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Legal Practice Course (LLM)

  • Duration: 1 year
  • Mode: Full time

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Why study this course

Acquire the skills, knowledge and attitude to prepare you for the start of a legal training contract.


Long tradition of experience

Our tutors have extensive experience working as solicitors in the legal industry which brings a real practical focus to their teaching.


Develop your legal skills

Conduct research at master’s level when you submit a project on a subject allied to topics covered during the LPC.


Gain relevant experience

We offer a guaranteed work placement to all students without training contracts or substantial work experience.


Complement your academic studies

We offer a range of pioneering pro-bono projects where you can work with real clients under supervision from professionals.

The Legal Practice Course (LPC) offers intensive, postgraduate-level studies to those who wish to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales under the current system. To become fully qualified after completion of the LPC, you will need to undertake a two-year training contract, which is a period of recognised work-based training.

The LPC will ensure that you acquire the skills, knowledge and attitudes to prepare you for the start of the training contract, equip you to deal with the demands that are likely to be made of you in practice and lay the foundation for your future practice as a solicitor by encouraging habits of competence, confidence and professionalism.

This course is an intensive, highly interactive, skills-based course. Assessment is by examination, coursework and live skills assessment.

In addition, the LLM Legal Practice Course will also prepare you for a research module submission and allow you to reflect on the challenges facing the legal profession in today’s world.

Note: If you are worried that you may have a “character and suitability” issue which may prevent you from qualifying as a solicitor, you can ask the SRA to assess this before you start the Course. Please visit the SRA website for further guidance. 

Where you'll study

School of Law and Politics

Our vibrant student body combined with highly qualified academic staff provides the perfect environment to explore the dynamic and fast-paced fields of law, politics and international relations.

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  • MarkerMuseum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX

Admissions criteria

Applications for this course must be made via the Central Applications Board (“CAB”) website.

Suitable for graduates with a UK Qualifying law degree (usually a 2.2 or above) or with a non-law degree (usually a 2.2 or above) and the GDL/CPE. In addition, all LPC applicants must fall within the transitional arrangements set out at  Subject to that, the following criteria will be taken into account:

  • academic record
  • the applicant’s personal statement
  • reference from the applicant’s referee
  • degree of commitment to the legal profession (shown, for example, by placements with solicitors’ firms or equivalent experience)
  • general work experience
  • reasons for wanting to study the LPC at Cardiff
  • date on which the application is received by Cardiff University
  • order of preference of institution and
  • any special personal reasons affecting ability to study elsewhere.

English Language Requirements: IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with 6.5 in writing and no less than 6.0 in all other subscores, or an acceptable equivalent.

Application deadlines

Applications open on October 1st in each application cycle. The earlier you apply the greater your chance of receiving an offer (subject to meeting entry requirements). Although applications to the CAB close on 31 July 2023, Cardiff University operates an initial deadline of 30 April 2023 due to competition for places. It is strongly recommended that your application is received by Cardiff University in advance of this date. Offers will be made on a first come, first served basis and the programme will close to applications when the course is full or on 30 April, whichever comes first. Please note that we have, in recent times, filled all places by the initial deadline. 

Applications received after 30 April may be considered for entry if places are still available. Please note that applications are only received by Cardiff University when they have been released to us by the CAB. The CAB will only release applications to us once the application form has been submitted, a reference received by the CAB (where required by the CAB), and the application fee paid. In particular, please contact your referee to ensure both their willingness and availability to provide a reference in good time.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

The Taught stage of the programme is formed by the LPC, which is divided into two stages: Stage one and stage two.

Stage one begins in September and finishes in March. Stage two begins in March and ends in June. The LLM Research Project or Reflective Portfolio submission date will be in August, following successful completion of the taught part of the course.

The course begins with a Foundation Course designed to set the stage for the rest of stage one. In the Foundation Course you will be introduced to course skills, core practice areas and to other elements of the LPC, such as Professional Conduct and Regulation. In addition to the standard elements of the LPC, we also offer a short, optional course on Advocacy in Welsh (Eiriolaeth yn y Gymraeg).

In stage one you will study three core practice areas:

  • Business Law and Practice
  • Property Law and Practice
  • Litigation

along with:

  • Professional Conduct and Regulation
  • Solicitors’ Accounts
  • Wills Administration and Estates
  • Taxation

You will also study and practise the Course Skills:

  • Practical Legal Research
  • Writing
  • Drafting
  • Interviewing and Advising
  • Advocacy

In stage two you will study three vocational electives.  We keep our range of elective courses under review and offer a range of subjects to choose from.

