Graduate Diploma in Law

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Attendance mode: Full-time
Start: 14 September 2017
Duration: 1 year
Location: Central London
Campus: Regent

Important tuition fee information – please read.

Alumni discount.

Home/EU: £7,250.00
Overseas: £12,500.00

This intensive course is designed for non-law graduates of any discipline, or overseas law graduates who wish to qualify as either barristers or solicitors. The course begins with a two-week introduction to the English legal system and the legal profession. You will then study the seven foundation subjects.

If you successfully complete the course you will be eligible for entry on to the LLM in Legal Practice Course (LPC) or the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).

We have been successfully running this conversion course since 1977 and our students have taken a variety of first degrees at a wide range of universities. Our teaching team contains a rich mix of those who are professionally qualified and others who are active researchers. The course therefore provides a stimulating learning experience. This is reinforced by our small class sizes and the supportive atmosphere within the Westminster Law School.

Course content

The Graduate Diploma in Law will enable you to develop your knowledge and understanding of basic legal principles, their application to the formulation and resolution of legal problems, and an enquiring, logical and critical approach to legal analysis. It builds upon the academic and professional expertise previously acquired by graduate students and develops the relevant skills needed to demonstrate competence in legal practice.

By the end of the course, you will have a greater understanding of the areas of law studied, of the legal process and the inter-relationship between different areas of law in a national and European context. You will also be able to identify, find and use a range of sources of legal information to assist in legal research, analyse legal information and apply it to the solution of problems.


The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course. For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the full course document.

Foundation subjects


This will introduce you to modern English contract law as part of the wider law of obligations. The module examines formation of a binding contract through agreement, the scope of both positive and negative contractual obligations, factors which affect an otherwise enforceable contract, and remedies available for breach of contract. In addition, the module considers special rules applying to particular types of contract.


You will develop your understanding of criminal liability, and be able to analyse criminal law, as well as appreciating its nature, scope and purpose. The module covers the general principles of criminal law, including the definition of a crime, elements of criminal liability, defences, inchoate offences, and complicity. You will also focus on a number of specific offences, including fatal and non-fatal offences against the person, theft and criminal damage.


You will consider the historical development of equity and the concept of the trust, and the rules on creation of express trusts. The module compares public and private trusts, and trusts for non-profit making associations. It also focuses on the principles of resulting and constructive trusts, trustees' powers and duties, and issues relating to liability for breach of trust. Equitable remedies are examined and, where appropriate, compared with common law remedies. The impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 is also considered.


This subject opens with an introduction to land ownership, before considering three main areas of land acquisition – adverse possession, the formalities associated with s.2 of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989, and an outline of the conveyancing process. You will also look at the landlord and tenant relationship, lease/ licence distinctions and leasehold covenants. Other areas covered include the rules relating to notice in registered and unregistered land, overriding interests, freehold covenants, easements and profits, and co-ownership. The module concludes by studying licences and estoppel, and mortgages.


You will develop your understanding of the legislative and judicial structure and functioning of EU institutions, the fundamental characteristics of EU law, its methods and procedures, and its relationship to national law. You will then apply this knowledge to substantive areas of law, such as the economic and social law of the internal market, social policy and competition law. The module shows how EU law has been influenced by its historical, political, economic and social contexts.


This module looks at the structure and principal characteristics of the constitution of the UK, comparing it with other constitutions, and analysing how it affects the exercise of governmental power and the protection of fundamental rights. You will gain a greater understanding of the role of the organs of government and their relations with each other, and the doctrine of Parliamentary supremacy. You will also examine the impact of membership of the European Community on the UK's constitution, the extent of prerogative powers, mechanisms for the protection of fundamental rights, and the role of judicial review and its relationship with the rule of law.


You will consider the key areas in the modern law of tort such as negligence, defamation and trespass and discuss the legal rules, concepts and policies involved in relevant case law and statute. The course also examines the wider social and economic issues raised by particular areas of tort, and the operation of the tort system.


You will be required to write a 4,000 word essay, from a choice of titles covering areas such as employment law, human rights and intellectual property.


In addition to the legal skills that you learn as part of the course we aim to provide a series of extra curricula activities such as mooting and Pro Bono/clinical work. These help to put your legal knowledge into a practical context.

Course team

Derek Lavery, Course leader

Related course

Associated careers

The course is designed for those graduates who wish to qualify as a solicitor or barrister. The full-time course also enables overseas students to gain an English law qualification in one year.

Length of course

One year full-time or two years part-time (two evenings per week)


Central London (Regent)

Additional costs information

To check what your tuition fees cover and what you may need to pay for separately, see our What tuition fees cover page.

Career Development Activities

Westminster law students benefit from the following:

  • Dedicated 1-2-1 appointments with careers advisors.
  • Feedback and advice on CVs, applications and interview preparation.
  • Employer panel events and talks.
  • Law vacancy jobs bulletin.
  • Annual Law Fair Consortium.
  • Mock Assessment Centres and Interviews.


Our dedicated Career Development Centre is actively working with an ever-expanding network of over 3,000 employers to provide you with exceptional employability support and guidance. As a result we were nominated as finalists for a significant industry award – the NUE Awards Most Improved Commitment to Employability 2016.

We provide our students with work placements and international opportunities to support them in becoming highly employable, globally engaged graduates, and with one million businesses operating within 20 miles of the University of Westminster, over 84% of our students are in work or further study six months after graduation. Our graduates work in a variety of sectors and organisations, from small/medium-sized companies and start-ups to large not-for-profit organisations and corporates.

