NEW PROGRAMME DEVELOPMENT/ BUSINESS CASE GUIDE

July 2017 Version 1.0

INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY

This document is intended to guide schools and centres through the Business Case stage1 of new programme development. Sections 1-5 need to be completed and a copy then sent to Faculties Support Office and Enrolment Management Services (EMS) via marketinsight@kent.ac.uk.

Principles

  • Develop curricula which reflect our research expertise, are inclusive, and are responsive and attractive to the core student population which Kent wishes to attract to fulfil the University’s strategic plan (including any new and alternative markets)
  • Reduce investment in developing programmes that do not deliver plan targets and are not financially sustainable
  • Prevent cannibalisation of core markets and reduce internal competition for the same students
  • Improve transparency of the progress of programme approval
  • Encourage a more facilitated approach to programme approval
  • More effective and timely launch of new programmes
  • Ensure the introduction of all new programmes meets current legislation and university requirements

Exclusions to New Programme Development Business Case Guide

  1. Kent validated programmes delivered at other institutions and those taught at partner colleges
  2. Postgraduate research programmes remain subject to Annex B of the Code of Practice for Research

While approval for programmes should occur throughout the year it is important to ensure information is available for applicants within a suitable timeframe and to enable marketing activity to raise visibility of the new offer (please refer to the example recommended timeline in Appendix I).

All new programmes must be market researched before development of the business case, and this may also be appropriate in case where existing programmes are being overhauled. Existing demand for programmes/subjects will be evidenced from data held within the Planning and Business Information Office (PBIO) and EMS will test the premise for the programme and if a sustainable appropriate market is available. Market insight research can also help in the design of the programme and modifications can be further tested to ensure the programme is attractive to the target audience.

Market Insight Report

EMS will provide a full detailed Market Insight Report with a summary based on market intelligence informed by current application, enrolments and conversion trends in the sector as well as the identified demand. The report will, for existing subject areas, provide data about Kent’s market share and our market position. It will identify external competitors as well as information about their offer to determine how similar or different the proposed programme might be. The potential market will be explored by looking, as appropriate/relevant, at school leavers (A level, BTEC, IB) or, for postgraduate programmes, new graduates from likely feeder programmes and career changers.2

Qualitative research methods about the proposed programmes content, title and unique selling points, will include surveys, focus groups and interviews. Information will be sought from current and potential students and where relevant, decliners and recent graduates.

The promotional stance and offer behaviour of competitors will be explored. Full data for competitor programmes, including programme titles, location, duration, study mode, drop-out rates, percentage of first and upper-second class degrees, employment statistics, advertised offer and where accessible, numbers of applications, offers and enrolments will be provided for comparison.

Other relevant data which may be used includes:

  • Web/Google activity data
  • Socio-economic data
  • Potential employment markets and government and sector data
  • Other data specific to the market research brief

Programme Development Business Case

The first stage in developing a new programme is to undertake market insight research. This stage is coordinated by the relevant Faculty Marketing Officer (FMO) in EMS3 who will seek information and contributions from colleagues in PBIO and International Recruitment (IR). Academic staff should also discuss programme development with Unit for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (UELT) and the Careers and Employability Service as necessary. Schools need to identify a School Programme Lead (SPL) who will take lead responsibility for the development of the programme.

Early discussions with the FMO are recommended in order to identify the likely market, to formulate the most appropriate questions and approach required, and (possibly) to purchase relevant data. At this stage IR will also need to be consulted. Upon completion of the research a comprehensive Market Insight Report will be provided and PBIO can then produce student number projections from which Finance can complete income and expenditure figures. This will form the basis of the Business Plan. This Plan will be considered by the new Business Case Committee (BCC) established to approve the Case so that programme development can proceed to the QA and curriculum development stage.

A guide to the full programme approval process is give overleaf

Glossary:

BCC: Business Case Committee

EMS: Enrolment Management Services

FPA: Financial Planning Accountant

FMO: Faculty Marketing Officer

FSO: Faculty Support Office

PBIO: Planning and Business Information Office

IP: International Partnerships

IR: International Recruitment

QAO: Quality Assurance Office

UELT: Unit for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching

 

Full Approval

Advertised

Full KentVision data structures created

Amendments / further work

Outline KentVision data structures created

Amendments / further work

Development stopped

FSO /School / QAO / UELT Assurance

UELT/QAO

Academic

Review

QAO documentation and curriculum development

Approved

Facilitated production of business case

Programme Approval Process

EMS

Initial concept

FPA

PBIO

IR & IP

Careers

  1. General Details (to be completed)

 

1.1 Proposal submitted by (School Programme Lead – name)

Dr Edward Kirton-Darling, Kent Law School

1.2 Suggested Programme Title

MLaw in Advanced Legal Practice – Integrated Masters

MLaw in Advanced Legal Practice – standalone Masters

1.3 Programme Overview

Lead School

Kent Law School

Partner School/HEI/Other

(where applicable)

N/a

Level

x UG x PGT PGR

(both UG and PGT but to be run, governed and assured as an UG course)

Award (for example, MSc, PGDip, PGCert)*

MLaw (Master of Laws)

Location (campus/distance learning)

Canterbury, but with possible delivery at other sites: Medway/Tonbridge (not a separate intake)

Proposed intake numbers

Home/EU

135

OS

15

Mode of attendance

Full-time and Part-time

Proposed date of first intake

2021 for KLS students opting for a 4 year MLaw at the outset of their studies (the first year without a QLD) – with the integrated Masters level year to be first delivered as a fourth year in 2024/25. (Note that KLS students can also opt into it during their studies, and KLS and non-KLS graduates can choose the course as a standalone Masters).

It will be delivered as a pilot in 2023/24 for students with a QLD who nonetheless wish to follow the SQE route.

*For information about exit awards refer to Annex 5 of the Credit Framework

1.4 Is the programme intended to be delivered as a collaborative provision with another institution or organisation?

Yes* x No

*If yes, please complete Section 4

    1. Is the programme intended to replace an existing programme(s)?

 

Yes* x No

If yes, please list the existing programme(s)

Click here to enter text.

    1. Will professional accreditation be sought?

X Yes No

If yes, please give details.

Application to be an Authorised Education and Training Organisation for the Bar Standards Board (BSB) to be made, so that an MLaw in Advanced Legal Practice will be a recognised route to qualification for the Bar.

  1. Outline Programme Content

 

2.1 Summary of how the programme fits with the University and School Plan

The proposal is key to the KLS School Plan, which includes the objectives of protecting and enhancing recruitment and preserving and developing the reputation of KLS as a critical research-intensive law school focused on widening participation and student success. It is also closely aligned with the University Plan, including the importance of equipping graduates for personal and professional success (including an emphasis on employability skills and Graduate Attributes), widening participation, and research-led teaching.

