“If you ever thought that studying law might be boring, be prepared to have your eyes opened. If you decide to do the Diploma in Legal Studies, be prepared to have your mind opened as well. 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 etc. It provides a solid foundation for anyone considering a legal, business, educational, or public–service career. I have met and made friends with people of many and varied professions, both young and older. All of them would agree with me when I say that you would be much better off having completed the Diploma in Legal Studies.”
Last Updated: Thursday, April 8, 2021
WHAT IS THE DIPLOMA IN LEGAL STUDIES?
The Diploma in Legal Studies is a two–year law course leading to:
- a qualification in law; and
- being eligible to sit the Entrance Examination for the degree of Barrister–at–Law.
WHO IS THE COURSE FOR?
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.
The course, although intense at times, is engaging and evocative. There is always a lively debate in the class room which aids your understanding. No one ever falls behind due to the supportive nature of the course…I would highly recommend it to anyone who had any sort of interest in law. Whether it’s for your career or as a past time, this course will offer you everything you could want, without the commitment of a four–year degree.
Graduate of 2019
THE STUDY–SKILLS COURSE
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;
- 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: September 1, 2, 6, 7, and 8.
WHEN DO CLASSES TAKE PLACE?
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 18, October 2 and 30, November 27, January 15, February 12, March 12, and April 9. Because these class times suit students in employment, most students continue working while doing the course.
Course Start Date: Monday, 13 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.
WHAT HAPPENS IN CLASS?
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.
WHAT SUBJECTS ARE COVERED ON THE COURSE?
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
HOW ARE STUDENTS ASSESSED?
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.
THE TEACHING TEAM
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.
REQUIREMENTS FOR ADMISSION
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.
International Applicants – International students are eligible to apply for a place on the course, either as a graduate or mature applicant. There is no extra fee for international applicants.
THE MAURICE GAFFNEY SCHOLARSHIP
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.
COURSE FEES 2021 – 2022
Total cost of course: €9,950. plus an application fee of €200.
- Year 1 fee: €4,975 – can be paid in two instalments.
- Year 2 fee: €4,975 – can be paid in two instalments.
View fee structure and other charges here.
HOW DO I APPLY?
Closing Date for Applications: midnight on 30 June 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.
If you have questions about the course, please contact the Course Coordinator, Ciarán Patton, at firstname.lastname@example.org.