Understanding Legal Practice PGDip

Study level: Postgraduate
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The Postgraduate Diploma Understanding Legal Practice provides a course of study that will provide you with the knowledge and understanding of the legal principles and professional practice, as they relate to the work of a Solicitor and CILEX Lawyer.

Year of entry



Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode



1 year full-time
2 years part-time

Course code


Start date

September 2024
January 2025

Course overview

The course aims to:

  • Provide you with the knowledge, skills and related professional practice required to undertake the Solicitors’ Qualifying Exam (SQE) Part 1 and/or the CILEX professional stage (CPQ).
  • Develop your ability to apply legal knowledge and skills, to both the theory and practice of law utilising complex authentic scenarios.
  • Develop your understanding of the professional ethics requirements of a legal practitioner, based upon the Code of Conduct of the SRA and CILEX.

The course will be of interest to anyone seeking a career in professional legal practice who is a law graduate or has completed Coventry University’s PGCert in Principles of Law or a similar course.

The course is designed to prepare students to sit the Solicitors Qualifying Examination Part 1 – this is not embedded in the course. Students will have to sit the exam independently directly with the SRA.

The course is also designed to prepare students to sit the CILEX Lawyer professional examinations (CPQ) – this is not embedded in the course. Students will have to sit the exam independently directly with CILEX.

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Why you should study this course

This course aims to provide you with:

  • Preparation to sit the CILEX Professional Qualification (CPQ) and sit the Solicitors’ Qualifying Examination (SQE) part 1
  • Extensive tutor support throughout the duration of the course, with delivery mainly facilitated through group sessions
  • Flexible study options for those already working in legal practice and looking to qualify
  • The opportunity to immerse yourself in legal practice through the exploration of authentic real world case studies (subject to availability)
  • Access to Coventry Law School’s ‘Raising the Bar’ scheme, that offers you the opportunity to network with members of and gain an honest insight into the legal profession.


International Association of Law Schools

Coventry Law School is a member of the International Association of Law Schools, an association of around 160 law schools from over 55 countries, representing around 7,500 law faculty members. Having this status allows you to access a variety of international experiences, including with our partner institutions across the world.

European Law Faculties Association (ELFA)

Coventry Law School is currently a member of the European Law Faculties Association with over 250 members from Europe and beyond.

British and Irish Law Education and Technology Association

Coventry Law School is currently a member of British and Irish Law Education and Technology Association, one of the largest Technology Law associations in Europe.

These memberships are renewed annually and there is currently no intentions for these memberships to laps. However if our membership is not renewed for any reason, we would notify applicants and students as soon as possible.


Central England Law Centre

Coventry Law School collaborates with the Central England Law Centre in order to offer a powerful professional element to your learning, through our Law Employment and Advocacy clinics. Students who participate in the clinics get involved with everything that the solicitors do at the Law Centre with supervisors who are currently working in practice and experts in specific areas of law. They get hands-on-experience doing reserved legal activities, providing supervised advice and assistance to members of the public.

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What you'll study

Develop your knowledge and skills as you take the next step into your legal career.


  • This module aims to provide you with the knowledge, understanding and skills to identify and deal with a range of legal and ethical issues likely to be encountered in business. The module covers business formation, including the types of business, funding and liability. It also explores the nature and function of various company structures, the rights and obligations of shareholders and directors, and how business may come to an end. You will examine how business law principles are applied in professional legal practice, as well as the fundamentals of business ethics, including decision-making, governance and corporate social responsibility in a global economy.


  • Dispute resolution is wider than litigation and it has become common place for disputes, particularly those relating to contract and tort law, to be settled out of court through a variety of mediums. This module aims to look at the various types of arbitration and mediation that are used as a means of alternative dispute resolution. You are provided with the opportunity to learn and apply the rules and etiquette used in such forums to provide access to justice and resolve of legal disputes. This module will be highly practical in nature and will involve the development of key negotiation skills through exploration of authentic case studies.


