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Legal Practice (PgDip)

  • Duration: 2 years
  • Mode: Part 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.

The Legal Practice Course (LPC) offers intensive, postgraduate-level study 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.

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

The LPC will ensure that you acquire the skills, knowledge and attitude to prepare you for the start of the training contract. It will 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.

Distinctive features

  • Our Legal Practice Course has a long tradition of excellence, having been established in 1993.
  • We offer a guaranteed work placement for all students without training contracts or substantial work experience.

Accreditations

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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  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 6106
  • 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. Subject to those, 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 2021, Cardiff University operates an initial deadline of 30 April 2021 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 2021, 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 Tier 4 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 LPC is divided into two stages: Stage one and Stage two, although the stages are combined on the part time LPC, with parts of each stage studied in each of the two years of the course. Each year the course begins in September and ends in June.

The course begins with a Foundation Course designed to set the stage for the rest of Year one. In the Foundation Course you are introduced to course skills, to the core practice area covered in Year one 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), which part time students can do in Year two.

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 and the Administration of 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.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2021/22 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2021.

Year one

In year one you will study one core practice area:

  • Business Law and Practice

along with:

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

You will also study and practise the following Course Skills:

  • Practical Legal Research
  • Drafting I
  • Interviewing and Advising

In year one you will also study one vocational elective.

Year two

In year two you will study two core practice areas:

  • Property Law and Practice
  • Litigation

along with a continued study of:

  • Professional Conduct and Regulation
  • Taxation

You will also study and practise the following Course Skills:

  • Writing
  • Advocacy

In year two you will study two vocational electives.

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 on the part-time programme takes place on Fridays. (However, the Foundation Course in the first week is two days on Monday and Tuesday. Also, course assessments may not be scheduled for Fridays.)

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. In the Foundation Course large group lessons are delivered live and are scheduled on the timetable, but after that part time students will not attend live lectures, but will instead access the recordings of the lectures online, on Learning Central, the University’s virtual learning environment.

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 of two and half or 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 you in the exercise of the Course Skills.

How will I be assessed?

The LPC assessments are designed to be fair, rigorous, realistic and 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, an academic course.

There are 14 summative assessments, assessing all of the compulsory Stage one subjects and skills and the three vocational electives. 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 the Administration of Estates. 

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 group sessions via Learning Central.

You will receive dedicated pastoral support through our personal tutor scheme. We offer an extensive programme of careers lectures and workshops with a specialist Careers Advisor. The Careers activities are usually scheduled on Thursdays, not Fridays, but recordings of the talks will be made available to part-time students on Learning Central.

A designated Disability and Diversity Officer ensures that reasonable adjustments are made for students with disabilities. The University also 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.  

Feedback

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 feedback for all oral skills practices. You will also receive feedback from your tutor in the small group sessions as the course progresses and feedback from your fellow students.

What skills will I practise and develop?

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 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.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2021/22)

Fees for entry 2021/22 are not yet available.

Students from outside the EU (2021/22)

We are currently awaiting confirmation on tuition fees for the 2021/22 academic year.

Additional costs

The course fees cover the cost of the books and materials that you need for the course, and these are provided to you. You do not need to purchase any other books for the course.

For oral skills assessments and for advocacy practices you 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 you 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.

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.

Funding

Master's Excellence Scholarship

This award worth £3000 is open to UK and EU students intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

Postgraduate Master’s Finance

If you’re starting your master’s degree in September 2020 or later, you may be able to apply for postgraduate student finance to support your study at Cardiff University.

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