Following successful completion of the LPC subjects, you will complete a research module that will develop your legal research skills and knowledge. You will undertake either a Research Project, based on LPC subjects, or (subject to meeting the relevant criteria) a Reflective Portfolio, based upon pro bono or legal work experience.

The Research Project is available to all students on the LLM Legal Practice Course, but only students with significant pro bono or legal work experience will be able to pursue the Reflective Portfolio.

You will complete compulsory modules (that cover practice areas and course skills) and three optional electives.  On successful completion of the taught stage of the programme, you will submit an 8000-word Research Project or Reflective Portfolio.


The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2023/24 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2023.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

Teaching is conducted in large and small group lessons. Large groups take the form of lectures to all students and each large group lasts one hour. Most large group lessons are pre-recorded and accessed online, but some large groups are delivered live and are scheduled on the timetable.

Small group teaching will be timetabled in groups of up to 16-18 students although you may be organised into smaller groups for the purpose of some lessons.  Small group lessons are usually scheduled to take place for two hours, although some may be up to three hours duration. Attendance at small group sessions is compulsory.

A distinctive feature of the LPC is that a substantial part of the time devoted to classroom practice overall will involve students in the exercise of the Course Skills.

There will be an introductory lecture in term one which will set out what you will need to do. You will also be introduced to legal research during term one. This will further assist you in preparing for the research module. You will attend a workshop in term 2 to assist you in drafting your research proposal. Thereafter you will have two supervision opportunities to receive feedback on your work. In the third term you will continue to work on the preparation of your research project or reflective portfolio. You will be formally admitted to the LLM research module upon successful completion of your LPC examinations.

Within the curriculum, you will develop your ability to undertake independent learning and team-working skills.  Communication skills are developed in small groups, where you will be required to work collaboratively on problems and tasks. The emphasis on the course is on the application of legal knowledge to simulated factual situations, giving advice to the client and undertaking tasks according to the client’s instructions.

The LPC is a practical course and you need to analyse the facts to identify the relevant issues on which the client needs advice; identify the relevant law and procedure; apply the relevant law and procedure to the relevant facts and advise the client, clearly and fully, taking into account the rules of professional conduct and the commercial and business needs of the client. 

Outside the curriculum you will have the opportunity to develop wider employability skills through participation in the school’s Law in Action pro-bono schemes run with partner organisations, in which student volunteers assist real people in their dealings with the law.  Some examples of the schemes currently available to students include: 

  • Law in Justice: the Innocence Project (dealing with alleged miscarriages of justice);
  • Law in Healthcare: the NHS Continuing Healthcare Scheme (helping families claim back care home fees that arguably should have been covered by the NHS);
  • Law in Sport: the Rugby Union Project  (providing legal advice and legal newsletters to rugby clubs);
  • Law in Court: the Personal Support Unit (PSU) (offering practical support and assistance to people at court, in family and civil matters); and
  • Law in Mental Health: the Hafal Appropriate Adult Scheme (students are trained to support vulnerable adults being interviewed after having been arrested).

Other activities include mooting, negotiating and client interviewing competitions.

How will I be assessed?

The LPC assessments are designed to be fair, rigorous, realistic, and to provide sufficient depth and/or breadth of coverage of the skills and subjects assessed.  Individual assessments will cover a representation of the outcomes in the particular subject or skills area.  A practical emphasis will appear throughout.

There are formative assessments for each of the stage one subjects and skills. These formative assessments help you to adjust to the different requirements of the assessments on a vocational, as opposed to, academic course.

There are 14 summative assessments, assessing all of the compulsory stage one subjects and skills and the three vocational electives in stage two. All assessments are supervised, except for the assessment in Practical Legal Research, which takes the form of written coursework.

Most of the supervised assessments are open book written examinations but there are supervised oral skills assessments in Advocacy, Interviewing and Advising and Wills and Administration of Estates.

Summative assessment of the research module comprises the submission of a written piece of work of 8,000 words, in the form of either a Research Project or a Reflective Portfolio.  The Research Project is available to all students on the LLM Legal Practice Course, but only students with significant pro bono or legal work experience will be able to pursue the Reflective Portfolio.

How will I be supported?

Your learning will be supported through e-learning; all modules are supported by Learning Central, a virtual learning environment that is available on and off campus through which you will access a wide range of materials for your modules.  We provide most of the lesson materials in electronic form as well as in hard copy.  We also make available recordings of large groups via Learning Central.

