What is the GDL?
Formerly referred to as the CPE (Common Professional Examination) the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is a highly intensive course which has been designed to allow for the progression from graduate level to the foundations of a career in the legal profession.
Regarded as the Gold Standard in qualifications by the leading law firms, the GDL course is also seen as the ideal preparation for further training to become a solicitor or a barrister.
The GDL law qualification course has a deserved reputation for being extremely challenging. The Central Application Board (CAB) advises students that they must be prepared to study for a minimum of 45 hours per week. Many past graduates caution new candidates to treat the GDL as a "marathon rather than a sprint". Stamina, organisation, focus and determination are all needed in equal measures to see the student through the one year, full time study programme.
The GDL Course Structure
Most administering institutions who offer the GDL course have their own specific application of delivery. The College of Law has two campuses in London; Bloomsbury and Moorgate, and have two exclusive training modules particular to their programme.
The online, pre-course study module is a compulsory element to familiarise you with the basic principles and intentions of the GDL qualification and has a duration of 50 hours study. The following PFP (Preparing for Practice) module is exclusive to the College of Law and includes;
• Commercial Awareness
• Foundation in Company Law
• Practice Related Applications (Pro Bono Work and Mooting)
• Independent Research, and
• How to Learn to Think like a Lawyer
The content of the GDL London study course is overseen by the Joint Academic Stage Board (JSAB) who has determined that the syllabus should contain the following foundation topics:
• Contract Law
• Criminal Law
• Equity and Trusts
• EU Law
• Land Law
• Public Law, and
• The Law of Tort
Law of Tort Module
The foundation module on the Law of Tort is primarily concerned with the circumstances in which one person can seek compensation for a civil wrong committed by another. The aim of the module is to give you an understanding of liabilities in relation to defamation, nuisance, personal injury or defamation and how appropriate compensation is assessed.
The final GDL results are based on a multiple choice exam on legal methods;
• a three hour exam on each of the foundation topics and two pieces of individual research
• one on a chosen topic from the foundation content, and
• a dissertation on a legal subject of the student's choice
What Study Options are Available for the GDL Qualification?
There are a number of excellent universities, business schools and educational providers within the UK who offer the GDL study programme. If you would prefer a full or part-time classroom based option, The Oxford Brookes University is well regarded for the quality of its academic focus and is renowned for the high calibre candidates which it attracts.
Brookes prides itself on accepting only 100 students for its GDL courses, ensuring that all candidates receive the optimum amount of attention from their tutors while still enjoying a friendly and inclusive learning environment. Students who successfully complete the GDL course will be automatically entitled to entry to the LPC (Legal Practice Course) at the university.
The fees for the GDL study programme at Brookes University start from £7,000 for the full-time 12 month option and £3,570 for the two year part-time model.
If you who prefer the option of GDL distance learning may do so through the flexible, two year application offered by Nottingham Trent University. You will be expected to study for a minimum of 15 hours per week and will be compulsorily required to attend four residential weekend study schools annually.
If you choose this mode of study, then you will have the benefits of being able to fulfil your work and family commitments while still preparing for their future career in Law. You will have access to excellent study materials, tutorials on the weekend study schools, continual coursework assessment and end of year exams to evaluate progress and identify any areas of weakness. On successful completion of the GDL, you will also be guaranteed a place on the university's LPC and BPTC (Bar Professional Training Course).
Costs for the GDL distance learning programme start from £3,375 per year.