BLC Regulations 2020-2021
The following regulations shall apply to all participants studying for the 1-year diploma in 2020-2021 with the British Law Centre. These regulations reflect the agreements concluded between Juris Angliae Scientia (as provider of the course) and the ‘Host Institutions’ (i.e. the various universities at which Juris Angliae Scientia delivers the BLC Diploma course).
- THE COURSE CURRICULUM
The course will provide instruction in the following subject areas through classes and training exercises conducted on weekends or evenings (depending on the arrangement in place with the relevant Host Institution).
|SUBJECT MODULE||SKILLS MODULE|
|ENGLISH LEGAL SYSTEM||Legal research, fact management, case analysis and oral advocacy|
|CONTRACT LAW (INCLUDING CONTRACT DRAFTING)||Contract negotiation and drafting, client interaction|
|CRIMINAL LITIGATION AND PRACTICE||Case and fact management, statutory interpretation, working with legal precedent, trial preparation, witness handling and oral advocacy|
|TORT LAW||Client interviewing, written advocacy, oral advocacy on non-factual issues (points of law), analysis of precedents|
|TRUSTS LAW||Mooting, preparation of written submissions (‘skeleton arguments’)|
To graduate, participants must successfully pass an assessment in each of the subject modules. Assessments take a variety of forms, including written work and practical legal skills exercises (e.g. advocacy and contract negotiation).
Teaching visits – general structure
Participants receive 8 teaching visits during the Diploma course. These are delivered in a 6+2 structure, in which at least 6 teaching visits are physical visits and up to 2 teaching visits are conducted virtually (i.e. online). The BLC may offer from time to time additional online lessons or skills content over and above the scheduled 8 teaching visits, in particular where this will support the better attainment of the learning objectives indicated above.
Participants will be reminded in advance by email of the upcoming scheduled visit (see Calendar below). They will also be informed which materials and questions need to be prepared in advance of the visit. The core of such preparation is reading the specific BLC workbook (see section 3 below on ‘Materials’) that covers the area of law which will be the visit’s focus, but will often extend to a limited range of additional materials, e.g. specific case readings, or preparations that may be required for a planned skill-training exercise (on the latter, see part B below). In addition, participants will usually be allocated a number of ‘problem questions’ to prepare (see below). It is each participant’s responsibility to adequately prepare for teaching visits in accordance with the guidance received from BLC teaching staff.
During each teaching visit, time will be divided so as to ensure that the following objectives are promoted:
- Clarification of content covered by the workbook and consolidation of participant learning – each visiting tutor will seek to ensure that all participants have understood the core legal concepts communicated by the prescribed pre-visit reading and to assist by providing elaborations and explanations on any points causing difficulty and responding to queries raised by participants.
- Attainment of confidence in framing arguments about the law and its application to factual situations – a substantial part of each visit will be devoted to developing participants’ ability and confidence in applying the law. Typically, this will involve close consideration of ‘problem questions’ (i.e. questions in which a series of events and circumstances affecting fictional characters is described and the task is to give these characters reasoned advice on their resulting legal rights and obligations). Participants are expected to actively participate and will be asked to offer suggestions on how such questions are to be resolved. The visiting tutor will support and guide the process as well as deal with queries related to the general approach expected in English university education when dealing with such questions. Resolving problem questions of this type is a major component of the assessment process on the Diploma (see ‘written assignments’ in section 4 below) and so practicing how to do this during teaching visits is important.
- Development of practical legal skills – although the specific manner in which skills are strengthened and developed will vary depending on the area of law on which any given visit is focused, visits will typically feature an exercise aimed at developing practical skills such as advocacy, negotiation, public speaking and presentation, contract drafting, or legal writing. The progress attained in the area of skills development will be used to build each participant’s personalised ‘Legal Skills Portfolio’ (see part ii below).
On occasions where visits are led by visiting external common law experts and academics, a degree of flexibility in the structure of the visit will sometimes be necessary. However, the priority will remain learning consolidation and the development of the ability to construct and deliver legal arguments concerning the legal field being studied in that visit.
Class preparation and participation
Active participation in class discussion is encouraged and will be taken into account when deciding whether to recommend that the course is graded with a Pass/Merit/Distinction.
A calendar showing the dates/time for each teaching session is available on the BLC’s website (‘EVENTS‘). In the event that it proves necessary to make any amendments to the original timetable, participants will be given as much prior notice as possible.
Skill-training exercises and the Legal Skills Portfolio
The Diploma includes components designed to develop a range of legal skills, such as analysing case-law; analysing and interpreting statutory law; legal writing skills; negotiating, analysing and drafting contracts; client-interviewing; advocacy skills; and mooting. This is done by way of interactive exercises (e.g. contract negotiations, oral advocacy pleadings).
