University of Law

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The University of Law
Former names
The College of Law (1962-2012)
Motto Leges Juraque Cognoscamus
Motto in English
May we learn the laws and ordinances
Type Private
Established 1962 (1962)
Chancellor Dame Fiona Woolf, DBE JP
President Lord Grabiner, QC
Provost Andrea Nollent
Students approx. 16000
Undergraduates approx. 6600
Postgraduates approx. 9400
Location Birmingham, Bristol, Chester, Guildford, Leeds, London (Bloomsbury and Moorgate), and Manchester, England
Campus Urban
Affiliations Universities UK

The University of Law (ULaw) (formerly the College of Law) is the world's leading professional law school,[1][2][3]and the largest specialist provider of legal education and training in Europe.[4][5][6] Founded in 1961 as the College of Law, it is recognised to be the oldest private university in the United Kingdom. The College of Law was incorporated by royal charter in 1975, but in 2012, immediately prior to the granting of university status, the educational and training business of the college was split off and incorporated as a private limited company.[7] This became the College of Law Limited and then the University of Law Limited later in 2012, while the charitable branch (which remained incorporated by the 1975 royal charter) became the Legal Education Foundation.[8][9]

The university is one of the major providers of Continuing Professional Development courses for English and Welsh judges, barristers, solicitors, and paralegals.[10] According to the National Student Survey, in 2014, the institution was considered as the Great Britain's joint second most successful university, with a learner satisfaction level of 92%.[11][12]

The university is well-known for its notable alumni and staff, including 153 UK Members of Parliament, 14 Lord Chief Justices, 8 Lord Chancellors and many other governors of overseas nations.[13]


20th century[edit]

Coat of arms of the former College of Law

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.[14] The College was created in its legal form by Royal Charter on 5 December 1975.[15] It was registered as a charity on 24 May 1976 with the aim "to promote the advancement of legal education and the study of law in all its branches".[15]

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).

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.

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 of Legal Education lost its monopoly, was able to run the Bar Professional Training Course.

21st century[edit]

The Bristol campus

The University 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.

The University restructured its Legal Practice Courses to give students more choice and won a contract to develop law firm-specific LPC programmes for three magic circle firms – Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and Linklaters. As of 2015, the University will run the firm-specific LPC only for Linklaters; Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance announced their move to City Law School for their firm-specific LPC.

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 Laws degree programmes. The London Moorgate centre was also opened – currently the UK's largest corporate-specific law school.

In March 2010 the College announced that they would become the first legal education provider in the UK to offer direct access to the New York Bar for non-law graduates.

It was also announced in April 2012 that the College has teamed up with international law firm CMS Cameron McKenna to launch an International Legal Practice Course, the first LPC to focus on the global legal services market.[16]

In 2012, the College of Law created the College of Law Limited as a private limited company to take on its educational and training business. The parent charity changed its name to the Legal Education Foundation. On 22 November 2012, it was announced that the College was given full University status and its name was changed to "The University of Law".[17] This raised questions about the legality of transferring the degree-awarding powers granted under royal charter to the original College of Law to the newly created company, and then selling that company, now with University status, to a for-profit provider. The department of Business Innovation and Skills explained that while degree awarding powers cannot be transferred, when a whole institute changes its legal status the powers remain with it. As all of the original College of Law's education and training business was transferred to the for-profit College, and the activities remaining with the chartered body were not related to the degree-awarding powers, it was considered that this was the case here.[9]

In May 2014 it announced that it was going to sell its entire property portfolio. It also announced debts of £177m in the first accounts published since Montagu Private Equity bought the College (as it then was) in 2012 for approximately £200m[18] Critics have compared the purchase by Montagu Private Equity to the ‘leveraged buyouts ’of Premier League clubs in English football.[19] The University of Law’s ultimate parent company is L-J Holdco Limited, incorporated in Guernsey.

On 13 October 2014, the university announced a partnership with the University of Liverpool and Shanghai’s leading law school, the East China University of Political Science and Law.[20]

In June 2014 Montagu Private Equity sold the university to Global University Systems for an undisclosed sum.[21]

Academic profile[edit]

Various student surveys and legal forum show that The University of Law is between the top postgraduate law courses providers in the UK along with UCL Faculty of Laws and The Dickson Poon School of Law. This may have been attributed to the number of applicants the three law schools receive annually, consistent top ratings from the Solicitors Regulation Authority and their partnerships with law firms.

In an article published in The Daily Telegraph, the University of Law was described as "the country's best law school". It was further stated "Mix the institution's experience of delivering education, with its unrivalled contacts within the legal profession and no other law school can match their reputation and commitment to preparing future lawyers for the fast moving world of modern law".[22]


A large variety of courses are offered,[23] including:

The Open University's courses in Law (including the LL.B by distance learning) are offered in association with The University of Law.

In May 2006, The University of Law became the first private institution to receive the power to award degrees, allowing it to award the degree of LL.B to those of its students who complete both the Graduate Diploma in Law and either the Legal Practice Course or the Bar Professional Training Course.[24]

The University of Law also offers a range of undergraduate law degree LL.B programmes, which started with the two-year course in September 2012.[25]

Until the transfer of its training business to The University of Law Ltd, The College of Law was in the top 100 of UK charities ranked by expenditure.[26] The charity is now called the Legal Education Foundation.

The University of Law is a recognised body,[27] an institution which has its own degree awarding powers under British law.

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable alumni of the University of Law include:


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Morgan, John (22 November 2012). "College of Law becomes UK's first for-profit university". Times Higher Education (TES Global). Retrieved 19 January 2016. 
  5. ^ "Find 28 Scholarships and Grants to study at The University of Law". Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "England Law Schools". Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "The University of Law Limited". Companies House. Retrieved 17 December 2015. 
  8. ^ "About The Legal Education Foundation". Legal Education Foundation. Retrieved 17 December 2015. 
  9. ^ a b John Morgan (29 November 2012). "Transfer of powers: legal question hangs over University of Law". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 17 December 2015. 
  10. ^ Paton, Graeme (22 November 2012). "Britain's first profit-making university opened". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  11. ^ Jack Grove (12 August 2014). "National Student Survey 2014 results show record levels of satisfaction". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  12. ^ "Student Satisfaction Survey KIS". The University of Law. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  13. ^ "The College of Law and Dechert LLP enter an agreement". Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "History and heritage". University of Law. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  15. ^ a b "Charity Commission Profile". Charity Commission. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  16. ^ Stokes, Nicola (27 April 2012). "College of Law joins forces with CMS Cameron McKenna to launch International LPC". CMS Cameron McKenna. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  17. ^ "College of Law rebranded University of Law", Lawyer 2B, 22 November 2012
  18. ^ "Exclusive: University of Law to flog off all its property", RollOnFriday, 16 May 2014.
  19. ^ John Morgan, "For-profit won the title (and a ‘Premier League’ debt to boot)", Times Higher Education, No. 2, 150, 1–7 May 2014, p. 6.
  20. ^ "13 October 2014: The University of Law announces partnership with East China University of Political Science and Law". The University of Law. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  21. ^ Morgan, John (2 June 2015). "University of Law sold to Global University Systems". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  22. ^ "The College of Law leads the way". Telegraph. 9 September 2011. 
  23. ^ "College of Law – courses". College of Law. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  24. ^ "Bar Professional Training Course – BPTC". University of Law. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  25. ^ "Undergraduate". University of Law. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  26. ^ "Charities Direct". Charities Direct. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  27. ^ "DCSF". Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  28. ^ "Le Marquand, Ian". Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  29. ^ Graham Defries at website of Dechert LLP Retrieved 17.August 2013

External links[edit]