Talk:Bachelor of Civil Law

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DPhil and DCL[edit]

After obtaining the BCL degree, it is possible (though rare) to proceed to the degree of Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) in recognition of published work or court judgments. It is also possible separately to carry out legal research work as part of the Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) programme.

I shan't rewrite this (yet!) but I do think it is unclear.

Firstly, is it really necessary to have the BCL before taking the DCL? I have never heard that it is and I can't see any rationale for it. Indeed, I should be surprised if everyone who is a DCL was a BCL before that. I am prepared to be surprised though!

Sorry, I was too hasty. It is all explained here: The BCL does appear to be a prerequisite for the DCL, but I think this is only a technicality. A suitably qualified candidate for the degree of DCL who does not already hold the degree of BCL is admitted to both degrees at the same time without having had to earn the BCL in the usual way.

Secondly, I think it is rather a mistake to mention the possibility of progression to the DCL before mentioning the possibility of going on to take a DPhil. As I am sure the person who wrote this meant to convey, the BCL may be used as a stage towards doing a DPhil, rather as an MA (in the non-Oxbridge/Dublin sense), MSt, MSc, MPhil, etc might be a stage towards a DPhil (or PhD). The DCL would possibly then be conferred after perhaps twenty or more years of scholarship.-- 08:18, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Things may have changed a bit since my day, but back then there were two ways you could get a DCL. Firstly, if you were one of the great and the good, you got awarded one as an honorary degree (the same way other law faculties confer an LLD), and obviously there is no precondition (so far as I know, Nelson Mandela does not have a BCL). Secondly, if you did have a BCL, you could write a fairly manificent thesis at least 7 years after taking your BCL, you could apply for a DCL on that basis. I have never heard of anyone being awarded one via the second route, but I think it is on the University statute book. Apparently there is a similar quirk in Cambridge where you can upgrade your BA to a PhD (instead of an MA) if you submit a thesis of top calibre work, but no one in practice ever utilises it. Legis 15:06, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
Postscript. What was extremely common though (and probably still is), is 2 year BCL candidates, enrolling for the DPhil, and then just bulking up the BCL thesis and getting awarded a doctorate after only 1 year. I very much doubt that practice has been stamped out yet. Legis 15:08, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

B.C.L./D.C.L./D.Phil. Distinction[edit]

The B.C.L. is essentially a one-year, taught-course, fancier addition to a basic law degree with a mini-thesis which attracts common law graduates from around the world seeking some of the Oxford experience plus a little prestige for career advancement back home. Some Oxford and other English University law graduates also sign up for it for a similar enhancement of their first degree. But it is not a research degree and is just an Oxford name for what elsewhere is an LL.M.

The D.C.L. is essentially an honour bestowed mostly on Oxford scholars who have done well but lack a research doctorate. They are uniformly embarrassed if they are addressed as 'Dr. X' after gaining a D.C.L., since they realise it is more an honourary degree for work published outside a university academic programme or other achievements in their legal career than a genuinely academic doctorate.

The D.Phil. in law is a research doctorate earned just like a Ph.D. anywhere else, and it is recognised as such in the academic world. If you have struggled for the six years or so of research, meetings with your supervisor, submission of a dissertation, and an oral defence of it before examiners, then you are a genuine legal academic with a doctorate, in this case, in law -- otherwise not. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:17, 7 November 2011 (UTC)