GDL or CPE?
The GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law), formerly referred to as the CPE (Common Professional Exam), has been designed for non-law graduates who wish to pursue a legal career. You can progress to the Legal Practitioners Course (LPC) for qualification as a solicitor, or the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) to become a barrister.
The 12 month CPE law conversion study programme is seen as a fast track qualification which delivers a range of highly valued legal skills to candidates. The course strategies will help in your development of transferable techniques such as reasoning, analysis, evaluation, interpersonal skills and problem solving tools.
Although some students may see the lack of a law degree as having a negative impact on their progression, many within the industry believe that law firms view the GDL bar vocational course favourably due to the highly relevant and current content included in the study programme and the wide range of experience gained by the candidates.
CPE Course – Objectives & Syllabus
The GDL comprises of seven core foundation topics which include:
(1) Contract Law
(2) The Law of Tort
(3) Land Law
(5) Administrative and Constitutional Law
(6) Criminal Law, and
(7) European Union Law
In addition to these elements, there is an English Legal Method module which is studied at the commencement of the course and an additional elective topic which is assessed by the outcome of a research project. Currently the elective options include;
• Intellectual Property
• Public International Law
• Family Law
• Housing Law
• Medical Law, and
• Company Law
The examinations for the GDL assessment are set by the individual course providers who have been accredited by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). They consist of one three hour paper for each of the seven core topics studied. The English Legal Method module is assessed through a one hour multiple choice computer based exam.
If you are following a full time study programme, all of the exams should ideally be passed at the same time - although you have a maximum of three years to achieve the GDL qualification. However, you are not permitted to sit for each paper on more than three occasions. Those studying a two year part-time or distance learning programme are expected to pass four exams in the first year and three in the second. They are allowed a maximum of four years to attain their GDL qualification.
How to Get an Edge over the Competition
It is widely known that entry into the legal profession is challenging, time consuming, costly and, all too often, never achieved. Recent statistics show that of the graduates who achieve their qualification through one of the BPTC providers, only one in eight will ever progress to practice as a barrister.
In an attempt to provide their candidates with an added advantage over their rivals, many of the over 50 GDL providers are offering their students free specialist legal modules to widen their levels of expertise and enhance their CVs. These study applications include;
• Evidence and Forensics
• Intellectual Property Law
• International Law
• Law in the City, and
• Company Law
There is no method of assessment or examination for these modules. They are purely intended to demonstrate to prospective employers that the GDL graduate has fully applied themselves to the gaining of as wide a range of legal expertise as possible.
If you are seeking to follow one of the GDL law courses in London, there are a number of SRA accredited providers to choose from including; The College of Law with campuses in Bloomsbury and Moorgate (fees for a full-time course start from £9,301), The BPP Law School in Holborn and Waterloo (fees from £9,400 for full-time study) and the Kaplan Law School which is located on the South Bank (full-time course fees from £8,850).
For more details speak to one of LawTraining.co.uk’s course advisors by filling out the form at the top of this page.