De Montfort University Graduate Diploma in Law

Our Graduate Diploma in Law is part-time by distance learning. Fees for 2020 entry are £7,500 over two years, or £3,750 per year.


The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) course is also commonly known as the law conversion course or Common Professional Examination (CPE). Our GDL is offered in partnership with Leicester De Montfort Law School – a prestigious law school with a personal touch.

Leicester De Montfort Law School – part of the De Montfort University School of Business and Law – offers a GDL in partnership with CILEx Law School. The course is a two-year part-time course delivered by distance learning and comprising a mix of home study and face-to-face tuition. Each of the two years begins in October and ends in June the following year.

You will attend occasional weekend sessions at Leicester De Montfort Law School, which is housed in an impressive new £35 million building with state-of-the-art facilities including a mock law court and integrated law library.

You will be eligible to be awarded a Graduate LLB from De Montfort University if you complete both the GDL and the LPC/LLM in Legal Practice with Leicester De Montfort Law School.

At a glance

  • Flexible study within a structured framework
  • An enthusiastic and experienced teaching team
  • Regular face-to-face teaching sessions
  • Impressive new £35 million Law School building
  • Small teaching groups
  • Instalment payment option
  • Text books provided
  • Additional extensive course materials
  • Subscriptions worth £1000s to online services Westlaw and Butterworths LexisNexis Online
  • Guaranteed place on the LPC/LLM upon successful completion at first attempt
  • Graduate LLB awarded to students completing both the GDL and LPC

Who is the course for?

The GDL offers students who have not done a law degree the opportunity to reach the same standard as law graduates in certain key areas of law. The course is designed for non-law graduates, or those such as Graduate Members or Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) who have equivalent qualifications, and mature students, who wish to become solicitors or barristers.

Leicester De Montfort Law School recognises that your needs as a distance learning student differ from those of full-time students, and have brought in CILEx Law School’s expertise in distance learning to ensure that the administration and management of the courses is optimised for the distance learner.

Course information

The GDL is an academic law course. The purpose of the GDL is to enable you to meet the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s, or the Bar Standards Board’s requirement that you have studied certain areas of law before you are allowed to sit the Legal Practice Course or Bar Professional Training Course. The GDL at Leicester De Montfort Law School begins with an introductory course on the English Legal System and then covers the seven subjects mandated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and Bar Standards Board. The first study weekend focuses on the English Legal System and introduces you to the subjects that you will study during the first year. Each subsequent study weekend includes teaching on each of the first-year subjects. In addition to attending the study weekends you will submit assignments, which you will prepare at home in your own time. Some count towards your final mark, others are designed to allow your teachers to give you detailed feedback about your progress. The assignment work follows on from the teaching at weekends. The English Legal System and Legal Research elements are tested by multiple-choice online assessments. The non-assessed study assignment which you will be set for each of the other subjects throughout the year will give you the opportunity to apply your knowledge to exam-style questions and to get feedback on your work. Towards the end of the year you will be given the opportunity to undertake a mock exam in each subject. The final weekend in April focuses on revision in preparation for the exams, which are held at the university in May/June. The second year follows a similar pattern but includes four study weekends rather than five, and you will cover four main subjects and your self-study project.

First year

The first year topics, and their structure in respect of assignments and exams, are:

  • English Legal System – MCQ online assessment
  • the Law of Tort – non-assessed study assignment; mock exam; exam
  • the Law of Contract – non-assessed study assignment; mock exam; exam
  • Property Law – non-assessed study assignment; mock exam; exam
  • Legal Research – MCQ online assessment

Second year

The second year topics are:

  • Equity and the Law of Trusts – non-assessed study assignment; mock exam; exam
  • European Community Law – non-assessed study assignment; mock exam; exam
  • Criminal Law – non-assessed study assignment; mock exam; exam
  • Public Law – non-assessed study assignment; mock exam; exam
  • Self study project on another area of law – written project; no exam
* Please note that due to circumstances outside of our control and to allow greater access to the course in these unprecedented times, the course will be fully online for the first term (September – December 2020). Should these measures need to be extended beyond 2020, you will receive further communication to this effect nearer the time. 

The course is especially designed with the working professional in mind. The study weekends run from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon. The study weekends for Year One are on:

  • 16 – 18 October 2020
  • 12 – 13 December 2020
  • 9 – 10 January 2021
  • 20 – 21 February 2021
  • 17 – 18 April 2021

Teaching is conducted within the modern, airy lecture theatres and workshop rooms of the purpose-built new Law School building.

Reaching Leicester could not be easier: the classrooms are ten minutes’ walk from the mainline station (London is 75 minutes by train), and the M1 and M69 motorways are a 15-minute drive away. The study sessions are compulsory and your attendance at these is required if you are to graduate from the course.

