Graduate Diploma in Law - part-time by distance learning

site map | 31 March 2015

“The Student Area on the website is very useful and is the best aspect of this course!”

CILEx Law School Student Survey


Graduate Diploma in Law - part-time by distance learning

Fees £6,500

The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) course is also commonly known as the law conversion course or Common Professional Examination (CPE). Our GDL is offered in partnership with Leicester Institute of Legal Practice - a prestigious law school with a personal touch.

Key features

  • Flexible study within a structured framework
  • An enthusiastic and experienced teaching team
  • Regular face-to-face teaching sessions
  • Impressive new £35 million Law School building
  • Small teaching groups
  • Instalment payment option
  • £300 worth of text books provided
  • Additional extensive course materials
  • Subscriptions worth £1000s to on-line services Westlaw and Butterworths LexisNexis On-line
  • Guaranteed place on the LPC upon successful completion at first attempt
  • Graduate LLB awarded to students completing both the GDL and LPC 


Leicester Institute of Legal Practice - part of the De Montfort University School of Business and Law - offers a GDL in partnership with CILEx Law School. The course is a two-year part time course delivered by distance learning and comprising a mix of home study and face-to-face tuition. Each of the two years begins in October and ends in June the following year.

The GDL offers students who have not done a law degree the opportunity to reach the same standard as law graduates in certain key areas of law. The course is designed for non-law graduates, or those such as Graduate Members or Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) who have equivalent qualifications, and mature students, who wish to become solicitors or barristers.

Leicester Institute of Legal Practice recognises that your needs as a distance learning student differ from those of full-time students, and have brought in CILEx Law School's expertise in distance learning to ensure that the administration and management of the courses is optimised for the distance learner.

You will attend occasional weekend sessions at Leicester Institute of Legal Practice, which is housed in an impressive new £35m building with state-of-the-art facilities including a mock law court and integrated law library. Click here for a virtual tour.

If you successfully complete your GDL with Leicester Institute of Legal Practice you will be guaranteed a place on the Legal Practice Course (LPC). This guarantee is available if you commence the LPC straight after completing the GDL and if you pass all the GDL subjects at the first attempt. You will be eligible to be awarded a Graduate LLB from De Montfort University if you complete both the GDL and the LPC with Leicester Institute of Legal Practice.

Course Content

The GDL is an academic law course. The purpose of the GDL is to enable you to meet the Solicitors Regulation Authority's, or the Bar Standards Board's requirement that you have studied certain areas of law before you are allowed to sit the Legal Practice Course or Bar Professional Training Course.

The GDL at Leicester Institute of Legal Practice begins with an introductory course on the English Legal System and then covers the seven subjects mandated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and Bar Standards Board.

The first year topics are:

  • English Legal System
  • Criminal Law
  • the Law of Tort
  • the Law of Contract
  • Property Law

The second year topics are:

  • Equity and the Law of Trusts
  • European Community Law
  • Public Law

You will also be required during the second year to submit a self-study project on another area of law.

Course Dates

The course is especially designed with the working professional in mind. The enrolment weekend in October runs over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and the four subsequent study weekends run from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon. The study weekends for Year One are on

23 – 25 October 2015
5 – 6 December 2015
30 – 31 January 2016
27 – 28 February 2016
23 – 24 April 2016

Teaching is conducted within the modern, airy lecture theatres and workshop rooms of the purpose-built new Law School building.

Reaching Leicester could not be easier: the classrooms are ten minutes walk from the main-line station (London is 75 minutes by train), and the M1 and M69 motorways are a 15 minute drive away. The study sessions are compulsory and your attendance at these is required if you are to graduate from the course.

You will be asked to do some preliminary reading on the English Legal System before enrolment in October 2015. Pre-reading materials are sent out in the late summer.

Course Structure

The first study weekend focuses on the English Legal System and introduces you to the four subjects that you will study during the first year. Each subsequent study weekend includes teaching on each of the four first-year subjects: Criminal Law, Law of Tort, Law of Contract and Property Law.