  • This module aims to provide you with the knowledge, understanding and skills to identify and evaluate a range of legal and ethical issues likely to be encountered in property law and practice. You will examine the types of title to land, commercial and residential tenancies and the conveyancing process. In addition to exploring how the key principles, theories and concepts of property law apply in professional legal practice, you will explore the various ethical dilemmas that individuals and organisations may face when dealing with property law issues. In particular you will explore the impact of professional ethics within land transactions including money laundering.


  • This module aims to provide you with the knowledge, understanding and skills to identify and deal with a range of legal and ethical issues likely to be encountered when drafting wills and subsequently dealing with the estate when the client is deceased. This will include an examination of testate and intestate estates and related succession matters. You will cover the drafting of a will, what makes a will valid and the planning of the administration of the estate. You will then explore the rights, powers and duties of the parties involved and how the estate is distributed after the death of the client.


  • Through this module you will explore the accounting techniques used in legal practice and a range of legal issues likely to be encountered by solicitors when dealing with taxation. You will explore how accounts are compiled and analysed to enable professional legal practices to record all financial transactions and analyse these to make strategic and operational decisions relating to their business. You will examine how the ethical frameworks and accounting presumptions operate and consider the fundamentals of ethical decision making in relation to tax and the recording of financial transactions. The module will cover the main taxes in the UK i.e. income tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax, corporations tax and value-added tax. It also considers more specific taxes that only arise in certain circumstances e.g.stamp duty tax.


  • This module aims to develop an advanced knowledge and understanding of how criminal and civil law work in practice. You will acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to understand how the criminal and civil law is applied in practical situations and is governed by the Criminal Procedure Rules and Civil Procedure rules respectively. You will have the opportunity to develop your advocacy skills through practical sessions that involve role-plays that reflect the representation of clients both in the criminal and civil courts.


We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.

How you'll learn

The PGDip Understanding Legal Practice course can be taken as a 1 year full-time or 2 year part-time course.

Due to the modular design of the programme, there is a high degree of flexibility in how the course can be undertaken. Whilst we would like to give you all the information about our part-time offering here, it is tailored for each course each year depending on the number of part-time applicants. Therefore, the part-time teaching arrangements vary. Please request information about studying this course part-time.

The course will be delivered in groups by dedicated subject specialist tutors who are in or have recently been engaged in professional practice. Teaching will be delivered through a combination of online content and highly interactive workshop sessions that can be conducted face-to-face or online.

Teaching sessions will involve the use of role plays, live case studies, the use of real-world data and special legal databases, simulations and presentations. Learning throughout the course will be support by our virtual learning environment, which is currently Aula.

Teaching contact hours

On this course you can normally expect 2 hours of on demand online lectures, 2 x 2 hour synchronous workshops, 2 hours guided and 12 hours self-guided study per module.

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the University may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the University may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

Since COVID-19, we have delivered our courses in a variety of forms, in line with public authority guidance, decisions, or orders and we will continue to adapt our delivery as appropriate. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


The Postgraduate Diploma in Understanding Legal Practice is designed to prepare you for the Solicitors Qualifying Examinations (SQE) Part 1 and CILEX professional level (CPQ). These are both external examinations that you will arrange and sit independently having completed the course here at Coventry (additional fees will apply). Currently the external examinations consist of:

  • SQE 1 tests functioning legal knowledge and is assessed 100% by multiple choice questions (MCQ). This covers the knowledge of law and professional practice.
  • CILEX Professional Level Qualification is assessed by a portfolio of multiple-choice questions, short answer questions and skills-based activities.

In order to prepare you to do this, it is essential that the assessment on the PGDip Understanding Legal Practice reflects what you will encounter in those external exams. Consequently, the course is assessed by MCQ test and portfolio that may comprise of MCQ test, short answer question and skills-based activities.

International experience opportunities

You may have the opportunity to engage in Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) projects whilst studying on the course.

Throughout the course you will be encouraged to recognise the influence of different cultural and international perspectives to the application of the law and legal concepts in the UK. Modules such as Business Law and Practice, Dispute Resolution and Wills, Administration of Estates and Trusts use cases that have an international aspect thereby helping you to recognise and contextualise the global dimension to your studies.

Entry requirements

Applicants will normally be required to hold a UK law degree (minimum 2:2), the Graduate Diploma in Law (or equivalent law conversion course) or have completed the PGCert Principles of Law at Coventry University.