You will be asked to do some preliminary reading on the English Legal System before enrolment. Pre-reading materials are sent out in the late summer.

  • A comprehensive range of teaching materials
  • More than £300 worth of textbooks
  • A course manual for each subject (excluding your chosen area of self study in second year)
  • Study assignment booklets setting out the topics and reading for each assignment
  • Access to online services – WestLaw and LexisNexis – worth £1000s if purchased as an individual subscriber
  • Access to the law library
  • Individual careers advice and guidance
  • The computer facilities in the Law School
  • A password-protected website providing essential course information
The GDL at Leicester De Montfort Law School is very competitively priced at a total of £7,500 for the two-year course. This includes textbooks worth £300, and online subscriptions valued at £1000s if purchased independently. These fees do not include accommodation and other living costs. The payment of the £7,500 is spread over two years. A non-refundable deposit of £150 is payable when you accept an offer of a place on the GDL. The balance of £3,600 for the first year is payable two weeks before enrolment day in year one. The second year fees of £3,750 are payable two weeks before enrolment day in the second year. There is an additional postage fee of £150 per annum for students living overseas. If you have already passed exams in any CPE subjects you may be entitled to be exempt from studying these. The fee for students eligible for exemptions comprises a course fee of £700 for each subject to be studied in place of the above fees plus a one-off administration fee. The administration fee is payable in respect of the number of subjects to be studied and the rate is £200 for one subject, £400 for two subjects or £600 for three subjects. Please see the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s website for details of the exemption scheme.

Alternatively you may opt to pay by instalments:

  • By 1 September 2020 – £1,700
  • By 16 December 2020 – £1,100
  • By 31 March 2021 – £800
  • By 14 July 2021 – £1,200
  • By 13 November 2021 – £1,200
  • By 26 January 2022 – £1,350

These payments are in addition to the non-refundable deposit payable on acceptance of the course.  Overseas students should add an additional £150 on to the first instalment in each year.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and the Bar Standards Board (BSB) have together set eligibility criteria for the GDL. You should either hold an undergraduate degree from a UK or Republic of Ireland university. For this GDL we specify that your degree should be at least a 2.2 classification. Alternatively, to be admitted onto the programme, you will either need a recognised honours degree in any subject from an overseas university, or you will have experience or qualifications which are recognised as being equivalent to a degree, for example Graduate Membership or Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives. You need to prove to us before you start the GDL that you meet the SRA’s requirements for admission to the GDL, and for any exemptions that you may request from individual subjects, by providing any documentation requested by the university’s admissions team. If you are going on to undertake the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) following the GDL, the Bar Standards Board (BSB) requires a Certificate of Academic Standing. Please refer to the BSB website for more details. Further guidance can be obtained from the SRA (, on 0370 606 2555, or or the Bar Standards Board on 020 7611 1444, You will need to have valid right to be in the UK that is not dependent upon your studies. Your enrolment with Leicester De Montfort Law School will not entitle you to apply for a student visa due to the part-time nature of these courses.
Some hotels offer DMU student rates. You might also visit for further information on accommodation in Leicester or call Leicester Tourist Information on 0116 299 8888.

Why Leicester De Montfort Law School

Leicester De Montfort Law School is part of De Montfort University’s Faculty of Business and Law. It enjoys a first-class reputation. Ongoing research in the field of law and constant liaison with the legal profession ensures that the content of courses is up to date and graduates are well equipped for a career in the legal profession.

The impressive new building in which the Law School is located has state-of-the-art facilities including a mock law court and integrated law library. De Montfort University is a pioneering and innovative institution. It is a leading new university and draws on its research expertise to feed into high quality teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It is one of Britain’s largest universities, with over 22,000 students at its centre in Leicester.

Our role in the GDL

With more than 4,000 distance learning students of our own, we have an unrivalled expertise in administering distance learning courses in law. A dedicated team of staff is employed to support students on the Graduate Diploma in Law course and Legal Practice/LLM Course.

Leicester De Montfort Law School recognises the differing needs of students who are fitting their studies around busy lives, and has brought in the distance learning expertise of CILEx Law School to ensure that the administration and management of these courses are optimised for the distance learner.

CILEx Law School is responsible for most administrative matters on the GDL. In particular, CILEx Law School is responsible for marketing; enquiries from potential applicants; initial registration; collection of fees; distribution of materials and information throughout the year; and compilation and upkeep of student records.

Leicester De Montfort Law School remains responsible for all academic matters, and in particular for admission decisions; teaching; supply of materials; marking of assignments and examinations; the granting of extensions for the late submission of assignments; and grading in examinations and the granting of awards.

Applications for the Graduate Diploma in Law beginning in October 2020 have now closed.