Diploma in English Law & Legal Skills (“DELLS”) Regulations 2021-2022
The following regulations shall apply to all participants studying for the 1-year DELLS diploma in 2021-2022 with the British Law Centre (“BLC”). They reflect the agreements concluded between Juris Angliae Scientia (“JAS”), as course provider, and the universities which co-organise the Diploma course (“Host Institutions”).
- COURSE CURRICULUM
The Diploma provides instruction in the following subject areas by providing specially-written written materials and delivering lectures, small-group classes and training exercises, conducted on weekends or evenings. More is said about the timetable for each BLC location in the Calendar section below.
|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
|Client interviewing, written advocacy, oral advocacy on non-factual issues (points of law), analysis of precedents
|Mooting, preparation of written submissions (‘skeleton arguments’)
To successfully graduate the Diploma, each Diploma Participant must pass a written assignment in each of the substantive law modules (See ‘Methods of Assessment’ in Section 4 below).
A. General structure of the Diploma
Diploma Participants are registered on a dedicated website, from which they can access specially-prepared workbooks or other written materials on each of the substantive law modules and legal skills. The website and materials are frequently updated and reviewed.
Diploma Participants are invited to participate in lectures, given by the BLC teaching team or special guests (including experts from the legal professions and renowned academic institutions in the UK). These are also recorded and made available on the BLC website. In total, there are approximately 80 lectures (each 90 mins) during the Diploma course (i.e. 100 hrs of available lecture materials). To facilitate the ability to attend lectures, they take place at 18.30-20.00 during week days and are subsequently made available via the BLC website.
Diploma Participants take part in small-group classes to complement and deepen understanding of the legal issues focused on in lectures and written materials. There are 8 small-group teaching sessions throughout the Diploma, each lasting 4hrs (i.e. 32 hours of small-group classes). Diploma Participants also be invited to participate in other extra-curricular activities throughout the year if they wish to expand the amount of active learning hours they receive.
The content and structure of particular teaching sessions may differ slightly, but the standard approach is for each 4hr session to be divided into two halves: 2hrs of substantive law teaching, followed by 2hrs of legal skills training. Optional skills training sessions are organised in addition to the small-group classes, so Diploma Participants may expand the amount of skills training they receive if they so wish.
The 8 teaching sessions during the Diploma course are delivered in a 4+4 structure, in which at least 4 teaching visits are physical visits and up to 4 teaching visits are conducted virtually (i.e. online). Teachings sessions take place approximately once per month, in order to give some preparation time between sessions.
Before each teaching session, Diploma Participants receive clear information about the materials they should read or watch in order to be best prepared for that session. They will also receive a list of questions or tasks that will be the focus of the visit and which should be prepared in advance. The questions and exercises are real-life and practical, in order to help develop a practical understanding of the relevant law or skill[s] being taught at that session.
B. Legal Skills
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 skills training aims to encourage active learning and to help Diploma Participants to develop their own legal skills portfolio. Skill-training sessions focus on active participation in skills-orientated exercises or workshops. This might involve individual work or collaborating as part of a team asked to deal with a particular client issue (e.g. Seller or Buyer in negotiations or drafting exercises, or Prosecution v Defence in oral advocacy exercises). Some advanced preparation may be required. This may be reading background materials on the relevant skill, or reviewing and re-drafting contract clauses etc. Due to the range of skills being targeted, the structure of these exercises and the nature of the Participants’ participation therein 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.
C. Small-class teaching sessions
As noted above, there are 8 x 4hr teaching sessions during the Diploma, at least 4 of which will be face-to-face and up to 4 of which will be taught online. Amongst other things, the possibility of online teaching enables the BLC to involve legal lecturers and professionals based in the UK, who otherwise would not be able to participate in the course. Each of the monthly small-class teaching sessions seeks to achieve the following objectives:
- Clarifying the substantive law content – we aim to ensure that Diploma Participants understand the law dealt with in the written materials and lectures. We also elaborate and explain any issues that may be causing difficulties, and respond to any other queries the Diploma Participants may have.
- Building confidence to make legal arguments and practically apply the law to factual situations – a substantial part of each visit is devoted to developing Diploma Participants’ ability and confidence in applying the law. Typically, this involves analysis of ‘problem questions’ (i.e. questions in which a series of events and circumstances affecting fictional characters is described). Diploma Participants work together with the BLC tutor to advise these characters on their 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 BLC teacher will support and guide the process, explaining the approach expected in English university education when dealing with such questions. Developing such skills is not only important preparation for dealing with the written assignments each Diploma Participant must complete to graduate the Diploma, but it also helps to develop a legal skill that is crucial for every lawyer.
- Developing practical legal skills – each teaching sessions typically includes an exercise to develop a practical legal skill such as advocacy, negotiations, public speaking and presentation, contract drafting, or legal writing.
Attendance and participation in classes
Participants should aim to attend all of the 8 teaching sessions. However, we accept that there may be reasons when this may not be possible. If you know that you will be unable to attend any particular teaching session[s], please inform us in advance. Where the relevant teaching session is happening online, we may be able to offer you the possibility to attend the same online teaching session on a different date.
