Back to overview


What you learn

updated on 28 January 2021

The GDL is equivalent to a law degree. It focuses on the seven foundations of legal knowledge that represent the basic knowledge requirements for the LPC (with modified versions of the GDL in development to prepare students for the SQE). These are:

  • contract;
  • tort;
  • criminal;
  • equity and trusts;
  • EU;
  • property; and
  • public.
The GDL is set internally by the individual institution. For full-time students, the final examination will normally comprise a three-hour paper in each of the seven core areas. All papers will usually need to be passed on the same occasion. Although you have up to three years to complete the GDL, you will not be allowed to attempt any paper more than three times. Part-time and distance-learning GDL students must attend a recognised course which lasts two years. Exams in four foundation subjects must be passed in the first year and the remaining three areas in the second year. Part-time and distance-learning students must complete the GDL course in no more than four years. All students successfully completing the GDL will be awarded a diploma in law.