The context is that after September 2021, as a result of proposals under development by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the externally validated Qualifying Law Degree will cease to exist. To become a solicitor thereafter, candidates will be required to have a degree (not necessarily in law), to pass two sets of centralised assessments (the Solicitors Qualifying Examinations or SQE), and to undertake qualifying work experience. SQE part 1 will test legal knowledge, and SQE part 2 (intended to be taken after a period of work experience) will test legal skills. Some of the legal knowledge tested as part of SQE 1 will be the subjects known as the ‘foundations of legal knowledge’. These subjects are presently required for a Qualifying Law Degree and are a part of all of our undergraduate degrees. In relation to the Bar, the last cohort of Bar Standards Board-validated undergraduate students started in September 2018, but the BSB will continue to require students to undertake undergraduate study in law before undertaking a vocational stage of training and a pupillage. As part of their academic requirements, the Bar will also continue to require the ‘foundations of legal knowledge’.

There is a clear risk to undergraduate recruitment, as we will no longer be able to offer students an accredited undergraduate stage in their route to professional practice. In response, KLS propose to introduce the MLaw in Advanced Legal Practice; a course which will include the foundations of legal knowledge, preparation for SQE1, and the Bar centralised assessments.

It is a unique offer in four key ways. (1) Open to KLS and non-KLS graduates as a standalone Masters qualification, it will also be available to KLS students as an integrated Masters, allowing them to choose to include the course as an additional year in their programme of studies (at the beginning of their studies), or to opt into it during their studies. The integrated model is also convenient for the visa and finance requirements of international students. (2) It will promote widening participation, as the integrated Masters model will allow KLS students (including students on a Certificate route) who want to go into legal practice to cover the vocational stage with funding from their undergraduate student loan. (3) The course will keep student options open, allowing them to choose between the two professions at the end of their studies. (4) Developing the KLS reputation for academic excellence, maintaining the distinctive KLS critical law degree and adding a complementary integrated year, it will blend vocational training and skills development with research-led teaching on the practice of law. This will include the histories and contexts of professional practice, and – with an emphasis on reflective engagement with the future of legal practice – it will better prepare students for the rapidly changing nature of legal practice than the current vocational-only model of legal education on offer elsewhere.

.

2.2 Existing Programmes

Will the programme use existing modules? If so, please list their module codes and titles and indicate any implications for existing programmes that use these modules.

The Integrated variant of the programme will ‘make use’ of the following existing modules (which comprise the ‘foundations of legal knowledge’):

LW315/LW325 Introduction to Obligations

LW316/LW324/LW5316 Foundations of Property

LW327 English Legal Systems and Skills

LW508/LW613 Criminal Law OR LW601 Advanced Level Criminal Law

LW588/LW614 Public Law 1 (30 Credits)

LW592 Public Law 2 (15 Credits)

LW593 European Union Law (15 Credits)

LW598 Equity and Trusts (15 Credits)

LW599 Land Law (15 Credits)

LW650 The Law of Contract (15 Credits)

LW651 The Law of Tort (15 Credits)

These modules are required on all of KLS’s existing three- and four-year programmes for the Qualifying Law Degree, and will be ‘used’ where a student opts-in to the Integrated MLaw at the beginning of their studies (in lieu of one of the School’s existing three- or four-year programmes), or opts-in during the course of undertaking one of the School’s existing programmes. As part of the Integrated programme, students will also have access to the broad range of optional law modules available to KLS’s existing programmes.

The standalone qualification proposed here will not make use of existing modules.

Students will be able to continue to take the School’s existing undergraduate degree programmes. The rationale for offering the MLaw as a four year alternative or as an additional integrated year to the LLB is to maintain the traditional academic programme. This is important for reputational reasons as it is important to ensure KLS is not seen as moving to a more vocational degree. It is also important for the large number of students who undertake a law degree but do not wish to go onto legal practice (but we want to ensure they have the choice to opt into the programme during their studies if they do decide to go into practice). In addition, the academic content, aims and outcomes of the School’s existing undergraduate degrees remain current and valid in their own right.

2.3 Other areas of the University offering programmes in this area?

This can be checked through the online course finder (UG or PG as appropriate)

None

2.4 Has development of this programme been discussed with these cognate areas?

N/a

2.5 Summary of Programme Delivery and Content

Please include a summary of the programme content along with the likely proportion of learning hours in scheduled learning and teaching sessions, range of teaching types employed. Please mention any special features such as joint provision with another school, unusual patterns of attendance and the learning and teaching tools that will be implemented.

The new Masters-level part of the integrated MLaw will be 180 credits at Level 7. The standalone qualification will be the same. There will be seven compulsory modules:

Critical Approaches to Civil Litigation (30 credits)

Critical Approaches to Criminal Litigation (30 credits)

Critical Approaches to Business Law & Practice (30 credits)

Critical Approaches to Property Law & Practice (30 credits)

Critical Approaches to Inheritance & Finance (15 credits)

Legal Ethics & Histories of the Legal Profession (15 credits)

Dissertation module: ‘The past, present and future: a critical appraisal of legal practice’ (30 credits).

Five themes will run through all taught modules, giving the course an overall coherence, and providing the focus for the dissertation. They are: technology; professionalism, identity & ethics; mistakes, disputes and procedural contingency; justice, democracy & citizenship; and capitalism and finance.

We recognise that it is unusual to suggest the completion of 180 credits at Level 7 as part of an Integrated Masters (which is normally a total of 480 credits over four-years – rather than 540 credits), but the regulations do permit it. Annex 4 of the Credit Framework stipulates minimums of credits for the qualification types listed therein, not maximums (an interpretation confirmed with the Head of Quality Assurance). Also, there is precedent for ‘extending’ the credits of existing qualifications e.g. 480-credit joint-honours Bachelor degrees, year abroad programmes, and the 240 credit ‘extended’ Masters programmes on offer in Brussels. It is to be noted that neither of these ‘extended’ qualifications is referred to specifically in Annex 4, yet each exists for their own particular reasons.

A 540 credit Integrated Masters is also necessary for 3 reasons. (1) It is impossible to cover the materials in 120 credits (including those required for accreditation purposes). (2) Given the amount of content, it is also impossible, in 120 credits, to examine the material needed to ‘pass the test’ with sufficient intellectual rigour for a Master’s level award. (3) Delivering it in 180 credits allows graduates to opt into the course as a stand-alone Masters.

The modules will be delivered over three terms: 60 credit Autumn and Spring terms, a 30 credit taught Summer term (150 credits of teaching), followed by the 30 credit dissertation which is to be submitted at the end of August. 30 credit taught modules will have 50 hours contact and 250 hours self study, while 15 credit modules will have 25 taught hours and 125 self study.

The integrated and standalone courses will be available on a full time or part time basis, and will blend online and in-person learning. In-person learning will be in workshops with some lectures (following student representations in the Staff-Student Liaison Committee). Online provision will include online lectures, weekly online formative tests based on the centralised assessments, and ‘talking head’ interviews with practitioners (an innovative feature of the course; each week students will have access to up to 10 short segments of interviews with practitioners answering questions about the topic under discussion – eg, ‘what problems have you had filling out claim forms?’). We will explore delivery of in-person workshops at non-Canterbury sites, including Medway and Tonbridge.

2.6 Proposal endorsed by Head of School

This exciting proposal will enable KLS to offer an innovative and intellectually rigorous programme of study that meets the needs of ambitious students wishing to enter the legal profession and responds also to the frequently expressed concerns of legal practitioners about the importance of advanced intellectual, inter-personal, inter-cultural and problem solving skills to contemporary legal practice.