In addition to attending the study weekends you will submit assignments, which you will prepare at home in your own time. Some count towards your final mark, others are designed to allow your teachers to give you detailed feedback about your progress. This table shows the structure of each subject in respect of assignments and exams:

Year 1

  • English Legal System - assessed assignment; no exam
  • Law of Contract - non-assessed study assignment; mock exam; exam
  • Law of Tort - non-assessed study assignment; mock exam; exam
  • Criminal Law - non-assessed study assignment;mock exam; exam
  • Property Law - non-assessed study assignment; mock exam; exam
  • One assessed assignment based on a Legal Research exercise; no exam.

Year 2

  • European Union Law - non-assessed study assignment; mock exam; exam
  • Public Law - non-assessed study assignment; mock exam; exam
  • Equity and the Law of Trusts - non-assessed study assignment; mock exam; exam
  • One assessed assignment, which draws upon issues relating to one or more of the above three subjects
  • Self study project on another area of law - written project; no exam

The assignment work follows on from the teaching at weekends. You will prepare and submit your assessed assignment on the English Legal System after the first study weekend.  The non-assessed study assignment which you will be set for each of the other subjects throughout the year will give you the opportunity to apply your knowledge to exam-style questions and to get feedback on your work. The Legal Research exercise which forms part of the course assessment is submitted in early February. Towards the end of the year you will be given the opportunity to undertake a mock exam in each subject. The final weekend in May focuses on revision in preparation for the exams, which are held at the university in June.

The second year follows a similar pattern but includes four study weekends rather than five, and you will cover three main subjects and your self-study project.

Course Materials and Facilities

  • A comprehensive range of teaching materials
  • More than £300 worth of textbooks
  • A course manual for each subject (excluding your chosen area of self study in year 2)
  • Study assignment booklets setting out the topics and reading for each assignment
  • Access to on-line services - WestLaw and Butterworths LexisNexis On Line - worth £1000s if purchased as an individual subscriber
  • Access to the law library
  • Individual careers advice and guidance
  • The computer facilities in the Law School
  • A password-protected website providing essential course information

Course Fees

The GDL at Leicester Institute of Legal Practice is very competitively priced at a total of £6,500 for the two-year course. This includes textbooks worth £300, and online subscriptions valued at £1000s if purchased independently. These fees do not include accommodation and other living costs. The payment of the £6,500 is spread over two years. A non-refundable deposit of £150 is payable when you accept an offer of a place on the GDL. The balance of £3,100 for the first year is payable two weeks before enrolment day in year 1. The second year fees of £3,250 are payable two weeks before enrolment day in year 2. There is an additional postage fee of £150 per annum for students living overseas.

Alternatively you may opt to pay by instalments:

  • By 9 October 2015 (two weeks before enrolment) - £1,600
  • By 29 January 2016 - £775
  • By 29 March 2016 - £775
  • By 18 July 2016 - £1,000
  • By 29 November 2016 - £1,000
  • By 30 January 2017 - £1,300

These payments are in addition to the non-refundable deposit payable on acceptance of the course. There is a £50 administration fee for the instalment option in each year (already included in these figures). Overseas students should add an additional £150 on to the first instalment in each year. There is no instalment option for students holding exemptions. Please note that these course fees may be subject to change.

Payment can be made by debit card, credit card or cheque.  Payment by bank transfer is available for company payments.

Entrance Requirements

The Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board have together set the criteria for eligibility to join the GDL. Leicester Institute of Legal Practice welcomes all students who are eligible to join the course.

You must either hold an undergraduate degree (in any subject) from a UK or Republic of Ireland University or you must obtain a Certificate of Academic Standing from either the Solicitors Regulation Authority or the Bar Standards Board. You are responsible for checking your own eligibility and obtaining your Certificate (if necessary). To qualify for a Certificate of Academic Standing you will either need a recognised honours degree (in any subject) from an overseas university, or you will be a Graduate Member or Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, or you will hold another professional or vocational qualification recognised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority as being equivalent to a degree. If you are relying on a Certificate of Academic Standing to satisfy entry requirements, you must in addition provide a qualification in the English language or an IELTS band 7 Certificate (see or suitable equivalent as evidence of sufficient command of written and spoken English.

Please contact the Solicitors Regulation Authority (, on 0870 606 2555, or  or the Bar Standards Board, 289-293 High Holborn, London WC1V 7HZ, tel 020 7611 1444,

Why Leicester Institute of Legal Practice?

