The Importance of Legal Education in the UK

Having an established legal and justice system is one of the hallmarks of a civilized society, and the people who wish to operate in the legal profession ought to be familiar with the principles, theories and practices of the law. As a profession, the law is fundamentally a territorial profession due to the sovereignty of states, therefore before anybody practices law in any jurisprudence, he/she has to be duly certified with the authority to do so by appropriate bodies. In some countries like the United States of America, this means that even among the States, legal jurisprudence still holds sway and determines the extent of an individual’s practice.

Law in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

The United Kingdom’s legal terrain is peculiar because of the different countries that form the entity. To study law in the United Kingdom, you need to understand that there are divisions which include the common law system of England, Wales and Northern Ireland on one hand, and Scotland’s use of a combination of common and civil law. Also, in England and Wales, the requirements for studying law includes modules like the European Union law, Public law, Criminal law, Property law, Trust and Equity, and Laws of Obligation which include Contract law, Tort and Restitution. The understanding of this distinction is pertinent for people who might want to obtain their education in the field through online law school courses because the requirement for Northern Ireland is dependent on whether the individual aims at being a barrister or a solicitor. 

Law can be studied as an undergraduate degree or a graduate diploma in law where students are required to pass the professional examination of the profession. There is also a period of job training that takes vocational outlook, after which the Bar Professional Training Course is to be taken. Comments left on BritainReviews and some other review sites indicate that this Bar Professional Training Course is the most expensive of the law degrees.

Law in Scotland

The legal system in Scotland was established based on Roman law and has evolved into using both the common and civil law systems. Scottish lawyers can be categorized into two: the solicitors and the advocates. The solicitors are qualified to practice law in the lower courts of Scotland, while the advocates are qualified to practice law in the Court of Session and the High Court of Judiciary. Also, the solicitors in Scotland make up the Law Society of Scotland, while the advocates make up the Faculty of Advocates body. A legal practitioner can only belong to one of the two bodies, based on qualifications obtained through successful completion of professional examinations and meeting appropriate requirements.

Law Degrees obtainable in the United Kingdom

The law degrees that are obtainable in the United Kingdom are Bachelor of Law (LLB), Graduate LLB (which serves as one of the postgraduate degrees in law), and the Master of Law (LLM). Other degrees obtainable are Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), Law Practice Course (LPC), Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) and Qualified Lawyer Transfer Scheme (QTLS).

International Students

If you reside outside the United Kingdom, the information above should help you determine important questions such as

  • Where in the United Kingdom do I want to practice?
  • What level of education do I have, and what more do I require to practice in my area of interest? If you already have an undergraduate law degree from your country, for instance, you should find out if the degree or grade level is acceptable for higher law degrees such as Masters or Postgraduate in the United Kingdom. The alternative would be to start your legal education afresh.
  • What is the total cost of the legal education package I am looking at? This can help you streamline to the most important degrees or courses to reach your legal dreams. The cost for international students can range from £12,000 to £30,000 per academic year, but this is totally dependent on the choice of institution.
  • What professions require a law degree in the United Kingdom? Apart from becoming advocates, solicitors, barristers and law academics, earning a law degree in the UK can also open doors to becoming a detective, a law journalist, a politician, company secretary and professional law counsellor, among several others.

Before you make the final decision, please note that in the United Kingdom, you need to have the right qualifications and be appropriately certified to practice. Getting a law degree is important to access the opportunities available in the sector, and in allied sectors. We wish you the very best!