2.7 Proposal endorsed by head of contributing school (if appropriate)

Click here to enter text.

  1. Market Insight and Planning

3.1 This section should be completed in conjunction with the relevant Faculty Marketing Officer (FMO) in EMS.

Please provide your rationale below along with your perceptions of both the potential market and the likely competitors. Once this form has been submitted, your FMO will undertake a full market insight analysis and can assist you with some of the specifics; at this juncture we are seeking your intentions and perceptions as a first step. Depending on the time of year and research required the full market analysis may take a number of months to obtain full and relevant feedback.4 The report may recommend variations and/or alternative approaches (for example different title, mode of delivery etc).

Most competitor law schools have not announced their likely approach following the introduction of the SQE, but details of the approaches of other law schools – where available – are enclosed as Appendix III to this document, together with insights from professionals. EMS note in addition that there are no competitor courses, this page on Prospects provides some useful background information https://www.prospects.ac.uk/jobs-and-work-experience/job-sectors/law-sector/solicitors-qualifying-examination-sqe

EMS also note that UCAS lists 131 current providers of UG law degrees across all types of HEI and Prospects list 12 current Legal Practice Courses (post UG degree) – this suggests a market opportunity for a stand-alone qualification and that it should proceed through the standard PMAS process without the need for a Market Insight report.

3.2 Rationale

Indicate the rationale for the introduction of the proposed programme (include strategic choices and how this programme will fit alongside the existing and related portfolio within the School and across the University).

The rationale for the programme is as set out above – it will provide a cost-effective and academically rigorous route to practice for KLS and non-KLS students and will maintain the KLS reputation as a critical law school in the sector.

A key strategic choice was a decision to provide this course as a Masters rather than covering the materials required in a 3rd year undergraduate degree programme. The choice to approach it in this way was based on 4 factors. (1) the majority of legal professionals we spoke to emphasised the need to protect the undergraduate law degree and were concerned with the risk of perceived or actual deterioration in standards if the third year became more practice oriented. (2) If we adopted a 3 year model, there would be no space for optional modules. Students emphasised the importance of choice, and of keeping open optional choices, in discussions about the available responses, and KLS is also committed to the range of optional modules we provide, including popular large optional modules like Family Law, International Law and Company Law & Capitalism. (3) There is a significant risk of reputational damage in the HE sector if we were to move to a 3 year model as it would represent a significant shift to a more vocational approach at the expense of the academic study of law. (4) It would therefore disadvantage our students who wished to practice; as it would be perceived as less valuable by the profession, would provide them with a narrower education and would undermine the reputation of their qualification.

Another strategic choice was to emphasise the importance of a critical approach to this course of study, instead of simply focusing on preparing students to pass the questions in the centralised examinations. Our concern is that solely preparing for these assessments will not prepare students for the future of legal practice, and our choice is therefore to give students the skills and knowledge to both pass the examinations and embark on a successful career in legal practice.

A final strategic choice was to create a programme which could be undertaken as an integrated Masters rather than solely as a postgraduate qualification, and to allow students to choose these course of studies when they apply to KLS, or to opt into it as they undertake their law degree. Critically, this will mean wider access to this qualification, as students will be able to access undergraduate student finance.

3.3 Fee

Outline the proposed fee level intended if not standard, including a rationale

Standard UG fee – £9,250 (home), £19,000 international (currently £15,700. Based on 2017/18 figures KLS charges the lowest unregulated fee of the UK’s top 20 law schools and this arguably hurts perceptions of quality. We propose to charge more and rebate back the excess through discounts, scholarships and bursaries, which appears to be the strategy of Leeds (£18k UG & PG)), LSE (£19,1 UG O/S, £22.4 PGT), Bristol (16,6 UK, 17.1 PGT), Glasgow (£16.6 UG, £17.9 PGT) KCL (£20.6 UG, 19.3 PGT)).

3.4 Potential Market

Outline the characteristics of potential students for example, fee status, domicile, size of the target market (nationally/internationally). Also: what is their likely source of funding?

We estimate the course will be most attractive to home students, and will be particularly attractive to current home KLS students, but will also be attractive to students from Kent who have undertaken an undergraduate law degree elsewhere and want to study for the SQE/Bar and live at home to save costs for this year. We will also market the unique features of the course to students from other undergraduate law schools, including the ability to choose a branch of the profession at the end of the course, the critical/academic focus, and the cost effectiveness (in likely competition with LPC providers). We expect some interest from the international market, particularly those who wish to qualify to practice in the UK (who will be able to have the certainty of a longer course for visa and finance purposes).

3.5 Competitor Information

Who are the main UK and/or overseas competitors? Do any competitors have an advantage over us (for example, location, fees, etc)?

There is no direct competition, with no-one else currently offering an integrated Masters-level critical approach to the assessments, or who seek to keep open a choice between the Bar and practice as a solicitor in their vocational courses.

Indirect competition can be divided into competition for undergraduates and post-graduates.

In relation to undergraduates, indirect competition will come from law schools offering a 3 year SQE-ready LLB, who appear at present to be law departments in teaching-focused Universities, as well as new institutions like the University of Law, Pearson and BPP. It is also likely that those law schools we have traditionally competed with for undergraduate students will offer to provide access (eg reduced rates) for students to a separate post-graduate course which will prepare them for the examinations (there are suggestions for example that some northern universities will collaborate in this way). We calculate that our offer – combining research-led academic excellence with vocational training in one institution – will prove attractive to undergraduates.

In relation to post-graduate courses, the direct comparison is with the Legal Practice Course, currently offered by 12 providers across England and Wales. The current fees for the LPC range widely. Fees charged include £8,800 (Leeds Beckett), 10,510 (London Met), £11,600 (Nottingham Trent), and 14,750 (City). The University of Law charges £12,750 (Birmingham, Guildford), £11,950 (Leeds, Manchester) and £16,230 in London (Bloomsbury and Moorgate) while BPP charge between £16,690 (London Holborn) and £12,290 (Leeds & Manchester). It should be noted that these fees are for a course which – broadly speaking – would cover the equivalent of the knowledge and skills in both SQE 1 & 2, but it is likely that our offer would be very competitive in terms of fees, particularly in the South-East.

3.6 Distinctive features of the programme likely to attract prospective students (including any details of accreditation and other comparable programmes offered by competitors)

1) Accredited by the Bar Standards Board (the SRA are not accrediting any under- or post-graduate qualifications after the introduction of the SQE) as a course which prepares students for both the Bar and practice as a solicitor.

2) Available as an integrated Masters at the outset or during an undergraduate KLS programme of study, allowing access to student finance and certainty for international students (who will be able to get a longer visa and access to additional years’ funding at the outset) and cost-effective as a standalone PG course.

3) As discussed above, the unique blend of vocational training and skills development with research-led teaching on the practice of law which will better prepare students for the rapidly changing nature of legal practice than the current vocational-only model of legal education on offer elsewhere.

3.7 Any significant risks and issues arising from this development

There is a reputational risk to KLS if we are seen as moving too far towards a vocational qualification, and it will be important to ensure we are able to effectively communicate our plans. There is a risk of low student take up, and we will continue to engage with students and practitioners on the design of the course. Finally, there is a risk that the SRA will not get approval for the SQE, and the old LPC course will remain in place, but this is unlikely given the time and effort expended by the SRA to date, and the initial approval by the Legal Services Board.

