Diploma in Legal Studies

Course available through blended / online distance learning.


The Diploma in Legal Studies is a two–year law course leading to:


Many Diploma graduates have found the qualification to be of benefit in their current career or have gone on to use the qualification to open up new career opportunities for them. Some Diploma graduates have progressed to further study of law by doing taught or research masters or PhDs. Others did the course just because they were interested in learning the law.

Because Diploma graduates are eligible to sit the Entrance Examination for the degree of Barrister–at–Law, the course also attracts students who want to qualify as a barrister. The Diploma equips students for study on the degree of Barrister–at–Law(“the professional course”). As far as qualifying as a barrister is concerned, Diploma graduates are in the same position as those who have a recognised law degree from a third–level institution in Ireland. Diploma graduates report that the course prepares them well for the professional course. This is reflected in the fact that Diploma graduates have traditionally done as well as – and frequently better than – law–degree graduates in the Entrance Examination and on the professional course itself.


Diploma students come from a variety of educational backgrounds. Many have a non–law degree or other third–level qualification. But some do not. Indeed, the Diploma is open to people with no formal education whatsoever. Mindful that some Diploma students have been away from formal education for a long time or have no formal education whatsoever, we deliver a Study–Skills Course at 5.45 – 8 pm on five evenings during the first two weeks of September. Topics include:

  • Types of Learning;
  • Time management on an academic course;
  • Note–taking;
  • Academic Research;
  • Reading academic (and specifically legal) texts;
  • Academic writing;
  • Giving oral presentations;
  • Making use of feedback; and
  • Revising for and writing examinations.

The Study–Skills Course is scheduled for 5.45–8 pm on the following dates during the first two weeks of September: Tuesday 1, Wednesday 2, Thursday 3, Tuesday 8, and Wednesday 9. Induction is scheduled for Thursday, September 10.


Lectures and tutorials take place on Monday–Thursday evenings (a small number take place on Friday evenings). Tutorials also take place at 9.30 am – 4.45 pm on the following Saturdays spread throughout the academic year: September 19; October 3 and 31; November 28; January 16; February 13; March 13; and April 24. Because these class times suit students in employment, most students continue working while doing the course.

Course Start Date: September 2021. 


Lectures are recorded and made available to students on Moodle, our online learning platform. Students can access the recordings remotely at anytime from anywhere provided they have an internet connection. The availability of lecture recordings online obviously facilitates students who have to miss lectures. But it is also of tremendous assistance for revision purposes, enabling students to revisit lectures when they are preparing for the exams.


Classes, especially tutorials, are interactive–student engagement is encouraged. Tutorials are small–group sessions during which students must complete diverse tasks like problem–solving, mooting, advising fictitious clients, consultations, and presenting and opposing legal arguments. Our emphasis on small–group teaching and learning fosters student engagement and active learning and makes the course especially rewarding.


The course provides a very broad legal education and covers the core law subjects which are essential to further study of law and practising law in Ireland. During their first year on the course, students study the following subjects:

  • Constitutional Law
  • Contract Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Family Law
  • Introduction to the Legal System (including Legal Research and Writing)
  • Land Law (Property Law)
  • Tort Law

During their second year, students study the following subjects:

  • Administrative Law
  • Company Law
  • Equity and the Law of Trusts
  • European Union Law
  • Law of Evidence
  • Human Rights Law
  • Jurisprudence


Students must pass both an examination and coursework in each subject. Examinations are closed book, whereas coursework requires students to conduct research. Coursework – which accounts for 20% of the mark in each subject – requires students to identify the legal issue(s) in the question, conduct independent research using online legal databases and a law library, use and reference relevant sources of law, and write an answer that summarises relevant law in a clear, cogent, and complete manner before arriving at a conclusion.


Students can also attend optional court visits and take part in mooting and debating competitions inside the School of Law and at national and international level. Students can also take part in sporting events. Please see our LSDSI [The Law Students’ Debating Society of Ireland] page for more information.


All lecturers and tutors have impressive qualifications (including LLMs from colleges like Harvard, Oxbridge, and the London School of Economics, as well as PhDs from reputable Irish and UK universities). Because lecturers and tutors are also qualified barristers, they have a keen understanding of how the law works in the real world. All members of the teaching team have extensive teaching experience. Click here for more information about our teaching team.


Those falling into the following categories are eligible to apply for a place on the course:

Graduate Applicant – A graduate applicant has an approved non–law degree from a third–level educational institution. Degrees conferred by foreign educational institutions may also suffice. The Education Committee decides whether a foreign degree is acceptable.

Mature Applicant – A mature applicant doesn’t have an approved non–law degree but is at least 23 years of age on May 1 in the year when they would sit the Diploma–I examinations.

The Education Committee allocates places to mature applicants. Although the Committee considers academic and professional qualifications, the Diploma is – as mentioned above – open to people with no formal education whatsoever. The Committee also considers a mature applicant’s work experience and other information provided by the applicant which demonstrates their ability to do a course of this level. An interview may be required


The King’s Inns’ Education Committee may remit course fees payable by Diploma students who face exceptional hardship. Further information about and the application form for the scholarship is here.


Total cost of course: €9,950. plus an application fee of €200.

  • Year 1 fee: €4,975. This can be paid in two instalments.
  • Year 2 fee: €4,975. This can be paid in two instalments.

Fee structure can be viewed here.


Closing Date for Applications: Applications open in February 2021.

Application fee before midnight on 30 June is €200. Late entries are accepted until midnight on 1 August and are subject to a late application fee of €300.

How to submit an electronic signature


If you have questions about the course, please contact the Course Coordinator, Ciarán Patton, at ciaran.patton@kingsinns.ie.

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What do Previous Student Say?

David Byrnes

“The Diploma in Legal Studies provided me with an excellent understanding of the law and legal principles. The lectures and tutors are highly dedicated and capable legal professionals. The learning environment is interactive, friendly and supportive and the materials and resources are first class. The rate of learning and personal development is phenomenal. The course attracts a diverse range of people and from all age groups. Whether you intend to practise as a Barrister or simply wish to enhance your existing career, this course is a most valuable and rewarding experience.” (Class of 2017)

Gerry Kealy

“If you ever thought that studying law might be boring, be prepared to have your eyes opened. The course would expose you to new ways of thinking about why the law is so important – not only in business but also in society generally. The course is challenging, but very enjoyable. It is managed by Ireland’s finest legal minds and is delivered by lecturers who are second to none – I know that being a science lecturer myself. The course is structured to meet the needs of students who are otherwise busy with work. It provides a solid foundation for anyone considering a legal, business, educational, or public–service career.” (Class of 2018)