The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) course enables students who have acquired a non-law undergraduate degree to complete the academic stage of legal professional education (CPE) in one year (full time) or two years (part time), in order to then begin the vocational stage of training as either a solicitor (Legal Practice Course) or barrister (Bar Professional Training Course).
- Expert and highly-qualified teaching team, with over 20 years' experience of delivering the GDL
- An active student law society, and a course intake limited to 100 students, which promotes a friendly, personal and supportive learning environment
- A 99%+ pass rate, and 20% above national average rate for number of merit awards and above
- Access to the excellent Bodleian Law Library
- Strong links with law firms and barristers' chambers in both London and Oxford and members of staff provide practical advice and guidance as you begin your career
- Opportunities to boost employability skills through participation in internal and national mooting and client interviewing competitions as well as a national award winning pro bono scheme
Teaching and learning
Diverse teaching methods (predominantly two hour lectures and one-and-a-half hour workshops) are employed throughout the GDL programme in order to give you the best opportunity to acquire legal knowledge and skills.
A number of those teaching on the GDL have qualifications and experience as barristers or solicitors, and a significant number of others hold research degrees.
Assessments (both coursework and exams) are spread throughout the course so that you will have an ongoing awareness of your progress. These teaching and assessment methods are described in the course handbook, and their effectiveness is monitored and analysed by students and staff in the module feedback system and the GDL annual review process.
In recognition of the professional nature of the course, our GDL places special emphasis on helping you to gain the legal skills you need to acquire to be a successful lawyer.
- Mooting Mooting is a must on the CV of any aspiring barrister, and for many aspiring solicitors. Mooting gives you the chance to test your advocacy skills in a safe but exciting environment, and the opportunity to hear other students argue and learn from the questioning of the judges. The School of Law runs a mooting competition each year and enters its champion mooting team into the English Speaking Union/Essex Court Chambers National Mooting Competition. In 2012 the Oxford Brookes GDL Mooting Team won the national final of the English Speaking Union/Essex Court National Mooting Competition, and went on to win the Commonwealth Mooting Championship in Cape Town in April 2013.
- Client Interviewing Client interviewing is one of the key skills which every lawyer needs. GDL students, coached by members of staff, have the opportunity to take part in an annual internal Client Interviewing Competition here at Oxford Brookes.
The winners of the internal competition go on to take part in the regional and national finals of the Client Interviewing Competition of England and Wales. The winning team from the national finals has the opportunity to go forward to the International Client Consultation Competition which is hosted internationally and which includes students from around the world.
In recent years Brookes GDL students have had great success in the National Client Interviewing Competition. They achieved third place in the National Final in both 2009 and 2011, and won the National Final in 2010, going on to be overall runners-up in the International Client Consultation Competition 2010 in Hong Kong. In 2012 the Brookes student team were overall runners-up in the national final and won the trophy for best GDL team.
- Pro Bono Activity Pro Bono offers students a valuable introduction to the world of legal practice, and involvement in pro bono work helps to demonstrate to potential employers a student's commitment to the law.
Students wishing to be involved in pro bono work can do so through our established pro bono scheme, winner of the Solicitors Pro Bono group national award.
In 2010 and 2013, GDL students were shortlisted for the Attorney General's National Student Pro Bono Awards for 'Best Contribution by an Individual Student' and attended the awards ceremonies at the houses of parliament.
How this course helps you develop
Oxford Brookes has strong links with law firms and barristers' chambers in both London and Oxford and members of staff provide practical advice and guidance as you begin your career in law.
Events such as the annual Oxford Law Fair further enhance opportunities for professional networking.
Having completed the GDL most students go on to become solicitors or barristers by taking the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).
- Training contracts Many of our students come to the GDL having already obtained training contracts with solicitors’ firms, and their GDL studies are funded by these firms.
- Scholarships for barristers Oxford Brookes GDL students going to the bar are exceptionally successful in securing much sought-after funding and scholarships. Each year a significant proportion of Brookes students gain prestigious scholarships through the Inns of Court.
- Further careers options with law A small number of our students use the legal knowledge and analytical skills gained through the GDL course to pursue a business, public sector or financial career, or continue on to further academic study.
Free language courses for students - the Open Module
Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.
Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are: - studying at a Brookes partner college - studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.
There is a wide range of research interests among staff, with particular strengths in the areas of public law, international law and human rights, employment, religion and the law, criminal justice, and IT and the law. In the latest government research rating exercise, the 2014 REF, 85% of staff research output is internationally recognised.
Professor Peter Edge researches in the interaction of religion and law, and the law of small jurisdictions including International Finance Centres. Recent projects exploring these at the transnational level have included a study of foreign lawyers working in small jurisdictions, and a comparative study of the status of ministers of religion in employment law. Past PhD students have worked on projects such as a comparison of the European Convention on Human Rights and Shariah, and a comparative study of how criminal law treats religion.
Professor Lucy Vickers’ research into the religious discrimination at work has led to consultancy work for Equality and Human Rights Commission, as well invitations to speak at United Nations with the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief.
Sonia Morano-Foadi, interviewed and quoted in The Economist, secured £12,000 from the European Science Foundation to fund exploratory work into the effects of EU directives on migration and asylum.
Professor Ilona Cheyne has been invited to participate in the EU COST group on 'Fragmentation, Politicisation and Constitutionalisation of International Law', working on standards of review in international courts and tribunals.