On the other hand, there is a significant risk to recruitment if we do not have a clear response to the proposed changes in place for the September 2021 intake. There is also a risk of failing students from less privileged backgrounds if we do not ensure we provide a response to the changes which combines academic excellence and opportunities to go into professional practice.

3.8 Entry Requirements

For undergraduate programmes, give the proposed entry grade profile for the programme. Specify any subjects which are a requirement for entry. For postgraduate programmes, give details of any non-standard entry requirements and the criteria by which applicants apparently meeting these will be assessed.

For the integrated course, it will mirror the current grade profile, while for the standalone Masters, it will be set as required by the BSB – currently there is a minimum of a 2:2 to undertake the Bar vocational course – but must be a degree in law which includes the foundations of legal knowledge.

3.9 Accreditation of Prior Learning

If there is provision for an articulation of accreditation of prior certificated learning, please state what the likely route for this might be.

Where the MLaw is integrated with the Senior Status programme, Stage 1 of the MLaw will need to be APL’d for these students. This APL of the Senior Status has already been approved by the University, and we are not interfering with the Senior Status programme itself – only integrating additional study on to it.

3.10 English Language

All programmes will be subjected to the University agreed English Language requirement for students whose first language is not English unless there is a particular reason to reduce or exceed this, if this is the case please state why.

n/a

3.11 State the potential career options for graduates and experience likely to be gained through this programme?

The programme is intended to open up opportunities to practice as a solicitor or barrister for KLS and non-KLS students, but graduates will also be equipped to go into a wide range of other careers, including central and local government, regulatory authorities, legal innovation, the non-profit sector, and academic research. Students will gain experience and understanding of legal procedures through case studies, including in relation to purchasing a property, bringing or defending a civil or criminal action, setting up and running a business, and dealing with wills and intestacy. They will also gain experience in relation to key skills, including advocacy and legal drafting skills.

3.12 Please indicate how employability skills will be embedded into the programme:

Critical reflection and global/cultural awareness are at the very core of the programme, as it will emphasise the importance of these skills to the swiftly changing future of the legal profession. Readings, workshop discussions and the individual assessments (which will include reflections on a practical exercise) will develop and test these skills. This future orientation, including an emphasis on creative and innovative responses to and with technology, will run through the course, and students will also be given a chance to be creative, innovate and develop their intellectual curiosity through their individually crafted dissertation question and research.

Providing students with support (including regular formative assessment) to prepare for the external assessments is designed to provide them with confidence in their ability to successfully undertake those assessments, and confidence will also be engendered through the preparation for oral advocacy in criminal litigation. Exposure to legal practitioners (including through the ‘talking heads’ interviews as well as the workshops) will emphasise the need for resilience in legal practice.

Finally, a key part of professional training is a focus on integrity and the rules relating to professional conduct, but this course will go further and interrogate the ways that approaches to professional conduct have emerged historically and might shift in the future. It will also include a focus on ensuring students understand and can reflect on the potential tensions which can arise between integrity, justice and the needs of business.

3.13 How will the programme develop career management skills (for example, career exploration and planning, gaining work experience, passing employer selection processes)?

KLS already has very strong links with the legal profession, who are involved in the work of the law clinic, alumni events, and extra curricular activities like mooting, negotiation and client interviewing. MLaw students will continue to have these opportunities to engage with the profession, and to gain work experience through formal and informal routes. Professionals we have engaged with who have expressed support for the proposal (see Appendix III) are keen to examine whether routes to placements and work experience for MLaw students can be further developed, and we will explore this further with them.

3.14 Internationalisation

How will the programme embrace internationalisation?

As noted above, the programme is designed to appeal to international students who need certainty for visa and finance reasons. At present, the QLD is very attractive for many international students as it allows them to qualify to practice in their home jurisdiction. It is not yet clear how many of these jurisdictions will react to the end of SRA validation, but the fact we are seeking accreditation with the BSB for the MLaw should help us with international recruitment.

3.15 HESA subject code(s)

Allocate a code to the programme based on the academic subject. If more than one subject code is appropriate, specify the % for each. For guidance contact PBIO.

Code

%

M250

3.16 New Resources

State whether any new resources will be required to develop and maintain the programme, including staff, space, library, IT and student recruitment costs. These costs must be included in the income/expenditure projections in Appendix II.

See Appendix II – to include four x grade 9 academic staff, 1 x grade 6 PS staff, book provision @ £300/student and £10k p.a. for talking heads videos (£15k in first year).

 

It should be noted that the KLS SAM has completed this as if it is a PGT programme and as if all students are PGT students since it affects only one year of study and for reasons of simplicity in relation to the financial plan as all students will share the same fee. Delivery will be both as a (UG) integrated Masters and a standalone PGT programme which is designed to minimise risk (since it does not rely on one type of student).

 

3.17 Existing Resources

Outline the existing resources that will be used by this programme. Make clear any impact on other programmes.

 

All resources provided by current LLB

 

3.18 Timetabling

In order to maximise recruitment (for full and part-time students, please provide any information regarding known timetabling constraints or opportunities (e.g. evening or blocks of study).5

We plan to develop block teaching where possible

 

3.19 Proposed source of funding (for example, School, external bodies) for new resources

Undergraduate student loan

Postgraduate student loan (for students taking the standalone MLaw)

3.20 Additional Costs

Are there any additional costs (in addition to the fees stated above) that students will be expected to fund (for example, fieldwork costs, bench fees, study abroad etc)? Will any bursary/funding be available for students to cover part/all of these additional costs? Indicate the level of these costs and funding available to students.

Students will need to fund the costs of undertaking centralised assessments, currently estimated at £1,100-£1,650 (SQE). Students will be able to borrow this as part of their student loan as a bolt on extra cost.

 

3.21 Viability/Exit Strategy

Please state the criteria by which your school would judge viability of this programme (for example, at what level of student recruitment over how many years the school would judge that the programme was/was not viable) and any other factors which might influence the future viability of this programme.

Break even point for the programme is 80 students. The attached business case does not assume any increase in capital by having the four new members of staff, be that monetary in terms of research grants, or reputational in terms of eminence. In the extremely unlikely event of the course not recruiting, the extra staff resource would be reallocated to existing teaching requirements and so would constitute negligible risk.

3.22 Scholarships

Are there likely to be any new scholarships, fee waivers or other types of funding available to attract potential students.

For international students, we plan to offset fees for some students through scholarships and partial fee waivers

3.23 Please provide any details of any other known existing market research or relevant market knowledge

See Appendix III

  1. Collaborative Provision (deleted)
  2. (blank)
  3. Financial Planning

6.1 Do I need to produce a financial plan as part of my business case for my new programme?

New programmes require a detailed financial plan only if they:

  • are establishing a completely new area, and/or
  • involve other institutions, and/or
  • require substantial additional resources.

A financial plan is not required for programmes that are essentially a re-badging of existing modules or introduce a few new modules without the need for substantial new resource.

6.2 If a financial plan is required then please proceed to Appendix II (provided as a separate Excel document).

This should be completed in conjunction with your School Administration Manager and also the relevant member of the Financial Planning and Analysis (FPA) team for your school.