The objectives of skills-training on the diploma are the encouragement of active learning and the development of a personal legal skills portfolio. Skill-training sessions will focus on active participation on the part of all participants in the development of their legal skills portfolio. Depending on the nature of the exercise upon which the development of skills during a particular teaching visit is based, this might include participants forming teams so as to take opposing positions (e.g. Seller or Buyer) in the negotiation of a contract clause, or for the purpose of engaging in debates, mini-trials, or mini-moots. An element of advance preparation will frequently be involved. This could take the form of reading background materials on the skill which is the focus of development, or perhaps critiquing or drafting contract clauses, or listening to a recording of a client interview and assessing to what extent legally relevant information has been obtained. Due to the range of skills being targeted, the structure of these exercises and the forms of participation and preparation will vary. But the emphasis will remain on ‘learning by doing’—i.e. keeping the focus on relevant and practical active learning rather than more passive and theoretical approaches. By the time of graduating from the BLC Diploma, each participant will be in possession of an easy to access and understand record of attainment that relates specifically to skills and will complement the record of results achieved in assignments (see ‘Methods of Assessment’ in section 4 below). This will serve as a basis for communicating personal strengths to employers in the participant’s future professional life.
Participants should aim to attend all of the teaching sessions.
We accept that there may be reasons which prevent this from happening. Please inform us in advance if you know that you will not be able to attend any particular session[s].
- COURSE FEES
Fee levels and deadlines
Course fees are published on the BLC’s website and may be revised annually. Participants must pay their course fees no later than 14 days prior to the course start date at the relevant centre, unless they have already signed and returned the BLC’s Instalment Agreement and established a timetable for making payment in instalments. Anyone signing the BLC’s Instalment Agreement acknowledges that they are obliged to pay the full course fees even in the event that they choose not to complete the Diploma.
Early-bird fee reductions
An early-bird fee reduction for fees is available for participants who register and pay their fees before the date specified in the centre-specific page on the BLC website.
‘Returner’ fees payable when extending studies
A returner’s fee will be payable by any participant who fails to complete the Diploma within 1 year from their initial enrolment and seeks to complete any uncompleted module(s) in a subsequent academic year. The level of the returners’ fee in 2020-2021 is €100 per uncompleted assignment, subject to a capped maxim amount of returners fee of €400. Anyone who returns in a following year to complete the course will be granted full access to the website (inc. any updated materials) and will be welcome, if they wish, to join any/all classes on the Diploma.
How to make payment
All participants will receive Payment Instructions detailing how to pay course fees (e.g. relevant bank account numbers, payment dates, etc.). These instructions constitute an integral part of these Course Regulations.
Important note on banking charges
All payments of course fees must be made by bank transfer. Since participants make payment of BLC course fees to a UK-based bank, charges may be imposed when making bank transfers. It is the responsibility of each participant (when making the bank transfer) to ensure that they accept the costs imposed by both their local bank and the BLC’s UK-based bank. In the event that a participant does not do so, they remain liable to pay any amount which was missing from their full course fees on arrival in the BLC’s UK account.
Fees, participation and special circumstances (including COVID-19)
If, for reasons beyond the BLC’s control, it is not possible to provide at least six face-to-face teaching visits* in the relevant academic year, you will be informed, consulted and may choose one of the following choices:
- to continue and complete the course online in the same academic year (we would also allow you to access updated BLC course materials and/or attend any face-to-face classes that happen at your location in the next academic year free-of-charge); or
- to suspend your participation in that part of the course for which the BLC was forced to cancel face-to-face teaching until the next academic year (NB. this would delay your completion of the course. For the avoidance of doubt, you do not need to pay the returner’s fee discussed above); or
- to receive a refund of 12.5% of your total course fees for each face-to-face teaching visits we were forced to cancel (NB. account is taken of the fact that 2 teaching visits could have been delivered online in any case).
*For BLC students at the University of Warsaw centre, this constitutes 25% of teaching on the diploma course
METHODS OF ASSESSMENT
During the course, participants will need to successfully complete four written assessments and an online research exercise in order to receive the diploma in English law and legal skills.
Written assignments take the form either of an essay-style question, which involve discussion of a specific legal hypothesis or problem-based questions, which require participants to advise fictional clients on a range of factual issues that raise particular legal problems related to the area of law being assessed.
Option to return in a subsequent year to complete assessments
Any participant who does not successfully complete all the assessments required to qualify for the BLC Diploma in the relevant academic year will have the option to return within two academic years to complete any outstanding requirements. Returning students will need to pay the returner’s fee applicable in the year in which they wish to return (see the Fees Section).
STANDARDS OF ASSESSMENT
(i) Marking standards and procedures
All assignments and examinations are marked on a percentage basis reflecting the criteria and standards applied by UK universities. A pass mark is any grade higher than 40% and a “first class” mark is signified by a mark of 70% or above (in accordance with standard practice at UK Universities). Please note that any grade above 70% indicates that the work in question is of a very high standard. Grades above 75% indicate work of such outstanding quality that there are many years in which no participant receives a grade this high. Any assignment which fails (i.e. fails to reach a mark of 40%) will simply be indicated as “FAIL” or “0”. This obviously does not mean that the work achieved 0%, but merely that it did not reach the requisite 40% pass mark.
Requesting a review of assignment marking
If any participant wishes to query the mark they were awarded or to raise any other query in relation to an assignment, this must be raised with the tutor who marked the assignment within 14 days of when the assignment was returned to the participant. The tutor will review the grade awarded or other issue raised in light of the concerns expressed by the participant and come to a decision. The tutor’s decision will generally be final, but in appropriate cases review requests will be referred to the BLC Academic Committee for further consideration and absolute final decision.