During your time at Westminster you will be able to use our comprehensive online vacancy service and meet with our experienced careers consultants, providing you with thorough training and support on CV writing, application forms, interview preparation and assessment centres.

In addition to this, you will receive careers support from academic staff and faculty work placement teams, offering targeted course-specific careers advice and assistance in securing a work placement during your time at Westminster. You can find out more about course-specific career opportunities by visiting the Prospects website.

For more details, visit the employability section on our site.

Career Development Centre

Our Career Development Centre can help and support you throughout your study and after graduation.

We can help you to:

  • find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
  • explore how to develop the skills that employers are looking for
  • plan your career development
  • identify your career options
  • market yourself effectively in CVs, application forms and at interviews
  • develop your enterprise skills

We also organise a range of presentations and networking events with employers, professional bodies, alumni and other organisations throughout the year to help you with career planning.

Find out more about the Career Development Centre.

Work Placements

Our Work Placement Teams are based in your Faculty Registry Office and can help you find a suitable placement, as well as support you in making applications, writing CVs and improving your interview technique.

More details on work placements can be found on our Work placements page.

Why study the GDL at Westminster

  • Small class sizes – small tutorial groups creates a more personal experience and provides individual support.
  • Personal tutor – Your personal tutor supports you throughout the course.
  • Competitive fees – Our GDL fees are significantly lower than other leading London providers and Westminster graduates receive a discount.
  • Applied learning – You can participate in real cases through the University’s Pro Bono Clinic and enter national negotiating, mediation and interviewing competitions.

Study in the city

If you study at the University of Westminster, everything that London has to offer is on your doorstep.

Our central London campuses are ideally located for the city's fantastic learning institutions including libraries, archives and museums, as well as opportunities for shopping, eating out, enjoying London's nightlife or just simply relaxing.


After choosing your course, one of your biggest decisions will be where to live, and we aim to make that choice as easy as possible. Whether you want to apply for our Halls of Residence or live in private housing, we can help you to find the right accommodation.

Fees, funding, bursaries and scholarships

In recent years the University of Westminster's scholarship scheme has been the largest university scholarships scheme in the UK, and our Scholarships Department won the Times Higher Education inaugural Award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students.

Personal tutoring

All students on courses of a year or more and who are registered for more than three modules will be allocated a personal tutor.

Your personal tutor will be there to support you from induction onwards, helping you to integrate into the University, academically and socially, at an early stage. They will be able to give you advice and support on academic and personal matters affecting your study, as well as developmental advice through regular individual and group tutorials.

Language support

Polylang is a University-wide programme through which you can study a language as a free choice module.

Personal advice and counselling

While most students overcome any problems with help from friends, family or a personal tutor, the University's free counselling and advice services are there if you need them.

International Westminster

With one of the UK's largest international student populations, the University of Westminster has plenty of experience in giving you the help and support you need to make the most of your time with us.

Study Abroad and Summer School programmes

Westminster's Study Abroad programme has been running for more than 15 years, and is one of the largest in the UK – each year we welcome hundreds of visiting students from universities all over the world.

If you are already studying outside the UK, the programme offers you the opportunity to study with us for one or two semesters, or for a period in the summer.

Sport and recreation

The University has extensive sport and recreation facilities, with a sports hall and gym at Harrow, a state-of-the-art gym at Regent Campus, and the University sports ground by the River Thames at Chiswick.

Students' Union

University of Westminster Students' Union (UWSU) aims to make sure you have the best university experience possible by providing a range of activities and support, from sports clubs to society groups, educational advice and social events.

John Beckley
John BeckleyJohn completed the GDL part-time at Westminster University, the BVC part-time at City University and pupillage at Garden Court. 

He is now a barrister at Garden Court Chambers, practising in housing and community care law. A focus of his work is representing clients who are alleged to have caused nuisance to their neighbours, often as a result of mental health issues or drug and alcohol addiction.

He is regularly instructed by the Official Solicitor to represent clients who lack capacity. Before being called to the bar, John worked for an HIV charity, a disability charity and Tower Hamlets Law Centre. He also sits as a Deputy District Judge.

Shana Ting Lipton
Shana studied the Graduate Diploma in Law and recently completed the Legal Practice Course at University of Westminster. She is a freelance culture and travel journalist who has recently also incorporated legal/business writing into her work, having completed the Graduate Diploma in Law in 2014 and the Legal Practice Course in June 2016.

She has written for LA Times, and in-flight airplane magazines, among many other publications, and interviewed public figures like Richard Branson. Shana says that her recent legal/business writing has been a worthy endeavour, challenging her to get outside her previous comfort zone.

Her advice to prospective students is to believe in the value of trying everything if your gut has a burning desire to explore it. Don't listen to nay-sayers. Also, in terms of freelance journalism, it's vital to have a few 'anchor' clients. These may not be your most exciting clients but they're steady and will see you through financially choppy waters.


Upcoming postgraduate information evenings

07 June 2017Postgraduate Information EveningCavendish, Harrow, Little Titchfield Street, Marylebone, Regent Street
View subject-specific information evenings

Social Sciences and Humanities

We offer an exciting breadth of activity across the Social Sciences, Law and the Arts and Humanities. We are one of the country's biggest providers of Modern and Applied Language tuition.

Find out more in our welcome from the Dean of the faculty

What our students say


"Without a doubt, it was the people that made the course for me. The lecturers are first rate and everyone on the course was very supportive of each other..." Katie Sills, Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course.

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