6.3 A financial plan has been completed in conjunction to this document:

X Yes No

Appendices

Appendix I

 

Timeline Information

It is important to note that printed material and internal and external course listings sites are updated 18 – 24 months before a student registers. The longer the period of advertising the better recruitment is likely to be.

Undergraduate – a two year process

(Normal, not fast-track, etc.)

 

 

Postgraduate – an 18 month process

(Normal, not fast-track, etc.)

 

Appendix II

The Programme Financial Plan Template is a separate Excel document held on the Staff Finance website.

Appendix III – professional perspectives

(Edward Kirton-Darling, December 2018)

Outline

In order to ensure our approach to the changes proposed by the SRA and BSB I sought perspectives from practising solicitors and barristers in October/November 2018. This engagement is ongoing, and in particular I have few barrister responses in my sample as many barristers expressed interest in speaking to me, but then it has been difficult to pin down time to talk. I expect to receive further responses, and there will be ongoing engagement with the legal profession, but set out some initial comments at this stage in this paper. The paper is in three parts – an explanation of methods, a summary of responses, and a selection of quotes from some of the responses received.

Methods

I sought engagement with the professions via three routes:

  • 65 solicitors and barristers were contacted directly. These were a selection of alumni, KLS contacts and personal contacts. I sent them an email with a short outline of the proposals and some questions (outline attached as appendix 1). Some responded by email, some asked to meet and speak or speak over the phone.
  • I spoke to 8 representatives from solicitors firms at a careers open day on 31 October.
  • I presented the proposals and sought responses at a Mentoring event in London on 14 November.

The key questions I put to practitioners were:

  1. How do you envisage responding to the proposed changes?
  2. What do you think should be the key priorities in a KLS response?
  3. What do you think about the response we are proposing?
  4. Do you think KLS should try to prepare students for both the knowledge and skills solicitor assessments ie SQE1 and SQE2?
  5. Do you have any views on what the name of the course should be or on the names we propose?
  6. Do you have any views on the role of work placements in relation to these proposals?
  7. Are there any other issues which we have missed which you think we should engage with?

Summary of responses

The most common response was that practitioners were waiting to see what would happen, and had not made any decisions about how to change their approach to training yet. Many expressed surprise about the proposals, they were not aware of the planned changes, and often were opposed to the ways the professional bodies planned to change routes to qualification.

The overwhelming majority of respondents emphasised the importance of academic excellence, which meant protecting the current 3 year LL.B and opposing a 3 year degree which focused on preparation for the SQE, although this was not a universal view.

For example, a partner in a City firm who was very critical of the SQE process, and keen to protect the LL.B – ‘I am concerned about what kind of lawyer we are producing – learning to answer, not learning to inquire. There is more to life than passing the test.’ Another in a local firm told me “We are cynical about the SQE – we are concerned students won’t get the depth of knowledge.” Another from a regional firm stated “I think KLS’ priorities are sensible and logical as a consequence of the SQE’s aims. With reference to crammer courses, I think KLS should put effort into drawing attention to the fact that your proposed courses are not just crammer courses and are bona fide, SQE compliant degree and masters programmes.” The one dissenting voice I encountered (a partner in a London legal aid firm) argued that “I think it would be possible to cover everything required for the academic stage within 3 years and the additional costs and delay of a 4 year course are not really justified.” Another local high street firm supported the plan, but emphasised the importance of gaining practical skills.

A key theme from these responses is that communication of the value of our programme will be essential – and further research to ensure we have that message as clearly defined as possible would be helpful.

In relation to training contracts, those who discussed this stated they spoke for themselves and others in emphasising the desire to keep things as they are, and to adapt to the SQE by keeping the route as similar as possible to the current system, but as one regional firm stated “Waiting to see what bigger firms will do, but will lean towards keeping the traditional training contract route. Need certainty before deciding what to do.”

Most stated they would be likely to require students to have passed SQE1 before starting the training contract and many were keen on KLS helping to prepare students for SQE2. Some expressed enthusiasm for placements linked to KLS. I propose to engage further with this and discuss this further with firms who are interested.

In terms of a title for the course, many did not see it as their place to express a view, but one stated “If I saw it (MLaw in Advanced Legal Practice) on a CV, it would be great, it sounds great. We won’t take on any trainees who haven’t passed SQE1.” (note that, widespread lack of engagement with fundamental change in current proposals reflected by another answer: “The name of the course should include reference to the title allocated by the SRA” – not understanding that the SRA will no longer be validating any education programmes).

Solicitor 1

(a firm which takes 2 trainees a year and specialises in Commercial Property, Dispute Resolution, Corporate & Commercial, Employment Law, Debt Recovery, Private Client – Wills, Trusts, Estates, Elderly and Vulnerable Clients, Family Law, Residential Property, Charities)

  1. How do you envisage responding to the proposed changes?

We are and have been keeping a close eye on the SRA’s proposals and plans for SQE. We recently adapted our admissions procedure for Trainee Solicitors so that candidates can apply at any time of year, at any stage of their academics (rather than just the 2nd year of their law degree) as we want to be able to adapt quickly and without too much change being required when SQE finally comes in.

As to how I envisage we will respond to the changes, at first I anticipate we will follow the lead of the educational institutions providing the courses which will equip students to pass SQE1 and SQE2. However, my view is that we will still require students to have undertaken a course the same or similar to a qualifying law degree/ undergraduate degree with conversion, prior to offering a period of work experience (as was the training contract) in order to ensure that prospective solicitors have the necessary academic underpinnings, knowledge and understanding of the law that a law degree, GDL, LPC and training contract currently provide.

In other words, I anticipate that the process to become a solicitor will be similar to the current process in terms of time spent learning and time spent in practice, but with different learning and examination phases.

Somehow, we need to be able to cut through the SQE regime and new courses offered as a consequence of the changes. When it comes down to it, we want to be able to distinguish academically able students from those who are less able. By way of an example, currently, the students we interview and take on as Trainees or Paralegals who have studied at UKC are a cut above those who have studied at Canterbury Christchurch – the difference in quality of education offered at these two institutions is clear to us. As a firm training our next lawyers, we want to be able to continue to recognise the difference when looking at applications.

  1. What do you think should be the key priorities in a KLS response?

I think KLS’ priorities are sensible and logical as a consequence of the SQE’s aims. With reference to crammer courses, I think KLS should put effort into drawing attention to the fact that your proposed courses are not just crammer courses and are bona fide, SQE compliant degree and masters programmes.

  1. What do you think about the response we are proposing?

Sensible. It makes sense to offer a Masters course that 1. Prepares students for the SQE1/2 and 2. offers a little more ie. the wider context that you propose will be studied.

From a law firm’s perspective, the Masters programme simply replaces the LPC in terms of preparing students for hands on work in the legal sector.

  1. Do you think KLS should try to prepare students for both the knowledge and skills solicitor assessments ie SQE1 and SQE2?

I think KLS should prepare students for SQE1 and SQE2 so far as it can but at present, it is unclear as to whether the SRA will allow the SQE2 to be taken prior to the student doing qualifying work experience. It is for this reason that I think KLS may want to consider tying work placements into the Masters programme.