All assignments and other assessments are originally marked by members of the BLC teaching staff. These are returned to participants with tutor comments indicating areas of strength and those aspects where improvements can be made.
Moderation of marking by external examiners
All assignments and examinations are subject to double external examination. Currently, the external examiners responsible for finalising BLC participant results are from the University of Cambridge and the University of Glasgow. Accordingly, any marks awarded by BLC teaching staff are “provisional” until such time as they are approved by the JAS external assessment procedures, which also function as an annual review of the BLC’s marking quality and standards.
(ii) Failed assignments and retakes
Any participant who fails an assignment (i.e. does not receive a grade of 40% or higher) will be automatically assigned a grade of 0% while the subject remains unpassed. Two assignment questions (Topic 1 and Topic 2) are offered for each of the four modules (ELS, contract law, tort law, equity and trusts) are provided in each academic year. A participant can pass the relevant module by passing either of the two available questions in that academic year.
Retake submissions are assessed on a pass/fail basis. In other words, the grade awarded will automatically be 40% if the retake attempt is passed, with no possibility of a higher grade being awarded. Anyone who, at the end of the relevant academic year has not passed all assessments would need to complete the relevant module in the next academic year (and pay any applicable returner’s fee) if they wish to pass the Diploma.
5. COMPLETION AND CERTIFICATION
All participants who successfully complete all the course modules within the relevant time-limits, and all other requirements concerning payment of fees and attendance, will be recommended for the course Diploma. The formal decision to award the Diploma must await completion of the external review process, following which, participants are informed of their entitlement to graduate and of the time and place of the graduation ceremony.
Graduates of the Diploma course shall receive the following:
A Course Diploma signed by senior representatives from Juris Angliae Scientia. At most BLC centres, the Diploma is also jointly awarded by the Host Institution (i.e. the university at which the teaching visits attended by the participant were hosted).
(The Diploma is categorized into Pass, Merit or Distinction according to the level of grades obtained during the course and participation in BLC classes and activities.)
Overall Diploma Grade
Although it is necessary for participants to pass assignments in all 4 modules, the overall Diploma grade is based on the ‘best 3’ results (i.e. the worst of the 4 grades is ignored for the purposes of this calculation provide that each grade reaches at least the minimum pass grade of 40%).
Can I receive ECTS Points?
Depending on the particular cooperation agreement that is in place between Juris Angliae Scientia and the Host Institution, participants who are students of the latter institution may be awarded ECTS points upon successful completion of the BLC Diploma. Whether this is the case and the nature of any applicable conditions are matters for the internal administration of the Host Institution and accordingly, participants who are seeking ECTS points should take the matter up with the responsible faculty at the Host Institution. The Local Centre Liaison (see section 6 below) will be able to advise on these matters.
(i) Administrative Queries
The Local Centre Liaison
Any queries concerning the Host Institution’s rules and regulations relating to participation in the BLC Diploma (e.g. the availability of ECTS points) should be directed to the Local Centre Liaison. All participants will be provided with contact details for the Local Centre Liaison at the Host Institution through which they participate in the BLC Diploma course.
The course is provided by the UK-based charity Juris Angliae Scientia and the interpretation and application of the Diploma regulations is governed by English law to the extent consistent with rights guaranteed by mandatory law.
All efforts are made to minimise amendments to these Regulations. However, in the event that any amendments are made, the version of the Regulations in force in any given academic year shall apply to all BLC participants studying toward the 1-year Diploma that year.
By submitting an application form for the Diploma Course, participants express their consent to these regulations, including the rules regarding payment of course fees and the processing and retention of their personal data by the BLC strictly in accordance with the BLC’s Privacy and Data Retention Policy (see below).
Privacy and Data Retention Policy
When filing your online application to the BLC, you provided us with permission to contact you electronically. The permission for which we asked is voluntary and may be revoked by you at any time, for example by sending a message in reply to any electronic correspondence which you receive from us. If, however, you do not express permission as requested herein, or if you subsequently revoke such permission, we will not address any electronic communications to you in the future.
Your personal data is processed by Juris Angliae Scientia Ltd. to enable us to contact you regarding all aspects of the Diploma course and to keep you informed about the activities of the BLC and our sponsor law firms. We guarantee all your rights in this respect, including your right to request access to this data, to transfer such data, to correct such data, to delete such data and to delimit its processing, and also your right to object to our processing of your data. In the event that any participant’s objection to the BLC processing his/her data results in it becoming unreasonable or excessively difficult for the BLC to continue to contact with the participant or enable the participant to access course materials, assessments etc., that objection shall be deemed to constitute a withdrawal from the BLC course.
Unless storage of the data for a longer period is mandated by applicable laws, we do not retain your data longer than necessary to enable contact with you, to tailor our offer for you, and to provide information about the activities of the BLC and our sponsor law firms. Should you have any questions, for instance as regards your right to lodge a complaint with an oversight authority, or any requests or objections, we invite you to contact us.