Applying for a Graduate Diploma in Law
The GDL is for applicants with a degree in any subject wishing to take their first steps into law by obtaining a conversion course in UK law.
Entry requirements for the GDL
- A UK degree (usually a 2:2 or above) in any discipline or equivalent qualification
- Overseas graduates who have had their qualifications verified by UK Naric
- A good command of both spoken and written English (ref. section on IELTS)
- Mature non-graduate applicants - please refer to websites below for further information on becoming a solicitor or barrister
Please note: Overseas graduates wishing to qualify as a barrister should apply for a Certificate of Academic Standing from the Bar Standards Board (BSB) before beginning a GDL course.
Can I apply for a GDL if I don’t have a 2:2 undergraduate degree result?
Although the institutions ask for a minimum 2:2 in order to study for the GDL, they will consider each application individually.
Applicants should complete the application in full, providing as much detail as possible in the personal statement, including any mitigating factors or problems they have experienced during their studies which may have affected their end results. They should also contact one of their academic tutors to ask them to provide a full supporting reference. The institutions will then be able to take everything into consideration when viewing the application.
Please note that CAB does not hold a list of providers who will accept applicants who do not meet the usual requirement in obtaining at least a lower second (2:2) in their degree studies.
Do I need a certificate of academic standing if I have a non-UK degree?
For those with degrees gained outside of England and Wales who wish to apply for a GDL with the intention of going on to do the LPC, a certificate of academic standing is not required. Applicants should apply as normal through CAB, including their degree transcript(s).
Applicants with degrees gained outside of England and Wales who wish to apply for a GDL with the intention of going on to do the BPTC, should apply for a Certificate of Academic Standing from the Bar Standards Board (BSB) before they start their GDL. Please liaise directly with the BSB.
Do I need to get my non-UK degree verified by UK Naric before I apply?
International applicants do not need to have their grades verified by UK Naric prior to completing their studies. (Please note that CAB does not verify international degrees.)
Many, if not most, institutions will ask applicants with overseas degrees to have their qualifications verified by UK Naric as a condition of any offers made to ensure their studies are equivalent to a UK degree. Applicants should include in their application any transcripts/certificates they have. The institutions will then let the applicant know if and when they require verification by UK Naric further on in the admissions process.
Can I apply to do a GDL if I don’t have a degree?
While the SRA will accept applicants without undergraduate degrees but who have a GDL to pursue a career as a solicitor, the Bar Standards Board (BSB) does not; an undergraduate degree in all circumstances.
For applicants without a degree who wish to qualify as a solicitor, please refer to the SRA website.
Please refer to the Bar Standards Boards website for their entry requirements.
Can I apply for course exemptions?
For applicants wishing to pursue a career as a solicitor, enquiries about eligibility for partial exemptions should be made through the relevant course provider in the first instance. If you wish to apply for a full exemption, please contact the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
For applicants wishing to pursue a career as a barrister, enquiries about eligibility for partial or full exemptions, should be made to the Bar Standards Board (BSB).
Can I apply if I have a criminal conviction?
Having a criminal conviction could affect your eligibility to qualify as a solicitor or a barrister. Applicants with a criminal conviction are advised to contact the SRA (for solicitors) or BSB (for barristers) before embarking on their route to qualification.
How does the application process work?
- Once you have registered, you will be asked to select which course you want to apply for – the GDL or LPC. (Please refer to course route map and eligibility requirements.) When you have made your course selection, an online application form will be created for you, pre-populated with the details you have registered with.
- The GDL form is divided into 10 sections:
- Personal Details
- Residence Details
- Career Intention
- Course Selection
- Academic History
- Employment History
- Motivation and Personal Statement
- Course fee payer
- Reference Request
You may complete the various sections of the form in your own time and in whatever order you wish, however, each section needs to be completed and saved before you can submit your form.
Please note: It is important that when you come to nominate a referee, you read the guidance notes on choosing a suitable referee carefully and that you check that your proposed referee is able and willing to provide a reference for you before you enter their details into your form. When you submit your form, a reference request and login details are generated and automatically sent to your referee so that they can submit a reference for you.
- When you have submitted your form, the person you have nominated as a referee will receive an automated reference request.
Please note: Your form will not be released to the institutions until your referee has submitted a reference. It is the responsibility of applicants to check that their referee has received the reference request. If there are any problems, please contact the CAB team at email@example.com.
- After your reference has been submitted, your form will be released to your chosen institutions.
- CAB has no role in the process once your form has been released and it is the institutions themselves who will contact you to advise you of their decision when they have considered your application. We usually advise applicants to allow 5-10 working days for the institutions to respond, however, we are aware that this can take longer during busy periods.