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Graduate Diploma in Law


Course Description

This intensive course is designed for non-law graduates of any discipline, or overseas law graduates who wish to qualify as either barristers or solicitors. The course begins with a two-week introduction to the English legal system and the legal profession. You will then study the seven foundation subjects.

If you successfully complete the course you will be eligible for entry on to the LLM in Legal Practice Course (LPC) or the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).

We have been successfully running this conversion course since 1977 and our students have taken a variety of first degrees at a wide range of universities. Our teaching team contains a rich mix of those who are professionally qualified and others who are active researchers. The course therefore provides a stimulating learning experience. This is reinforced by our small class sizes and the supportive atmosphere within the Westminster Law School.

Course content

The Graduate Diploma in Law will enable you to develop your knowledge and understanding of basic legal principles, their application to the formulation and resolution of legal problems, and an enquiring, logical and critical approach to legal analysis. It builds upon the academic and professional expertise previously acquired by graduate students and develops the relevant skills needed to demonstrate competence in legal practice.

By the end of the course, you will have a greater understanding of the areas of law studied, of the legal process and the inter-relationship between different areas of law in a national and European context. You will also be able to identify, find and use a range of sources of legal information to assist in legal research, analyse legal information and apply it to the solution of problems.

Foundation Subjects

• Contract Law
This will introduce you to modern English contract law as part of the wider law of obligations. The module examines formation of a binding contract through agreement, the scope of both positive and negative contractual obligations, factors which affect an otherwise enforceable contract, and remedies available for breach of contract. In addition, the module considers special rules applying to particular types of contract.

• Criminal Law
You will develop your understanding of criminal liability, and be able to analyse criminal law, as well as appreciating its nature, scope and purpose. The module covers the general principles of criminal law, including the definition of a crime, elements of criminal liability, defences, inchoate offences, and complicity. You will also focus on a number of specific offences, including fatal and non-fatal offences against the person, theft and criminal damage.

• Equity and the Law of Trusts
You will consider the historical development of equity and the concept of the trust, and the rules on creation of express trusts. The module compares public and private trusts, and trusts for non-profit making associations. It also focuses on the principles of resulting and constructive trusts, trustees' powers and duties, and issues relating to liability for breach of trust. Equitable remedies are examined and, where appropriate, compared with common law remedies. The impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 is also considered.

• Land Law
This subject opens with an introduction to land ownership, before considering three main areas of land acquisition – adverse possession, the formalities associated with s.2 of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989, and an outline of the conveyancing process. You will also look at the landlord and tenant relationship, lease/ licence distinctions and leasehold covenants. Other areas covered include the rules relating to notice in registered and unregistered land, overriding interests, freehold covenants, easements and profits, and co-ownership. The module concludes by studying licences and estoppel, and mortgages.

• Law of the European Union
You will develop your understanding of the legislative and judicial structure and functioning of EU institutions, the fundamental characteristics of EU law, its methods and procedures, and its relationship to national law. You will then apply this knowledge to substantive areas of law, such as the economic and social law of the internal market, social policy and competition law. The module shows how EU law has been influenced by its historical, political, economic and social contexts.

• Public Law
This module looks at the structure and principal characteristics of the constitution of the UK, comparing it with other constitutions, and analysing how it affects the exercise of governmental power and the protection of fundamental rights. You will gain a greater understanding of the role of the organs of government and their relations with each other, and the doctrine of Parliamentary supremacy. You will also examine the impact of membership of the European Community on the UK's constitution, the extent of prerogative powers, mechanisms for the protection of fundamental rights, and the role of judicial review and its relationship with the rule of law.

• Tort
You will consider the key areas in the modern law of tort such as negligence, defamation and trespass and discuss the legal rules, concepts and policies involved in relevant case law and statute. The course also examines the wider social and economic issues raised by particular areas of tort, and the operation of the tort system.

• Project in additional area of law
You will be required to write a 4,000 word essay, from a choice of titles covering areas such as employment law, human rights and intellectual property.

• Legal Skills
In addition to the legal skills that you learn as part of the course we aim to provide a series of extra curricula activities such as mooting and Pro Bono/clinical work. These help to put your legal knowledge into a practical context.

Associated careers

The course is designed for those graduates who wish to qualify as a solicitor or barrister. The full-time course also enables overseas students to gain an English law qualification in one year.

Employability

At Westminster, we have always believed that your University experience should be designed to enhance your professional life. Today’s organisations need graduates with both good degrees and employability skills, and we are committed to enhancing your graduate employability by ensuring that career development skills are embedded in all courses.

Opportunities for part-time work, placements and work-related learning activities are widely available, and can provide you with extra cash and help you to demonstrate that you have the skills employers are looking for. In London there is a plentiful supply of part-time work – most students at the University of Westminster work part time (or full time during vacations) to help support their studies.

We continue to widen and strengthen our links with employers, involving them in curriculum design and encouraging their participation in other aspects of career education and guidance. Staff take into account the latest data on labour market trends and employers’ requirements to continually improve the service delivered to students.

Visit the Graduate Diploma in Law page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

Entry Requirements

This course is open to non-Law graduates who wish to convert their existing degree to a law degree by completing the academic stage of legal training in one year. The Full time Graduate Diploma in Law Course, also known as the CPE is open to graduates who have a non-law degree or those who have an equivalent qualification as well as mature entrants who are deemed eligible by the SRA. The entry requirement is a degree with a minimum of a 2.2 or overseas equivalent grade.

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