GDIPL Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies

“I had heard brilliant things about the Law School from friends who had studied there. I would highly recommend the course for anyone considering a career in law or just to further your education.”

In their words

Emily Ward, Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies Graduate


Experience what an exciting place Norwich is to live and study in – a lively and attractive city with a beautiful coastline and countryside close by.

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Is dishonesty the best policy?

Fixing prices with competitors and bid rigging (where firms collude to raise the cost of procurement contracts and decide beforehand who will submit the winning bid) are both examples of cartel behaviour, but what are the motives behind committing them?

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Key facts

(REF 2014)

This intensive, one-year course is designed to enable non-law graduates to convert to a legal career path and study for the required ‘Qualifying Law Degree’ to complete the academic stage of legal training.

Following successful completion of this diploma, you will be eligible to progress to the legal professional exams: either the Legal Practice Course for solicitors or, if you wish to qualify as a barrister, the Bar Professional Training Course.


Study at UEA Law School and you will be joining a School that excels in its dedication to offer intellectually diverse, varied and stimulating postgraduate courses, supported by a wide ranging selection of subjects or modules taught by leading experts. The School is based in Earlham Hall, a building of significant historical importance, built in 1642 but recently refurbished, where a number of GDL teaching sessions takes place.

Each year we welcome between 15 and 25 postgraduate students onto the GDL from a wide variety of geographical and personal backgrounds, and it is the vibrant and dynamic community they create that completes the student experience.

We place significant emphasis on choice, building your confidence, maximising your employability and developing adaptable transferable skills.

We also believe practical and careers experience is extremely valuable and we’ve developed a programme of opportunities tailored specifically to the needs of our postgraduate students, including placement opportunities; during your course, you can apply for one of 50 internship placements. You can also attend careers panels, commercial awareness workshops, mock job interviews, our annual Law Careers Fair and many other events organised by the UEA Law School and the Careers Service

The Law School at UEA is home to an active student law society and you will be able to enhance your studies with a broad range of extra-curricular activities. You can get involved with Mooting and Negotiations Competitions, (where points of law are explored in a mock-court setting with a real judge), as well as the recently introduced Client Interviewing Competition.

You will have the chance to build your experience by getting involved in pro bono activities through the UEA Law Clinic, where students and staff offer free legal services. Our current pro bono activities include Street Law and The Humanitarian Law Project, as well as the Free Legal Advice Scheme run in partnership with Norfolk Community Law Scheme.

Course Structure

On this intensive course you will develop the legal skills necessary for the study of law. You will also gain an understanding of the methods and processes of the English Legal System.

Our Graduate Diploma is accredited for the purposes of solicitors' and barristers' academic stage requirements.

The course commences one week prior to the start of the autumn semester with an induction programme starting on 21 September 2020. Please note that you must attend the induction programme in order to enter the Diploma course.

Across your studies you will explore seven foundation subjects. Each of these will be covered in semester-long modules, taught in either autumn or spring. Your seven foundation modules are:

  • Constitutional and Administrative Law
  • Contract Law
  • Criminal Law
  • EU Law
  • Land Law
  • Law of Trusts
  • Tort Law

You will also write a 5,000-word research project on a topic of your choosing, completed under the supervision of a member of faculty. Your topic, subject to the availability of supervision, can cover any area of law, beyond those taught in the Foundation Subjects.

Past projects have been drawn from a range of subject areas, including medical law, human rights law, commercial law, international law, family law, media law, and sports law.

You will also benefit from a programme of career focused events, including our Annual Legal Careers Fair. Our careers programme is developed with law students in mind, by a member of our faculty who acts as Director of Careers and works alongside a dedicated law adviser in the University's Careers Service.

Teaching and Learning

You will be taught through a combination of lectures and seminars. For each subject you will have two lectures a week and a fortnightly two-hour seminar.

You will develop accuracy and precision in your written work and you will become well-versed in time management, graduating as someone who is highly organised and confident in self-directed study.

To make sure you get the most from your studies and help you reach your full potential, you will have an Academic Advisor who will help you through the year.

In addition, our Learning Enhancement team, based in the Student Support Services are on hand to help in various study areas, including study and writing skills, academic writing (including how to reference) and research skills.

If you have additional needs due to disabilities such as sensory impairment or learning difficulties such as dyslexia please talk to our Student Support Service about how we can help.


Two of your autumn semester modules (currently Land Law and The Law of Trusts) will assessed though a mix of coursework and exam. The others are assessed by exam only.

Throughout your course you will be given guidance on your work and constructive feedback to help you improve. You will receive written feedback for all pieces of coursework, which can be discussed with your module organiser.


After the course

Following successful completion of the Diploma as a QLD, you will be eligible to progress to either the Legal Practice Course for solicitors or, if you wish to qualify at the bar, the Bar Professional Training Course.

Career destinations

  • Solicitor
  • Barrister
  • International Qualification

Course related costs

Please see Additional Course Fees for details of additional course-related costs.

Course Modules 2020/1

Students must study the following modules for 160 credits:

Name Code Credits


This module covers Constitutional Law, Administrative Law and aspects of Human Rights - collectively these (intertwined) subjects are described as 'Public Law'. Public Law involves the study of rules, principles and practices relating to the way in which we are governed; this module explores the law that provides the framework for the UK's constitutional (and/or political) structure. We will consider the main principles of the United Kingdom's constitution, the key institutions of government and the relationship they have with each other. We will also look at the relationship between individuals and the state, notably when we cover judicial review and rights-protection under the UK's Human Rights Act. The underlying themes of the module are 'power and accountability' - both political and legal. It also is important to be aware that Public Law does not exist in a vacuum, rather both the historical and political context and recent developments and current affairs, are of particular relevance to this module.