The University of Law has provided us with some useful examples of how SQE qualification might look. Such examples show there being some prospect of completing SQE2 prior to starting work-based placements. Therefore, is there any prospect for KLS to link the undergraduate degree to preparing students for SQE1 and the Masters preparing students for SQE2?

  1. Do you have any views on what the name of the course should be or on the names we propose?

I will want to see that students are still studying at a high level and that the level of their course is as high as a qualifying law degree. Law firms will need to be able to clearly decipher whether a candidate’s degree and masters programme is worth its weight in gold. With this in mind, when selling or advertising your courses to prospective students, I think you need to make it very clear that the degree content has not been compromised or watered down to fit into the new SQE regime – that it still covers all core modules – and, specifically prepares students for SQE1 and or/SQE2 or not.

Initially, I think it is going to be very difficult for law firms to work through candidate’s CVs and therefore filter out good prospective lawyers. I think law firms can be slow to adapt and this is another reason why reference to the old style courses ought to be included in your course titles in some way so that firms can pick out candidates that are worth interviewing and those that are not.

  1. Do you have any views on the role of work placements in relation to these proposals?

I believe that law firms will still put a huge emphasis on the need for prospective solicitors to carry out work placements prior to qualification. I would be keen to explore linking up with KLS to provide work placements to students doing their masters programme.

Solicitor 2

(City firm, commercial, corporate and family work)

(Notes from meeting). We take on paralegals with a specialist interest in our areas of work, generally have done LPC but also where are doing the LPC parttime. Concern about proposals, will result in a multi tier system. Important to protect the LLB – the skills it gives, and shouldn’t be muddied into professional qualification, is great strength in getting wider context. When it comes to LPC though, in favour of students doing it part time and gaining experience in practice as a paralegal at the same time. Would be unlikely to take someone on who had gone through the SQE route unless they had trained with us – concerns about competency in this route. Lots of experience of QLTS (system SQE is based on for lawyers from other jurisdictions who wish to practice in England and Wales), some at firm gone through/going through this route and very bad experience – all or nothing, disruptive, soul destroying, more of a crammer than a learner, not enough guidance, limited feedback, students treated like a number and is remarkably opaque – concerned SQE will be the same. I am concerned about what kind of lawyer we are producing – learning to answer, not learning to inquire. There is more to life than passing the test.

Solicitor 3

Planning to wait and see, and most other firms are doing the same. Keeping the traditional route for training contracts for now, and already have some legal apprenticeships – paying the levy so is worth it – will move towards more apprenticeships. Applications for training contracts have dropped off – perhaps because students are hanging back? Mixed opinions on whether the SQE will improve consistency in their firm.

Solicitor 4

Waiting to see what bigger firms will do, but will lean towards keeping the traditional training contract route. Need certainty before deciding what to do. Currently – have an application process which requires completing an application form, and only 10% of applicants return it. More firms are now hiring trainees; we have gone up to 4. Don’t take paralegals, want to get good people in and stay on.

Solicitor 5

Waiting to see what happens. Interested in work placements – have taken on an intern from Bournemouth, is quite an administrative role, seeing how that works out.

Solicitor 6

Will maybe support people through an SQE prep course, but concerned about quality of assessments, and concerned about students being taught just to pass the test.

Solicitor 7

If I saw it (MLaw in Advanced Legal Practice) on a CV, it would be great, it sounds great. We won’t take on any trainees who haven’t passed SQE1. Open to placements and year long paralegal roles to gain QWE instead of a traditional training contract.

Solicitor 8

We are cynical about the SQE – we are concerned students won’t get the depth of knowledge.

Solicitor 9

  1. Our training programme will need to adapt to the forced changes. At present we require our potential candidates to have already completed their LPC and it is highly likely that future candidates will have had to completed the SQE1.
  2. It is essential that any new course KLS intends to offer provides students with the practical skills to enable a smooth transition and application into the working environment. This is particularly important for those looking to secure training contracts in your typical high street firm.
  3. It is our understanding that the SQE 1 is intended to replace the LPC which was aimed to bridge the gap between the academic Law Degree and transition into a Law Firm. SQE 2 is the equivalent of the current PSC. On the understanding that irrespective of what degree a student has, the SQE1 will need to be taken by all. Taking this into consideration it may be worthwhile considering offering slightly longer curriculum aimed at those who do not have a law degree toe ensure they have the level of legal knowledge required for a career in the Law. On the understanding that the SQE 2 would be taken during the work experience (training contract) period, this could be a separate course but offered as a two part package by KLS. It should seek to retain the same format as the PSC which is primarily skills based.
  4. If KLS is intending to offer the SQE qualifications, then preparation for both knowledge and skills assessments should be included.
  5. The name of the course should include reference to the title allocated by the SRA.
  6. Whilst it would be the preference for there to be a work placement element, it is difficult to see how this would work on a practical level. Therefore it is unlikely that having a compulsory work placement will be possible.
  7. From a law firm’s prospective, it is essential that any course offered does not compromise on the level of understanding that the current LPC course offers. We want to maintain the high standards of the profession and for this not to be diluted.

Solicitor 10

(on 3 year LLB vs 4 years MLaw) my view is that a standard 3 year law degree course which includes the SQ1 would be preferably to a 4 yr one which may include a Masters degree. I think it would be possible to cover everything required for the academic stage within 3 years and the additional costs and delay of a 4 year course are not really justified. I think it would then be better to have optional further 1 year Masters degrees specialising in specialist areas such as family law, international law and human rights, for those who have a particular interest and want to develop their academic knowledge of these areas.

Barrister 1

  1. No response at present, but there will be one, pending discussion of the B.S.B.’s proposals.
  2. My view is there should be the opportunity for students to decide which route they might follow once they have had some experience of how both branches operate. Having had many mini-pupils over the years, one obvious theme has been their uncertainty, with a number of notable exceptions, as to what solicitors and barristers actually do, other than in very general terms. Whilst having an open mind is refreshing and desirable, I’ve been struck by the fact some have a very limited understanding of what it means to be a solicitor or barrister. That is, perhaps, to be expected, because until they are exposed to what goes on in real life, they may have a somewhat idealised view of the law. Having to make an informed decision about which route to take, say 3 years before they embark on a course, is not without its problems. Any system which gives them the option to make an informed decision is to be encouraged, providing it does not come too late to change, should the need arise.
  3. Subject to the B.S.B. material, which I have not read, I cannot comment, except as above.
  4. Yes; subject to the opportunity to change horses.
  5. A matter for you.
  6. Vital in helping students find out what is entailed and, more importantly, whether or not they are suited to whichever branch they are considering.
  7. I cannot speak for the solicitors, but I assume they have the same problems faced by the Bar, namely the explosion of numbers trying to enter the profession, as a result of the commercial interests of the vast number of law schools offering post-degree courses. At the Bar, although there has been a nose-dive in the candidates wanting to head for criminal law, because of the poor fees structure, there is still a large body of students being encouraged to undertake courses when there is no real prospect of finding pupillage, let alone a seat in Chambers. I won’t go on about the morality, or otherwise, of offering places on courses when there is little or no prospect many will end up in practice, but it is a fact. The solution, apart from the obvious, is beyond me.