You will receive dedicated pastoral support through our personal tutor scheme.  We offer an extensive programme of careers lectures and workshops within the School with a specialist Careers Advisor.  A designated Disability and Diversity Officer ensures that reasonable adjustments are made for students with disabilities.  The University has a range of services to support you, including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service and excellent libraries with specialist law librarians and resource centres.

Support for your research module will be by way of face to face tuition, materials on Learning Central and supervision.


Feedback is regarded as a priority and is intended to raise your levels of competence.  You will have formative assessments in the stage one subjects and comprehensive feedback on those formatives, to help you prepare for the summative assessments. You will be given oral and written feedback for all oral skills practices.  You will receive feedback from your tutor in the small group sessions as the course progresses and feedback from your fellow students. You will also receive feedback in relation to the research module.

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you. 

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • an understanding of the key ethical requirements contained in the SRA Principles of Regulation and Code of Conduct, understanding where these may impact and being able to apply them in context;
  • knowledge and understanding of the core practice areas of Business Law and Practice, Property Law and Practice, Litigation and the areas of Wills and Administration of Estates and Taxation;
  • knowledge and understanding of three elective subject areas;
  • a sound understanding of research methodology and/or self-reflection.

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • how to properly organise information gathering and analysis;
  • how to critically analyse and examine knowledge and how that knowledge may be used in professional practice and/or skills;
  • how to form high level arguments and to use arguments, from evidence, in support of your case;
  • how to synthesise large quantities of legal information;
  • how to reflect by learning to make use of constructive feedback;
  • the ability to research, reflect and critically analyse.

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • knowledge, understanding and skills in the course skills of Practical Legal Research, Writing, Drafting, Interviewing and Advising, and Advocacy, including the ability to transfer skills to different contexts;
  • the ability to research and apply knowledge of the law and legal practice accurately and effectively;
  • the ability to identify the client's objectives and different means of achieving those objectives;
  • an awareness of the financial, commercial and personal priorities and constraints to be taken into account when considering objectives;
  • an awareness of the costs, benefits and risks involved in transactions or courses of action;
  • an ability to perform the tasks required to advance transactions or matters;
  • the ability to evaluate and synthesize arguments and data;
  • the ability to offer an analysis of the complex problems presented by legal issues and a methodology for solving them;
  • the ability to write and or speak to a number of audiences;
  • the development of key research skills in order to ensure that research conclusions are made on a sound and useful basis.

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • an ability to write to a high standard for a broad range of audiences including legal practice and academia;
  • an ability to work independently, demonstrating organisational and time-management skills;
  • an ability to communicate ideas effectively and fluently, both orally and in writing;
  • an ability to hone logical and reasoning skills through discussion and debate;
  • sound research skills and/or reflective skills.

Tuition fees for 2023 entry

Applicants to courses in the Centre for Professional Legal Studies will be subject to a separate deposit process and information regarding this will be communicated separately by the Centre.

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £16,200 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2023/24 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the postgraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £20,450 £2,000

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs

For oral skills assessments and for advocacy practices students are required to wear suitable office clothing (such as a business suit).
There are referral fees and re-enrolment fees for students who fail assessments and who have to take referrals as external resit students.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

We provide students with commercially published LPC manuals for most subjects.  In those subjects for which there is no commercially published manual you will be supplied with sets of notes that we have prepared.  These manuals and notes comprise most reference needs, with other resources being available in the Library or online.  You are not expected to buy other texts.  The manuals (or notes) set out the basic law and procedure in the areas they cover. In addition to the books you are given, you will be given other materials prepared by the course teams.  These include timetables, lesson plans, lesson handouts and assessment material.

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.

Career prospects

After completion of the LPC, you will be able to undertake a training contract/period of recognised training, in preparation for qualification as a solicitor. The LPC may also lead to legal work in some other capacity, e.g. paralegal, with the option of obtaining a training contract at a later date.

The option to complete a Research Project or Reflective Portfolio has the potential to increase your engagement in pro bono activities within the School or further your skills of independent research thereby increasing your preparedness for practice.

In addition, there is a growing need in the public and private sectors for students who can demonstrate being different to other graduates and who can offer something more to potential employers. You will learn important skills that will set you apart in the job market: how to write and critically reason, how to write for and engage the reader, and how to understand the impact of your research.


Master's Excellence Scholarships

An award open to UK students intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

UK Government master’s funding

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2023 or later, you may be able to apply for UK Government postgraduate funding to support your study at Cardiff University.

Alumni Discount Scheme

The alumni discount is available for Cardiff University graduates who are planning to start an eligible master's programme in 2023/24.

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HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.