You will consider the nature of contractual obligations, the legal principles which govern the formation, content and validity of contracts and the remedies available for breach of contractual obligations. It provides you with an understanding of the fundamental principles and key doctrines of the English law of contract.




This module will examine the relations between the UK and the European Union. The contents will depend on the outcome of the negotiations between the two parties and resulting domestic legislation which it is not possible to predict with certainty at the time of writing (October 2018).




What does it mean to say "I own this land"? This module addresses this question and offers a number of surprising answers. You will consider the myriad of ways in which ownership of land can be affected by the interests of third parties. You will learn when these interests will bind an owner, and whether there are any mechanisms to remove those interests (thus making the land more valuable!) In addition, you will learn how ownership of land may carry with it rights over neighbouring land. You will begin your studies in Land Law by addressing the legal foundations of ownership. You will consider and offer opinions as to why there is no stringent statutory definition for 'land'. You will then engage with an analysis of a key distinction in Land Law: the difference between registered and unregistered land. For each, there are a variety of mechanisms for proving ownership of the land, protecting third party interests (e.g. rites of passage, or an 'easement'), and you will consider if any of those third-party interests may be removed. You will then consider how we use land; specifically, how cohabiting couples receive acknowledgement of their interests through a 'trust of land', and how mortgages have developed a market for land. Land Law is taught through lectures, seminars, and self-guided study. In particular, you will benefit from an approach to teaching (the 'socio-legal' approach) which places the law within its broader social context.




This module introduces the English Law of Tort. It provides an understanding of the fundamental principles and key doctrines that govern liability for wrongful acts and omissions. We will look at the duties that individuals owe to one another for tortious wrongs and the remedies that are available if a tortious act has been committed. The Law of Tort examines both case law and statutory law on specific torts such as negligence, torts against the person, nuisance, defamation and product liability.




In this module you'll consider the creation of private express, resulting and constructive trusts. You'll explore the application of the trust in family and commercial contexts, and the duties and liabilities of trustees in the administration of trusts.




You'll be introduced to the core principles of English criminal law and given the opportunity to examine criminal laws in their social contexts. You'll examine the core principles through a series of illustrative case-studies. Topics will include: homicide; causation; non-fatal offences against the person; property offences; defences; inchoate liability; and complicity.




This module will enable you to conduct independent research into an area of law that interests you. It asks you to identify a topic, which you will examine through independent research under the guidance of a member of faculty, leading to the submission of a 5000 word piece of writing. The module will utilise and develop your legal skills. You should obtain a deeper knowledge of an area of law beyond the core modules, improve your legal research and writing skills, and develop your ability to think critically when approaching the law.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

  • Earlham Hall

    Following a major restoration project, UEA School of Law moved back to its former residence of Earlham Hall in the spring of 2014. Earlham Hall has been fully restored with newly refurbished offices, seminar rooms, a lecture theatre and substantial student space.

    Read it Earlham Hall

    Your University questions, answered.

    Read it #ASKUEA

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject Non Law degree (for UK Study)
  • Degree Classification Good 2.2 pass or international equivalent

Entry Requirement

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) specify eligibility requirements for the GDL.  All applicants are responsible for ensuring that they meet these eligibility requirements and are advised to consult the following websites prior to applying:

Bar Standards Board -

Solicitor's Regulation Authority - 

Applicants who have studied in the UK/Republic of Ireland should normally hold a good first degree in any subject, excluding Law.  Applicants who have studied outside of the UK should have the equivalent of a good first degree in any subject.  

The course starts one week prior to other programmes offered by the Law School; the induction programme for entry in September 2020 will commence on Monday 21 September 2020.

Please note that all students must attend the induction programme before starting the Diploma course.

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 7.0 (minimum 6.5 in reading and writing and minimum 6.0 in listening and speaking).
  • PTE (Pearson): 65 (minimum 58 in reading and writing and 50 in listening and speaking).

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO UEA also run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact

Special Entry Requirements

We welcome applications from students with non-standard degrees (i.e. a degree that is awarded without classification) or overseas degree holders of a standard equivalent to a 2:2.  Such applicants must, however, note the following;-

Applicants in this category wishing to qualify as a barrister 

Any applicant who has a degree other than a UK/Republic of Ireland undergraduate degree at 2:2 level or above and who wishes to qualify as a barrister will need to apply to the BSB for a Certificate of Academic Standing. This includes applicants with overseas undergraduate degrees and applicants with non-standard UK / Republic of Ireland Degrees.  Details of the process are available on the BSB website. Although we do not make admission to the GDL conditional upon having a Certificate of Academic Standing, it is important to note that such candidates will not be able to use the GDL as a step towards qualifying for the Bar (as opposed to becoming a solicitor) unless prior to admission to the GDL they have obtained the Certificate of Academic Standing from the BSB. It is their own responsibility to do this. Admission to the GDL does not imply either that the BSB's requirements as regards a Certificate of Academic Standing are met or that successful completion of the course will count towards qualification as a barrister if the student in question has not obtained a Certificate of Academic Standing as outlined above. 

Applicants in this category wishing to qualify as a solicitor

For applicants who wish to qualify as a solicitor, since July 2014 the Solicitor's Regulation Authority no longer requires applicants with overseas degrees to apply for Certificates of Academic Standing. 

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees for the academic year 2020/21 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £7,700 (full time)
  • International Students: £16,400 (full time)


Living Expenses

We estimate living expenses at £1,015 per month.


How to Apply

Applications for the Diploma are made through the centralised Central Applications Board.
Tel: +44(0)1483 451080.

Applicants who need to apply for a visa to study in the UK are advised that the process can take up to two months in some countries. Please make sure that applications are submitted to study in good time to obtain a visa.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances with the Admissions Office prior to applying please do contact us:

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515