Leicester Institute of Legal Practice is part of De Montfort University's Faculty of Business and Law. It enjoys a first class reputation. Ongoing research in the field of law and constant liaison with the legal profession ensures that the content of courses is up-to-date and graduates are well equipped for a career in the legal profession.

The impressive new building in which the Law School is located has state-of-the-art facilities including a mock law court and integrated law library. De Montfort University is a pioneering and innovative institution. It is a leading new university and draws on its research expertise to feed into high quality teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It is one of Britain's largest universities, with over 22,000 students at its centre in Leicester.

CILEx Law School's role

With more than 3,000 distance learning students of our own, we have an unrivalled expertise in administering distance learning courses in law. A dedicated team of staff is employed to support students on the Graduate Diploma in Law course and Legal Practice Course.

Leicester Institute of Legal Practice recognises the differing needs of students who are fitting their studies around busy lives, and has brought in the distance learning expertise of CILEx Law School to ensure that the administration and management of these courses are optimised for the distance learner.

CILEx Law School is responsible for most administrative matters on the GDL. In particular, CILEx Law School is responsible for marketing; enquiries from potential applicants; initial registration; collection of fees; distribution of materials and information throughout the year; distribution of assignments and assignment marks; and compilation and upkeep of student records.

Leicester Institute of Legal Practice remains responsible for all academic matters, and in particular for admission decisions; teaching; supply of materials; marking of assignments and examinations; the granting of extensions for the late submission of assignments; and grading in examinations and the granting of awards.

Exemptions from some subjects

If you have already passed exams in at least four CPE subjects you may be entitled to be exempt from studying these. Please see the Solicitors Regulation Authority's website - - for details of the exemption scheme. If you are eligible for an exemption then you will need to obtain a Certificate of Partial Exemption from the Solicitors Regulation Authority or the General Council of the Bar. The fees for students eligible for exemptions are £820.00 for one subject, £1,620.00 for 2 subjects and £2,420.00 for 3 subjects.  The instalment option is available for students studying 2 or more subjects.


Some hotels offer DMU student rates ranging from £30 - £79 per night, and a list of recommended accommodation is sent out with the pre-reading. You might also visit for further information on accommodation in Leicester or call Leicester Tourist Information on 0116 299 8888.

Application Procedure

We warmly welcome your application to join the distance-learning Graduate Diploma in Law beginning in October 2015.

The procedure is very simple, but please note that places are filled on a first come-first served basis. Since the course can become over subscribed we recommend that you lodge your application, and accept any subsequent offer, as soon as possible.

You need to do the following:

1. Complete the De Montfort University online application form. If you are not yet ready to enrol, you can submit an e-mail request for information to or telephone Rosemary Verlander-Smith, Professional Courses Manager at CILEx Law School on 01234 844305.

3. You will see on the form that you are required to get two references. As these must accompany your application form, we suggest you approach your referees now. You wil need to dowload the referee report form and ask them to complete it.

4. Upon receipt of your application form we will forward it to the Admissions Tutor at De Montfort. We will then inform you of her decision.

5. If you are offered a place you will be sent an offer setting out the terms of the offer in detail. If you wish to accept the offer, you will sign a copy of the letter and its terms and conditions and send it back to CILEx Law School, together with the non-refundable deposit of £125. The deposit will count towards your course fee.

6. Approximately two weeks before the start of the course you will be sent enrolment day details and an invoice for the first year's fees (less the deposit already paid). You will have to pay the fees before you can join the course.

7. If you have chosen the instalment option (by ticking the appropriate box in the offer letter) then approximately two weeks before joining the course you will be sent enrolment day details and also an invoice for the first instalment of the year one fees (less the deposit already paid). You will have to pay the first instalment before you can join the course.

NB: you will only be guaranteed a place if you are formally made an offer by CILEx Law School, which you accept and in respect of which you pay the £125 non-refundable deposit.

James Sherwin

GDL Graduate 2013

The tutors provided online audio lectures and lots of materials for each topic, which was brilliant and allowed me to prepare for each study weekend in advance. The face-to-face sessions were fantastic. ... read full