The Common Professional Examination (CPE) or Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is currently classed as a conversion course between graduation and further law training. In its most basic form, it provides a degree for non-law graduates who wish to work in law. GDL is fast replacing CPE at most universities, but CPE is still run in places.
The GDL course is intense and will involve fitting a three year degree course into one. It can also be taken over two years on a part time basis, but both the full and part time options are equally challenging.
The course may also be taken as a GDL distance learning option on a part time basis. However, you will still have to attend a number of sessions at the providing university and this method of learning does take great self-discipline. To be considered for a place on the GDL law course, you must already hold an undergraduate degree.
GDL law focuses primarily on seven foundation topics regarding legal knowledge that will be required for the follow on law course (LPC for solicitors and BPTC for barristers). It introduces non law students to a variety of legal theories that will include principles, legislation and other relevant areas. It will also provide the you with many of the practical skills that you will require throughout the LPC course.
Areas of law that are covered under the syllabus include:
• Contract Law
• Tort Law
• Criminal Law
• Equity and Trusts
• Public Law
• Land Law, and
• European Union Law
The GDL is available at reputable universities across the UK, including GDL London, Birmingham, Keele and Swansea, and is becoming more popular in modern universities.
Contact Law Module – Syllabus Details
This module of study will introduce you to current laws on obligations within the private sphere. Topics covered include:
• what is required for contracts to come into existence and be enforced
• the content of contracts
• terms and defence mechanisms that may be built into contracts, and
• factors that may question the validity of contracts and what can happen when things go wrong
The principles of contract laws will be covered in regards to socio-ethical issues and the commercial world where these ideas are used. The module goes on to uncover in depth commercial awareness along with the knowledge of the black letter law.
The examination for the Contract Law module lasts for one hour and you will be assessed on this together with one piece of coursework, which will be marked as part of your overall achievement. The examination will cover a wide range of topics. Many of the questions asked will be based on a scenario presented with the exam paper itself.
It is recommended that you take a number of past and practice papers through the course of your study so you know what to expect on the day itself. The syllabus should also be studied thoroughly as the exam will aim to cover all areas.
Topics covered during your assessment will be:
• offer and acceptance
• intention to create legal relations
• promissory estoppel
• exemption clauses
• contracts against public policy
• discharge, and