FAQs for students

Updated 25 November 2019

I want to qualify as a solicitor

The first is the academic stage. This is achieved by either completing a qualifying law degree or by completing the Common Professional Examination (CPE), sometimes referred to as the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).

The second is the vocational stage. This is achieved by completion of the Legal Practice Course (LPC), a period of recognised training and the Professional Skills Course (PSC).

Further details about qualifying as a solicitor can be found in our student information pack. Please be aware that from autumn 2021, qualifying as a solicitor will be changing - Please see our SQE pages for more information.

Academic stage of education and training

It is achieved by completing a qualifying law degree or the Common Professional Examination/Post Graduate Diploma in Law sometimes known as a conversion course.

Common Professional Examination (CPE)

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It is also for individuals who have work experience or academic/vocational qualifications that we consider to be equivalent to an undergraduate degree. 

It is sometimes called a conversion course or Graduate Diploma in Law. 

A list of providers may be found here.

If you think you may be eligible for a full exemption you can apply to us. 

More details and the application form can be found in our Equivalent Means guidance

The fee for this application is £55.

However, organisations are permitted to embed this within their academic award frameworks by giving it an academic title. Many organisations choose to use the title Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), but this is a discretionary decision for each organisation.

However, organisations are permitted to embed this within their academic award frameworks by giving it an academic title. Many organisations choose to use the title Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), but this is a discretionary decision for each organisation. However, organisations are permitted to embed this within their academic award frameworks by giving it an academic title. Many organisations choose to use the title Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), but this is a discretionary decision for each organisation. 

Legal Practice Course (LPC)

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If you know that you have a character and suitability issue, or are unsure as to whether you may have an issue, you can choose to submit an early disclosure before completing the Legal Practice Course. The fee for an early assessment is £100.

Further information can be found in our Student information pack

Your course provider will be able to advise if you are eligible for partial exemptions. 

If you think you may be eligible for a full exemption from either all of stage 1 or stage 2 or both, you can apply to us. 

You must be able to demonstrate how you have met the course outcomes. More details can be found in our Equivalent Means guidance

The fee for this application is £600. 

Exemptions from certain elements of the LPC are currently allowed for BVC and BPTC graduates. Further information on this can also be found here.

Vocational stage of education and training

The first is the academic stage and the second is the vocational stage.

The vocational stage is achieved by completion of the Legal Practice Course (LPC), a period of recognised training and the Professional Skills Course (PSC).

Student character and suitability

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Details can be found in our Assessment of Character and Suitability Rules.

It is important that you disclose any character and suitability issues when you apply for admission to the roll. 

You should also tell us about any issues that may arise afterwards, before we make our decision. 

Failure to do so could affect your admission as a solicitor of England and Wales.

To have your character and suitability assessed early, at any time before you apply for admission, please complete the character and suitability form

Further information can be found in our Student information pack

You should also tell us about any issues that may arise afterwards, before we make our decision.

Student reasonable adjustments

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Under the Equality Act 2010 course providers have a duty to make "reasonable adjustments" for disabled students. If you are a disabled student and need reasonable adjustments, then you will need to discuss these requirements with your course provider.

If you cannot agree on the reasonable adjustment with your course provider, you may be able to take further action to pursue your request.

Where an LPC provider shows repeated or systematic breaches of the Equality Act we may reconsider the arrangements for authorisation.

QLD (Qualifying Law Degree) and CPD (Common professional Examination) qualifications are overseen by the QAA (Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education).

Before we authorise them, we ask the provider to let us know:

  • its equal opportunities statement/policy
  • details of its approach to the promotion and monitoring of equality of opportunity for students and potential students with regard to all dimensions of diversity
  • its approach to identifying the needs of students with disabilities
  • the resources in place to support students with disabilities
  • how any statutory duties to students with disabilities will be monitored and fulfilled.