other institutions: approaches and fees

  1. University of Bedfordshire
  2. Birkbeck College
  3. University of Birmingham – Linden Thomas, lecturer and clinic director at Birmingham spoke at the Legal Cheek conference. She emphasised the importance of students’ being able to change their mind, and keeping their options open. I spoke to her afterwards and she said she could not confirm anything, partly because they had not decided, but that Birmingham were going to do something. I said most places seemed to be doing a bolt-on of some kind and she said that was one of the options they were looking at, and they were also thinking about different pathways. (EKD notes from Legal Cheek conference on 23 May 2018)
  4. Birmingham City University
  5. University of Bristol – Antonia Layard has written an interesting blog on tensions between critical engagements with land law and the requirements of the SQE.
  6. Brunel University London: See ‘Brunel Law School is growing, with many new staff over the summer (24 Sep 2018) https://www.brunel.ac.uk/law/news-and-events/news/New-law-academic-staff-join-Brunel-Law-School – Newly appointed = Kimberley Spikings – Legal Practice Lecturer. Kimberley will be based within the Division of Public and International Law. Kimberley has been teaching at the Law School since 2013 and is taking on a position in a newly created post. This strategic new post is required to develop and deliver a programme designed to equip our graduating students with relevant and vital professional skills, in response to the changes in the professional qualifications requirements (the Solicitors’ Qualifying Examinations, or “SQE”) announced by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (“SRA”). Kimberley will develop and deliver a programme designed to equip our graduating students with relevant and vital professional skills, and she will lead on Brunel Law School’s response to the changing approach to training and education in England and Wales.
  7. Bournemouth – are offering a 4 year SQE ready LLB, which includes a year placement.
  8. University of Cambridge
  9. University of Central Lancashire
  10. City University London
  11. De Montfort University Only states they will be introducing SQE, no other detail or information. See http://www.dmu.ac.uk/documents/business-and-law-documents/07347-dmu-prospectus-lr-v-13.pdf
  12. University of Derby
  13. University of Durham – In a speech in which he outlined why the SQE is like Brexit (no-one wanted it, no-one knows what it means or what the detail is, no-one is sure if it is going to happen), Thom Brooks, Dean of Durham law school, was extremely critical of the proposals, and it would be surprising given his approach if Durham decided to try to fold the additional content into their course.
  14. University of East Anglia
  15. University of East London
  16. Edge Hill University
  17. University of Essex
  18. University of Exeter
  19. Goldsmiths – They state their new LL.B will prepare students for SQE1 and 2.
  20. University of Greenwich
  21. University of Hull
  22. Keele University
  23. University of Kent
  24. King’s College London – Chris Howard, director of Professional Legal Education at Kings spoke at the Legal Cheek conference. He was very positive about the opportunities of the SQE, including that it offered Kings the chance to engage with students long after they had left – he suggested this could include offering them CPD.
  25. Lancaster University
  26. University of Leeds – Andrew Francis spoke at the Legal Cheek conference, and he emphasised productive discussions they have had with the local law society in Leeds, which included strong support for social welfare, family and other non-SQE areas of law, which suggests that Leeds is not going to seek to provide a 3 year SQE ready LL.B.
  27. Leeds Beckett will turn their LPC/Masters into a SQE-Masters.
  28. University of Leicester
  29. University of Lincoln
  30. University of Liverpool
  31. Liverpool John Moores University
  32. University College London (UCL) – Richard Moorhead spoke at the Legal Cheek conference. He said he was pleased with his institution’s robust response to the SQE, and intimated they are not doing anything dramatic to their curriculum.
  33. London School of Economics and Political Science
  34. London Metropolitan University
  35. University of Manchester
  36. Middlesex University
  37. Newcastle University
  38. University of Northumbria at Newcastle
  39. University of Nottingham
  40. Nottingham Trent University
  41. School of Oriental and African Studies
  42. University of Oxford – See https://www.careers.ox.ac.uk/solicitors/ – though nothing really concrete.
  43. Oxford Brookes University
  44. Queen Mary University of London – have stated nothing publicly, but in Dan’s assessment, their Law in Practice programme is designed with the SQE in mind, particularly SQE2 (it includes a third year in legal practice, similar to the programme for some other providers, eg Bournemouth).
  45. University of Reading
  46. University of Sheffield
  47. University of Southampton
  48. University of Sunderland
  49. University of Surrey
  50. University of Sussex – in a blog, Andrew Saunders has indicated that Sussex will not be adapting their course to meet SQE requirements.
  51. University of Warwick
  52. University of the West of England, Bristol
  53. University of Westminster
  54. University of Wolverhampton – www.wlv.ac.uk From September 2018 a new LLB Law will be available which will incorporate SQE preparation (but nothing more on their website)
  55. University of York – York are arranging for a discount for their students to do an LPC-style course with a private provider. They have undertaken (or perhaps obtained) research that suggests that an effective bank of test questions for each knowledge area within the SQE would need to comprise around 3,000 questions in order to effectively prepare students (depending on how you split this up, this amounts to 6/7 areas, so around 18-21k MCQs, which would need to be regularly updated).
  56. Aberystwyth University
  57. Bangor University
  58. Cardiff University
  59. Swansea University
  60. Queen’s University Belfast
  61. University of Ulster
  62. University of Law – they are offering preparation for the SQE in their undergraduate and post-graduate courses.
  63. BPP – some at BPP have been more critical of the SQE, but at the Legal Cheek conference the head of BPP made very clear they will do whatever the City needs and they have been consulting on how they will deliver courses to prepare students for the BPP.

(Research by EKD, & MK : method – Law Schools According to REF 2014: https://www.ref.ac.uk/2014/media/ref/content/pub/REF%2001%202014%20-%20full%20document.pdf Method = I went on their website and typed into their ‘’enter search term’’ column either ‘SQE’ or ‘Solicitors Qualifying Examination’.

Fees

No-one has yet published fees for undertaking preparation for the SQE as a separate course. The current fees for the LPC range widely. Fees charged include £8,800 (Leeds Beckett), 10,510 (London Met), £11,600 (Nottingham Trent), and 14,750 (City). The University of Law charges £12,750 (Birmingham, Guildford), £11,950 (Leeds, Manchester) and £16,230 in London (Bloomsbury and Moorgate) while BPP charge between £16,690 (London Holborn) and £12,290 (Leeds & Manchester). It should be noted that these fees are for a course which – broadly speaking – would cover the equivalent of the knowledge and skills in both SQE 1 & 2.

staff-student liaison committee minutes, 28/11/18

Kent Law School

Staff-Student Liaison Committee (SSLC)

Minutes

Wednesday 28 November 2018, 1-2pm

KLS Committee Room, Eliot Extension

Attendees

Benjamin Bishop, Ed Kirton-Darling, Clare Mace, William Mahoney, Shubham Mishra, Ashley Omondi, Aaron Patrick, Sebastian Payne, Lucy Spinks

Absent

Nwamaka Agbanje-Boyce, Saher Amin, Chris Barron, Tanjina Begum, Aarish Hyder, Justin Koeiman, Georgette Ndungu, Rikke Sletten, Daniel Zibaee

1. Introductions

Introductions were given. The Reps were thanked for their involvement and engagement with the items to be discussed.

