New law course to target “critical” shortage

Penglais campus

Penglais campus

12 May 2006

Wednesday 12 April, 2006
New law course to target “critical” lawyer shortage
A new course is being launched by the University of Wales, Aberystwyth to alleviate the increasing shortage of qualified lawyers working in small towns and rural areas in Wales.

The one year Legal Practice Course (LPC) is designed for students who have completed their first degree or equivalent qualification required by the Law Society, and will be offered for the first time by the University's Law Department from September 2006.

A recent study by the UK Centre for Legal Education highlighted the trend for qualified solicitors to work in large practices in larger towns and cities, making it increasingly difficult for people living in small towns and rural areas to access legal services. By offering the course in Aberystwyth it is hoped that students will take the opportunity to remain in Wales and practice as solicitors thus addressing the legal skills shortages and need to retain lawyers in Wales.

The Legal Practice Course (LPC) is a requirement for anyone who wishes to practice as a solicitor in England or Wales. This professional qualification is a key element in the vocational training to become a solicitor. The Law Society of England and Wales sets standards for LPC providers and dictates the core structure of the course ensuring quality and consistency across providers.

That Aberystwyth has been validated to run the course represents a vote of confidence, by the legal professional bodies, in the University's ability to provide quality professional training. Developing the facilities and structures necessary to provide the LPC represents a significant financial commitment from the University to the community and legal profession in Wales and beyond.

The course will be run in collaboration with an existing programme at Swansea University. It is thought that the shared expertise will benefit students in both programmes. The staff involved will be working to ensure the exchange of good practice, teaching and staff development.

Professor John Williams, Head of the Law Department at the University, said
“This is an exciting development for the University and an important step in addressing a critical skill shortage in Wales. The development of the Legal Practice Course at Aberystwyth opens the way for existing students to continue their professional training here and for new students to experience the many advantages of studying in a more personal environment.

The Department of Law is highly respected in the Legal community in Wales and around the UK and many firms have contacted us wanting to be involved. We will be using some private practitioners to teach on the course as this adds a valuable ‘real life’ perspective. The aim of the course is to prepare students to practice as solicitors so the hands on knowledge of practitioners is invaluable.”

The course will incorporate a ‘Legal Wales’ focus with the aim of featuring the use of the Welsh language in the teaching and assessment.

Preparations are currently underway for the first intake of trainees in September 2006. Anyone wishing to find out more about the course and how to apply should contact the Legal Practice Course Administrator Rachel Tod on email or phone (01970) 622857.