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Graduate Diploma Law

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  • Entry requirements
    Admission requirements are normally a 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) and evidence of a commitment to the legal profession. Students whose first language is not English will need A-level English, or a TOEFL score of at least 600 (paper-based score) or 250 (computer-based score), or an IELTS score of 7.0, or UCLES Certificate of Proficiency in English at grade B or above.
  • Academic Title
    Graduate Diploma Law
  • Course description
     Graduate Diploma
    Accredited by the Joint Academic Stage Board as providing the academic stage of qualifying for each branch of the legal profession.

    The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) course enables students who have acquired a non-law undergraduate degree to complete the academic stage of legal professional education (CPE) in one year (full-time) or two years (part-time) in order to then begin the vocational stage of training as either a solicitor (Legal Practice Course) or barrister (Bar Vocational Course). The diversity of subject background implied in the GDL is well regarded by employers in the legal profession.

    The Oxford Brookes Law Department prides itself in providing an academically based, efficient GDL programme. Because of relatively small student numbers we are able to give individual attention to students who enjoy personal contact with their lecturers. Every effort is made to accommodate the learning needs of the individual student. Those on the Oxford Brookes GDL have the opportunity to take part in the stimulating environment of a growing university law department, with an excellent reputation for teaching quality and research. Our location places us in a world-renowned centre of learning.

    Successful completion of the Oxford Brookes GDL followed by the Legal Practice Course at Oxford Institute of Legal Practice will entitle a student to apply for the additional award of LLB (Hons)(Legal Practice).
    Course content

    The first week of the GDL is an induction course which includes a study of the English legal system. The induction course is assessed on a pass/fail basis and must be passed before you can commence the main body of the programme.

    All of the following course components are compulsory, as required by the Joint Academic Stage Board to fulfil the Foundations of Legal Knowledge:

        * Contract Law This module will examine the principles of formation, operation and termination of a contract together with a consideration of the conceptual background to contract law. The module covers the fundamental principles of contract law and provides a framework for tackling case studies and legal problem solving. It is assessed by an exam (100% of the marks) at the end of Semester 1.
        * Tort Law The module will begin with an overview of tort law, which will be considered in the context of other compensation schemes and insurance. Students will consider the interests protected by the law of tort and the forms this protection takes, regarding both legal principles applicable and remedies available. The tort of negligence will be studied in detail, followed by trespass, nuisance and defamation. The growing influence of human rights law will be featured. Resitution will be introduced. Assessment is by an exam (100% of the marks) at the end of Semester 2.
        * Property Law considers the law affecting land and other forms of property and the interests and obligations to which they give rise. It deals with land registration, mortgages, leases, easements and profits and the law of equity and trusts. The course is delivered by means of three units of study over two semesters of the academic year and is assessed by two pieces of coursework (30% of the marks) and an examination at the end of Semester 2 (70% of the marks).
        * Criminal Law examines the general principles underlying criminal liability and considers particular offences and defences. The course is delivered by means of two units of study over the semesters 1 and 2 and is assessed by a piece of coursework in Semester 1 (15% of the marks) and an examination in the middle of Semester 2 (85% of the marks).
        * Public Law provides an introduction to constitutional law, civil liberties and administrative law. The module includes a study of the theories of the constitution, the rules that govern the exercise of state power with particular reference to judicial review, and the relationship between citizens and the state. The effect of the Human Rights Act 1998 and European Union law is considered throughout. The course is delivered by means of two units of study over the second semester of the academic year and is assessed by an examination at the end of Semester 2 (100% of the marks).
        * European Union Law introduces the constitutional and administrative law of the European Union. The political development and legal nature of the European Union and its institutions are examined together with a discussion of the nature of European Union law. The relationship of European Union law with national law is also considered along with a critical examination of the administrative law of the European Union. The course is delivered by means of one unit of study during the first semester of the academic year and is assessed by an examination at the end of Semester 1 (100% of the marks).
        * Legal Research Project in Another Area of Law develops legal research skills while gaining knowledge and understanding of another area of law outside the Foundations of Legal Knowledge. The subject is chosen from a designated list set by the Law Department which may include employment law, discrimination law, family law, company law, commercial law, banking law, international trade law, evidence, alternative dispute resolution (ADR), intellectual property law and environmental law. The preparation of a 4,500-word essay with the advice of a member of staff will build on research skills acquired and practised during the first semester. Submission of the essay at the end of Semester 2 completes the course and assessment is based on the mark awarded for the essay, which equates to one unit of study.

    Teaching, learning and assessment

    Diverse teaching methods are employed throughout the GDL programme in order to give you the best opportunity to acquire legal knowledge and skills. Assessments (both coursework and exams) are spread throughout the course so that you will have an ongoing awareness of your progress. These teaching and assessment methods are described in the course handbook, and their effectiveness is monitored and analysed by students and staff in the module feedback system and the GDL annual review process.


    In the recent Research Assessment Exercise the Law Department was awarded 4 out of 5*.

    Teaching staff in the Law Department have a wide range of research interests, with particular strengths in the areas of public law, international law and human rights, employment, religion and the law, criminal justice and IT and the law. A large proportion of those teaching on the GDL have qualifications and experience as barristers or solicitors. GDL students will be invited to the events sponsored by the Law Department's Centre for Legal Research and Policy Studies. The Oxford Brookes GDL features an active and valued mooting and pro bono programme.

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