All lectures and any online classes (taught as part of the 4+4 teaching structure mentioned above) are recorded and made available to participants who were unable to attend any particular class in person.
D. Diploma Timetable and Website Calendar
Each BLC location has a slightly different timetable. Diploma Participants are provided with a timetable at the beginning of the Diploma course showing the dates/times of the lectures and the 8 small-class teaching sessions. An online calendar is also available on the website (‘EVENTS‘). If any amendments are required to the original timetable, participants will be consulted and given as much prior notice as possible, but we aim to avoid to avoid this to the fullest extent possible
- COURSE FEES
All Diploma Participants receive Payment Instructions on how to pay course fees (e.g. relevant bank account numbers, payment dates, etc.). These instructions constitute an integral part of these Course Regulations.
Course Fees and Instalment Possibilities
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 BLC location. It is possible to sign an Instalment Agreement and establish an individual timetable for paying the Diploma course fees. Usually this involves paying 50% of the total fees before the course begins and the remaining 50% in February, approximately half way through the course. Anyone commencing the Diploma course and signing the BLC’s Instalment Agreement acknowledges that they are obliged to pay the full course fees even if they subsequently fail to fully 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.
Important note on banking charges
All course fees must be paid by bank transfer to a UK-based bank. If any charges are applicable in connection with such transfer (whether imposed by the Participant’s bank or the JAS bank in the UK), the Participant must pay the costs of both their own bank and JAS’s bank in the UK. If JAS receives an amount less that the course fees payable to it, the Participant shall remain liable to make another transfer to make up any shortfall in the received amount.
It is possible for Diploma Participants to withdraw their registration for the course at any point prior to the date of the first teaching session at their centre. If a Diploma Participant has already paid all or part of the course fees, they should complete the withdrawal form to obtain a refund.
If we inform you that, for any reason, it has become impossible to conduct at least 4 of the 8 teaching visits in the traditional face-to-face format, you will then be entitled to defer your course participation until the following academic year (at no additional cost) or to resign from the course altogether and receive a return of fees representing 12.5% of total fees for each small-group teaching session that remains to be delivered at your BLC centre. In order to be valid, your decision to defer or withdraw must be notified to us in writing by no later than 14 days from the date on which we informed you that it has become impossible to conduct at least 4 of the 8 teaching visits physically. If you choose to withdraw, your written notification must be done by sending us the completed withdrawal form.
Incomplete Studies and Returners’ Fees
We aim to ensure that all Diploma Participants are in a position to graduate the Diploma course in the academic year for which they registered, but sometimes this is not possible (e.g. due to other commitments, personal illness etc.) If a Diploma Participant fails to complete the course in the academic year in which they commenced their BLC studies (i.e. if they fail to successfully complete all four of the written assignments set during the course), they are entitled to complete the Diploma by passing any uncompleted assignment(s) in the subsequent academic year. This is subject to payment of a fee (“Returners’ Fee”). The level of the Returners’ Fee in 2021-2022 is €100 per uncompleted assignment, subject to a capped maximum amount of €400. Anyone who extends their BLC studies in this way and pays the appropriate Returners’ Fee is granted full access to the website (inc. any updated materials) and is welcome to join any/all lectures, classes and workshops that are being offered on the Diploma during that extended period of studies.
The possibility to return to the BLC and complete missing assignment(s) is only available during the year immediately following the academic year in which the Participant originally commenced their studies on the Diploma, or in the subsequent academic year.
e.g. A Participant who originally commenced the Diploma in the 2021-22 academic year but did not fully complete all assignments in that academic year would be entitled to return and complete the Diploma during the 2022-23 or 2023-24 academic years, but not later.
Diploma Participants must pass one written assessment in each of the four substantive law modules taught (i.e. 4 written assignment in total) , plus complete an online research exercise, in order to receive the Diploma in English Law & Legal Skills.
Written assignments are either an essay-style questions, involving discussion of a specific legal hypothesis, or problem-based questions, requiring participants to advise fictional clients on their rights and obligations arising from a given factual scenario.
There are two possibilities to pass each of the written assignments in any given academic year (Topic 1 and Topic 2).
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 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 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. This process can last for 2-3 months, so graduation is usually confirmed in autumn of the year after which the Diploma was completed.
Failed assignments and retakes
Any participant who submits and 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 Diploma Participants who successfully pass the written assignments will be recommended for the course Diploma. The formal decision to award the Diploma is subject to completion of an external examiners process (as mentioned above), following which, Participants are formally informed of their entitlement to graduate and, if applicable at the relevant BLC location, of the details of any graduation ceremony. This process can last for 2-3 months, so graduation is usually confirmed in autumn of the year after which the Diploma was completed.
Graduates of the Diploma course shall receive the following:
A Course Diploma signed by senior representatives from Juris Angliae Scientia (currently Prof. Richard Fentiman – director of JAS and Professor of Private International Law at the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Law). At most BLC locations, the Diploma is also jointly awarded by the Host Institution (i.e. the university at which the teaching sessions took place).
(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 (JAS) and the interpretation and application of the Diploma regulations is governed by English law to the fullest permissible extent.
By commencing studies on the Diploma Course, Participants express their consent to these Course Regulations, including the rules on the 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 you submit 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.