2. Agree minutes of the last meeting

All agreed

3. Potential plans for changing the law degree due to SQE and BSB changes. Ed Kirton-Darling explained, discussed and consulted with the reps:

  • The changes will begin for students starting Sept 2021
  • The current requirement for a qualifying law degree will no longer exist as accredited by solicitors and the Bar
  • Must have a degree (any degree)
  • Need to sit 3 multiple choice tests online – 120 questions each. This is to test the understanding of procedures
  • Have a minimum of 2 years qualifying work experience (doesn’t need to be in 1 place). Solicitors firms will not have to sign off trainees to say that they are ‘competent’ but can just say good enough to practice. It is the test that is the decider.
  • Another set of tests for legal skills
  • LPC will no longer exist. People will probably do something like LPC to prepare for the test. (i.e. BPP will train students to pass the test)
  • We need to ensure students can qualify as solicitors

The bar is also changing

  • The Bar course will be more flexible
  • If you want to be barrister in law, the degree doesn’t get you that
  • They won’t check to see if your degree is worth anything but will check that they are satisfied that applicants have foundations of legal knowledge, to be a barrister

Therefore, we are proposing a new course:

  • We don’t want to force people to prepare for a test if they are not considering to practice law. Keeping people’s options open so they can make decisions as late as possible.
  • The law degree stays the same. If you want to qualify as a barrister or solicitor you can do M law (master in law) in advanced legal practice, a 1 year course at master’s level. It’s important it’s a genuine masters (level 7) with extra depth and engagement with critical readings. The idea is transparency, learning civil procedure rules. In the future it is likely computer programmes will make decisions of taking cases forward and won’t be high street law i.e. technology, cutting edge research…all part of the debate.
  • This course would have student funding arrangements or post graduate loan to cover cost.
  • This will prepare people to pass the test and provide skills and awareness as students need to think about the future in legal practice in 20 yrs time i.e citizenship, profession changes etc
  • We would like to prepare people to become a Barrister. The Bar still hasn’t confirmed how they will do this.
  • Someone may want to be a barrister and cannot. The advantage gives them an easy way to do something. Not sure how the new rules will effect this but they will probably want to give you a test. 1 argument – there will be a choice to be a solicitor
  • There is an overlapping between barristers ( who will not require everything solicitors need to know) and solicitors (this is the same as a barrister but includes other areas).
  • If you are looking to be a Barrister you are learning a lot more than needed but to be a solicitor is only a little more.
  • At the end students can choose if they want to be a solicitor or barrister.

Our Main priorities are:

  • Keeping commitment to academic excellence
  • Keeping people’s options open
  • Trying to keep the cost down to enable access to the profession from all backgrounds

a) General feedback and comments and response to if we should try and give people pathways?

  • How long will this be from start to finish?

It will be the same, 3 year degree plus 1 year course, 2 years qualifying work experience. Take tests in between but no space for optional modules

  • Not fond of being forced into doing masters, as longer
  • Is it open to non law students?

Only if they have done foundations of legal knowledge (don’t need a law degree to do SQE exams) but we are proposing KLS students do this

  • It is similar to the Canadian system
  • Law is broad, it seems counter productive if you cannot be involved in other areas as this is good experience for solicitors
  • Having to learn what both solicitors and barristers need makes it harder to pass exams as it can be confusing and too broad and difficult to focus on what you want and gain the relevant skills.
  • Different pathways? you will have time to think about it (i.e. 3 years) but can you take a

break and decide what want to do as it shouldn’t be at the expense of others?

b) ( Ben Bishop asked the students:

How would you feel if possibility to do modules in the 3rd year of UG degree?)

  • Would be happy to lose options to do something they wanted to do and to complete quickly, however LPC has always been to do it meaningfully and not quickly.
  • Doing a 3 year course wouldn’t be in a position to be a barrister as there is not enough intellectual depth. Giving people option to make a choice.
  • Student had changed their mind about their profession direction after 2nd year! If you had to choose earlier on, they would have been really disappointed.

c) If choosing barrister or solicitor pathways should you choose before doing course, halfway through 2nd year or in 3rd year or have an open pathway?

  • Not too early in 3rd year
  • Not so bad if had to make a pathway decision.
  • Like having the open options but good to have a pathway.
  • Should know what want to do by 3rd year.
  • Excited to do masters but that is the next step, enjoying studying at the moment and do not want to think of that stage yet.
  • Now SQE does it create opportunities to bring out books, would there be a self taught course?

We will be competing against doing online or in a classroom 5 days a week.

d) There is criticism on how it will change legal profession. What risks are associated with the change?

  • Risk students are being taught to pass, cramming too much in the exam will make or break and the side effect is peoples knowledge goes once exam is over and only getting knowledge to pass and get grades required and not what you need out of education.
  • To pass exam need to know how to accept an offer and very complicated and technical. If you learn those rules and think about democracy, themes etc there will be more knowledge
  • Barristers look for intellectual depth and may be asked anything in a chambers interview.
  • There is a risk that people think they are getting on but may not be, it’s the perception about what counts as quality

e) Each week the course would include:

Online lecture

Talking heads interviews (6)

Read chapter with legal details

Multiple choice questions

Read article to bring together principals, practical theatre

Workshop

Only teacher engagement – 2 hour chunks

What do you think?

  • Like watching online as can pause and play
  • Like engagement to have discussion and good to recognise online aspect is large part of teaching now
  • Prefer attendance with lecturer and be in the room to focus and be more engaged
  • Prefer a mix of both classroom with additional online learning
  • A positive response regarding a live lecture and online lecture

f) Thoughts about the name suggestions?

Masters of Law – M Law, JD or people choose if want JD or M Law:

  • We have asked solicitors what they want to call it? We want to make sure it’s recognised.
  • M Law is more appropriate – already confusion about LLB or BA. In some home countries BA is not recognised and to introduce another term could be confusing.
  • It needs to be clear to professional bodies.
  • LLM v M Law – distinguishes but could be confusing
  • M Law, as it is much more focussed than JD
  • Confusion with JD
  • Name choice is work in progress.

Action: Reps to email Ed directly if they have further thoughts ek276@kent.ac.uk

4. Other matters: Reps to report back

Text books – Further to the discussion in the previous SSLC meeting the reps raised that there is an inconsistency between library staff and Kent law staff, as there was an issue with the company law book not arriving until half way through the year.

5. Any other business

None

6. Date of the next meeting : tbc

1 Please note that this document refers to the Business Case production only. Further documentation is available regarding the other stages of the Programme Approval Process (shown in the diagram on page 3)

2 A July 2017 sector survey showed 63% of prospective students are career focused with 37% wanting a qualification for a specific role or career and a further 26% to improve career prospects (Prospects.ac.uk)

3 Humanities: Cordelia Mason; Social Sciences: Fiona Holden; Sciences: Emma Nevil

4 Be aware this process normally requires access to current and/or potential students, such research is likely to be conducted during the academic school year (avoiding exam periods).

5 This is particularly important for potential postgraduate programmes, part-time PG is increasing again, in 2015-16 85,000 PGT student were part-time and 151,000 full-time (Hefce http://www.hefce.ac.uk/analysis/postgraduate/)

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