Course information for 2018/19

  140 spaces on the Diploma course available (total including part time)

   Full-time and part-time study options available

   Full-time course fees: £8,140

   Cost for additional materials: N/A (included in fees)

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Open day

If you're interested in Edinburgh's course, the best way to find out more is by attending their open day.

Friday 23 February 2018,10.30am - 1pm

ECPLS and Outreach Centre, Holyrood Road


Book now via the ECPLS office: / 0131 650 2004 / 0131 651 4254

What will I study at the University of Edinburgh?

The Diploma in Professional Legal Practice is delivered by the Edinburgh Centre for Professional Legal Studies (ECPLS), which is part of the Edinburgh Law School, one of the leading law schools in the UK with a long and distinguished reputation. The ECPLS provides first-class standards of professional legal education.

Find out where our graduates go after Edinburgh

The Diploma is targeted at the practical skills required for a career in the legal profession. These include drafting, negotiation, interviewing and presentation skills, as well as professional responsibility and financial and commercial awareness. In addition, we run student-focused careers workshops.

Diploma skills workshops include group work, video and playback, as well as role-play exercises with actors. In addition, there is a Sheriff Court Exercise at the end of the Criminal Court Practice course, which gives every student the opportunity to deliver a Plea in Mitigation before a Sheriff in Edinburgh Sheriff Court; a tender exercise, where students work collaboratively to tender and pitch for legal work; and a group-based investment exercise. Wherever possible, we utilise e-learning tools, currently Learn, for planning and submission of assessed work as well as online group work and reflective log books. Teaching methods combine live lectures and practical workshop-style tutorials, as well as clinics with online podcasts and self-testing.

Students have an intensive timetable in terms of teaching hours, pre-class preparation and regular submission of assignments. There is a high volume of information to read and review. The Diploma year, or two years in respect of part-time students, serves to develop the time-management and personal organisation skills that are essential for success in the legal profession, and students are expected to meet the highest standards of professional conduct during the course. In this way it establishes a firm foundation upon which our students can build their future in the legal profession.

The Diploma teaching is delivered by a combination of in-house staff and around 100 part-time tutors, who are mainly practising solicitors, advocates and other professionals. In addition, part-time lecturers and Teaching Fellows are employed in various subjects, and teaching assistance is also given by members of the University’s School of Law. Those involved have accumulated between them many years of experience in practice.

As part of the Edinburgh Diploma, all students help to run the award winning Free Legal Advice Centre on Monday evenings. The Free Legal Advice Centre or 'FLAC' as it is affectionately known, is a very popular student pro bono service aimed at providing access to justice for members of the public. All students are allocated a client, whom they meet and advise, supervised by a qualified solicitor. This allows the students to bring together in a real-life situation the practical skills they have learnt.

Introduced last year and now forming a compulsory part of the Edinburgh Diploma, students attend and participate in a Client Awareness event and a Skills Week, both sessions providing students with invaluable training from experts in their field.

The Edinburgh Law School has one of the most extensive and best-equipped Law Libraries in the United Kingdom. Alongside its print collection there are extensive computing facilities, and generous provision of legal databases.

You will be studying in the heart of Scotland’s capital city and financial and legal centre, only a few minutes from the Sheriff Court, the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary, as well as the Scottish Parliament. As Diploma students, you will have your own designated common room, the “Well-meadow” and all teaching takes place in our new campus situated on Holyrood Road.

Although the Edinburgh Diploma course is demanding, it is also fun. The Diploma class has always enjoyed a varied and interesting social life within the wider School of Law and the University of Edinburgh, but also finding a close camaraderie with each other. Each year we see our Diploma students use their time on the Diploma to great effect to lay down the foundations of their legal networks, and through social events they also raise several hundreds of pounds to support the Free Legal Advice Centre as well as many other charities. Edinburgh has always drawn its students from the full range of LLB providers across Scotland, creating a mix of students from different backgrounds, all seeking the best possible grounding for the next stage of their legal careers.

Compulsory subjects at Edinburgh are spread between semesters one and two. All students must study the following:

  • Civil Court Practice (Semester 2)
  • Company and Commercial (Semesters 1 and 2)
  • Criminal Court Practice (Semester 1)
  • Conveyancing (Semesters 1 and 2)
  • Financial Services and Related Skills (Semesters 1 and 2)
  • Private Client (Semesters 1 and 2)
  • Professional Skills and Responsibility (Semesters 1 and 2)

Participation in the Drafting, Interviewing, Negotiation and Presentation Skills workshops and the Free Legal Advice Centre clinic is compulsory and will be continuously assessed as part of the Professional Skills and Responsibility course.

The University of Edinburgh was the first University in Scotland to offer electives as additional specialist courses within the Diploma, and the electives are now taught in Semester 2 each year in February and March. The courses are led by Solicitors, Advocates and other professionals active in their field and are designed to build on the core courses and provide specific focus on particular areas of practice. Students are required to take 3 electives.

Elective courses typically include a number of the following:

  • Advanced Private Client
  • Banking
  • Advanced Commercial Leasing
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Company and Corporate Finance
  • Construction Law
  • Criminal Advocacy
  • Employment Law
  • Environmental Law and Renewable Energy
  • Family Law
  • Human Rights
  • Intellectual Property
  • Mediation
  • Personal Injury
  • Public Administration
Timetable for the 2018/19 course

The timetable for full-time students runs for nine months over two semesters. This consists of a mixture of live lectures, practical workshop style tutorials, clinics with online podcasts and self-testing

The part-time course runs for 18 months over two years (four semesters)

Teaching takes place at the same time as for the full-time students. Part-time students will complete the same courses and number of electives, but over a two year period.

Induction week

The Edinburgh Diploma also runs a compulsory Foundation Skills Week which forms part of core teaching and coincides with the University of Edinburgh’s Welcome Week.

Further information

Full time fees: £8,140
Part time fees: Half of the full-time course fees paid each year for two years

Payment options: Lump sum and option to pay over three instalments

International students must satisfy entry requirements and ensure that they have taken advice on and are fully aware of the position regarding Tier 2 visa requirements if they intend to seek employment as a trainee solicitor.

Find out more information here.

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Virtual Diploma Fair 2018

Before applying for the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice, it's essential for you to be as informed as possible about your options. That's why we run the Virtual Diploma Fair every year.