Alternative qualifications or work experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

We recognise a breadth of qualifications; speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

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Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.

Applicants will normally be required to hold a UK law degree (minimum 2:2), the Graduate Diploma in Law (or equivalent law conversion course),or have completed the PGCert Principles of Law at Coventry University.

Alternative qualifications or work experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall, with no component lower than 6.0. 

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course. For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

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Fees and funding

2024/25 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK £7,466 per year Request fee information
International £13,366 per year Not available

For advice and guidance on tuition fees3 and student loans visit our Postgraduate Finance page and see the university's Tuition Fee and Refund Terms and Conditions.

We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them.

The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:

  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits: £400+ per trip.
  • Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad).

*Irish student fees

The rights of Irish residents to study in the UK are preserved under the Common Travel Area arrangement. If you are an Irish student and meet the residency criteria, you can study in England, pay the same level of tuition fees as English students and utilise the Tuition Fee Loan.

**EU Support Bursary

Following the UK's exit from the European Union, we are offering financial support to all eligible EU students who wish to study an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree with us full-time. This bursary will be used to offset the cost of your tuition fees to bring them in line with that of UK students. Students studying a degree with a foundation year with us are not eligible for the bursary.


This course is delivered by Coventry University Main Campus4.

Moot Room

Moot Room

Our Moot Room gives you the opportunity to develop those vital and practical legal skills. You can practise your legal skills in a realistic setting, as well as having the chance to take part in mooting competitions.

Legal clinic

Legal Clinic

Use the Legal Clinic to develop your practical legal skills and help you stand out in your future career. You will have access to 'real' clients and work alongside trained solicitors and lawyers.

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Routes into a Legal Career

Find out more about how Coventry University can kick start your legal career through our preparation courses.

Careers and opportunities

On successful completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • Understand and critically evaluate knowledge of legal principles, concepts and theories as they apply to professional practice.
  • Understand the professional ethical requirements for the legal profession and apply ethical decision-making.
  • Draw reasoned conclusions through the application of legal principles and knowledge and legal practice to complex authentic problems, whilst tolerating ambiguity and recognising alternative legal and practical outcomes.
  • Communicate effectively and professionally, by conveying and explaining legal information, ideas and arguments in appropriate contexts to a range of specialist and non-specialist audiences e.g., supervising legal professionals, clients.
  • Identify and critically evaluate relevant information from primary and secondary legal sources, using both digital and non-digital resources, whilst adhering to principles of academic integrity.
  • Demonstrate self-management, including through reflective practice, make effective use of feedback, and work independently or collaboratively as appropriate.
  • Understand the role and responsibilities of the various branches of the legal profession and how the UK legal qualifications apply both in the UK and around the world.

This course is designed to help facilitate a graduate moving into a career as either a solicitor or CILEX Lawyer and as such, prepares you, in part, for the professional level assessments in these two legal career destinations.

On successful completion of the course, it is anticipated that you will undertake the assessments for your chosen career destination and transition into your chosen field of professional legal practice, subject to meeting the requirements of the relevant regulatory bodies.

In addition to working as a solicitor or CILEX Lawyer, a wide variety of other career destinations are available to graduates due to the highly transferable nature of the skills developed on the course.

Where our graduates work

Previous law graduates from Coventry Law School have gone on to work at a wide variety of organisations and firms including:

  • DAC Beachcroft
  • NFU Mutual
  • PwC
  • Deloitte
  • Linklaters
  • Countrywide Tax and Trust Corporation
  • Oracle
  • Squire Patton Boggs
  • Stobbs
  • Co-op Legal Services

Further study

After completion of this course, further graduate level study such as a PhD may be considered.

How to apply

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London, Coventry University Wrocław, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough, and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the University) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University.


    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or international opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be unpaid and/or subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel, public authority guidance, decisions or orders and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand any visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For international students, we may increase fees each year, but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.


    Facilities are subject to availability. Access to some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and/or may have reduced availability or restrictions where the university is following public authority guidance, decisions or orders.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the current 2024/2025 contract is available on the website. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.

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