The LPC course is designed to give students the vocational knowledge they need to become a solicitor in England or Wales. In Scotland, the equivalent course is known as the Diploma in Legal Practice and covers very similar content.
The LPC is taken either after completing a law degree at university or a postgraduate diploma in law for non-law graduates. The course is split into two parts, with stage one covering the core modules and stage two the elective modules, allowing students to specialise in their chosen area. The course usually takes nine months to complete with most training institutions covering the core modules in the first half of the course.
Legal Practice Course – Taxation Module & Exam
Taxation is included in the stage one core modules and is taught in two parts. Firstly, all students are taught the core principles of taxation, usually early on in the course. To aid your understanding of taxation, you are also taught basic accountancy skills. Tax planning and taxation are covered in more detail in the relevant modules, whether that be the core business law examination, or as part of one of the elective modules.
The principles of taxation are not usually assessed separately and students are typically given a workbook to complete, as is the case at BPP law school, or are given a short series of lectures on the basics. The Business Law and Practice syllabus covers individual and corporate tax, in particular;
• inheritance tax
• income tax
• national insurance
• capital gains tax
• VAT, and
• corporation tax
As this is a core module, it is assessed by way of a three hour examination, although this can be split into two separate sessions. LPC providers are free to set their own examinations, with the only stipulation set by the Solicitors Regulation Authority being that at least 5 per cent of any core assessment must relate to Professional Conduct and Regulation.
This means that the weighting given to taxation in the examination is at the discretion of the course providers. Most of these examinations are open book as they are designed to emulate the instructions a trainee solicitor would receive in practice.
In England and Wales, there are a number of LPC providers. Some are specialist law schools, whereas others are universities (from Aberystwyth to Northumbria). As all courses are overseen by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), they will all reach a minimum standard.
When considering which institution to opt for, factors to consider include:
• cost, as this can range from six to twelve thousand pounds for the year
• what elective modules they offer
• what study options they offer
• how many of the people on their course secure a pass, and
• how many gain a training contract
A full list of all the LPC providers can be found on the SRA website. As well as the standard nine month LPC, a number of providers, including The College of Law and BPP Law, now offer a fast track seven month course in addition to the part time eighteen month course.