A new era in legal education?…

I repeat here, a post on the new Consilio Editorial Blog.

The Times reports: “BPP, the professional qualifications college, has become Britain’s first profit-making body to gain the right to award degrees. It will charge undergraduates course fees of up to £10,000 per year — significantly more than the fees paid by students at all universities in the UK, which are capped at £3,000.”

The article stated… “Carl Lygo, BPP’s principal, described the untapped revenue as “staggeringly huge”

Clearly, BPP now have an opportunity to expand their operations into the academic stage of education.

If BPP designs and run traditional LLB degree courses they will be competing with leading UK universities and, inevitably, will come under the scrutiny of the university league tables in terms of reputation, value of the degree, law school ranking et al. They will also have to compete on terms where these traditional universities only charge £3000 per annum as opposed to the £10,000 figures being bandied about in the Press.

If, however, BPP decides to market their GDL and LPC / BVC as degrees – and they seem to be planning to market the GDL as an LLB (provided students take aditional subjects) and market their LPC and BVC as Masters degrees (again students will be required to take additonal subjects) – will these degrees have any currency as Masters degrees compared with, say, a BCL from Oxford or a postgraduate LLM degree from a major university? See: The Legal Week story. Time will tell.

The College of Law has degree awarding powers.

Legal Week reports: The College of Law has awarded its first-ever batch of degrees, with nearly 600 students handed the honour….. The college handed degrees to 599 students who passed both the Graduate Diploma in Law and either a Bar Vocational Course or Legal Practice Course with 86 of those achieving first-class honours.”

It is, in fact, quite difficult to get a First Class degree at any university, whether old or new on a traditional law degree. With the combining of a GDL, which is a demanding and academic course, with the practical assessment of skills and, to a lesser extent, knowledge on the BVC and LPC it is not really possible to compare a First Class on a tradiutional degree witha First Class on a combined GDL/BVC/LPC.

It will be interesting to see how the academic establishment react to the fact that BPP and The College of Law now have degree awarding powers and degree status for their courses.

Charon QC, resident blawger on Consilio, has done podcast interviews with some of the CEOs of the leading LPC/BVC providers:

1. Peter Crisp, CEO, BPP Law School

2. Nigel Savage, CEO, The College of Law

3. Phil Knott, Managing Director, Nottingham Law School

Have a listen to the pioneers of the new era.

Interested in your views on this.  What do you think?

4 thoughts on “A new era in legal education?…

  1. The question is what these degrees are for – and as far as I can tell it is to let people who don’t understand English legal education that the holder does indeed understand the law. Mainly useful if you wish to stop being a lawyer, or work in America.

  2. What is staggeringly huge is Lygo’s remuneration – a self styled “Professor of Laws” with little practical experience. BPP’s accounts make interesting reading – shareholders should read do so and weep ….

  3. Interesting addition to all courses. ICSL in fact offer a similar Masters conversion course on the BVC. I suspect that all of these bolt-on degrees are likely to hold little esteem in the academic community as the focus tends towards the vocational/practical side of things.

    In many European jurisdictions an LLM is the required standard of education for many practitioners (certainly true in the Baltic States at least!), and perhaps this will allow for a greater degree of transferrability.

    Some top questions sir, thoroughly enjoyed the interviews. The BVC is a financial minefield, and tenancy is close to impossible- but frankly, this is probably why we all enjoy it so much….especially if it comes together in the end.

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