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The College of Law of England and Wales (CoL) is a private educational institution in Englandmarker which provides legal education for students and professionals.


The Law Society of England and Wales created the College of Law by merging its own School of Law and the tutorial firm Gibson and Weldon in 1962.

Creation of the CPE: 1975

In 1975, the College of Law submitted proposals which changed the face of legal education, recommending a 36-week Final Examination course for aspiring solicitors and a Common Professional Examination (CPE) or law conversion course for non-law graduates. It became a major provider of – and examining body for – the CPE (now known as the Graduate Diploma in Law).

New study modes: 1981

In the 1980s, the Law Society asked the College to produce a scheme for additional tuition in accounts for articled clerks (now trainee solicitors), combining distance learning with one-day’s attendance at lectures. The course became compulsory for those taking the Final Examination, which meant the College was able to develop distance learning study on other courses over the coming years.

Development of the LPC and BVC: 1993-1999

The skills-based Legal Practice Course replaced the Final Examination, giving students a more vocational education. Student numbers grew to around 4,500 a year by the mid 1990s. A few years later, the College severed its links with the Law Society and, when the Council for Legal Education lost its monopoly, was able to run the new Bar Vocational Course for aspiring barristers.

Pro bono and international links: 2000-2003

The College of Law pioneered the establishment of pro bono clinics, with students undertaking legal advice work for free under the guidance of practitioners. It also forged international links, introducing young European lawyers to the English legal system for the British Council.

Firm-specific LPCs: 2003-present

The College restructured its Legal Practice Courses to give students more choice and won a contract to develop firm-specific LPC programmes for three top magic circle firms - Allen & Overy, Clifford Chancemarker and Linklaters.

In 2006 the College became the first independent institution to be granted degree awarding powers by the Privy Council, leading to development of its Bachelor and Master of Law degree programmes. The Londonmarker Moorgatemarker centre was also opened – currently the UKmarker’s largest corporate-specific law school.


Courses offered

A large variety of courses are offered, mainly including:

The College is the largest postgraduate legal education provider in Europe with 5,300 students in 2005, and is also a major provider of Continuing Professional Development courses for solicitors and barristers.

The Open Universitymarker's courses in Law (including the LLB by distance learning) are offered "in association with" the College of Law.

As of May 2006 the College became the first private institution to receive the power to award degrees, allowing it to award the degree of LLB to those of its students who complete both the Graduate Diploma in Law and either the Legal Practice Course or the Bar Vocational Course.

The College is a "recognised body", an institution which has its own degree awarding powers under British law. It is in the top 100 of UK charities ranked by expenditure.

Notable alumni







  5. The College of Law
  6. DCSF
  7. Charities Direct

External links

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