What you learn

updated on 07 March 2024

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The PGDL 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 PGDL in development to prepare students for the SQE). These are:

  • contract law;
  • tort law;
  • criminal law;
  • equity and trusts law;
  • European Union law;
  • Property/land law; and
  • Public law (also known as constitutional and administrative law).

The PGDL 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 PGDL, you won’t be allowed to attempt any paper more than three times.

Part-time and distance-learning PGDL students must attend a recognised course that 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 PGDL course in no more than four years. All students successfully completing the PGDL will be awarded a diploma in law.

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