training and qualification process. Legal executives specialise in a narrower range of subjects during their training, while solicitors are expected to study a broader selection of legal topics to an advanced level.

There are also some areas of law in which legal executives can’t practise unless they’re supervised by a solicitor, including litigation, probate and conveyancing.

How long is the CILEx Graduate Fast-Track Diploma?

The CILEx Graduate Fast-Track Diploma involves 125 hours of study. Most students complete the course in nine to 12 months of part-time study, depending on their work commitments.

The professional nature of the qualification means that many institutions offer flexible evening classes designed to fit around your job.

In order to become a chartered legal executive after finishing the CILEx Graduate Fast-Track Diploma, you’re required to complete three years of legal work experience. Two of these years can be completed before or during the qualification (as long as they’re consecutive), but one year will need to come after you’ve qualified.

What are the entry requirements for the CILEx Graduate Fast-Track Diploma?

The main entry requirement for the CILEx Graduate Fast-Track Diploma is that you have an LLB Law degree or a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). You may need at least a 2:2 in your undergraduate degree, depending on the institution you’re applying to.

You may need to complete a short written English test before beginning the programme (regardless of whether you’re a native English speaker). You should also provide an academic or professional reference for your application.

You’ll need to be registered as a member of CILEx before beginning your studies. This costs £240.

How much does the CILEx Graduate Fast-Track Diploma cost?

The exact fees for a CILEx Graduate Fast-Track Diploma differ from provider to provider, but you should expect to pay around £3,000 in total – including course fees at your provider and as well as various CILEx fees.

This covers tuition and assessment fees, as well as the application fee to become a CILEx Fellow after finishing the course.

How can I fund the CILEx Graduate Fast-Track Diploma?

Unfortunately, postgraduate loans aren’t available for the CILEx Graduate Fast-Track Diploma. However, the fact that the qualification is usually completed on a part-time basis means that many people can carry on working while studying, making self-funding a more feasible option.

The professional nature of the CILEx Graduate Fast-Track Diploma also means that employers are more likely to contribute towards your costs – or even fund the qualification entirely! CILEx estimates that around 60% of students are funded by their employer.

Other CILEx courses

Other options are available if you want to become a legal executive but don’t have an LLB or Graduate Diploma in Law.

There are several Level 3 CILEx courses, designed for people to begin their legal education at A-level standard, progressing onwards to Level 6 if they wish.

If you choose to take this path, you’ll take the CILEx Level 3 Certificate in your first year and then the CILEx Level 3 Diploma in your second year. Level 6 CILEx qualifications will then build on the legal knowledge you’ve acquired.

Search for a CILEx Graduate Fast-Track Diploma

Ready to begin your search for a Graduate Fast-Track Diploma? Browse CILEx qualifications listed on our website.

Last updated - 08/01/20

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