Manchester Metropolitan University

Graduate Diploma in Law (Common Professional Examination)

2017 entry

Features and benefits of the course

Mooting opportunities

Mooting at Manchester Law School is part of a specialised unit on the GDL course, and we have become a leading centre for mooting and advocacy in the UK. The mooting society at the law school is extremely active, organising regular mooting sessions and debates supported by a team of expert tutors. Our Mooting teams have competed at and the highest level from 2013-16 and have enjoyed regular national competition success.

Award-winning Faculty environment

Manchester Law School is an inspiring and highly professional environment in which to study, housing modern lecture theatres, study zones, legal libraries and a mock courtroom. You will benefit from an award-winning Faculty building, including spacious study and IT zones, laptop counters, cafes and coffee shops, and free WiFi.  Highly modern facilities are available to you on our thriving campus at the heart of the UK’s second city.

Top quality teaching by professionals

You will be taught by experienced professionals and will receive the best possible teaching and direct access to the profession. You’ll benefit from tutors who have a real passion for their subjects.

Placement options

There are opportunities for GDL students to take part in pro bono (voluntary) work experience in a wide range of areas. Manchester Law School is continually adding to our portfolio of pro bono partners, to extend and improve the opportunities for GDL students to experience legal work first-hand.

About the course

Your GDL teaching team consists of highly qualified academic professionals who are dedicated to their subject. Some of the team you will be taught by include:

Annapurna Waughray PhD, LLM, PGCE, MA | Reader in Human Rights Law

Jeffrey Hill Barrister-at-Law, LLB | Senior Lecturer, Barrister (Gray's Inn)

You will begin by developing a strong understanding of the English Legal System, alongside an introduction to legal research and law-related information technology.

You will then move onto the Foundations of Legal Knowledge, a series of units that will introduce core legal concepts. This knowledge will lay the foundation for your future training at LPC or BPTC level and is fundamental to anyone working within the legal world. The Legal Skills and Practice module is specifically designed to help you to apply the law to practical scenarios and to bridge the gap between academic and professional study, particularly in the skill of mooting.

These courses are delivered at the University’s purpose-built Law School by a highly experienced academic team from a range of professional backgrounds. Your tuition will be delivered through a variety of methods including lectures, workshops, directed learning and electronic learning.

There is the opportunity to expand your legal network through attendance at our guest speaker programme and to hone your legal skills through involvement in one of our voluntary legal work schemes that offer pro bono legal services to those who would otherwise be unable to access them.  

The course runs from September to June, but prior to this you will receive an induction pack including a link to our online revision and self-testing resources. Our induction programme is designed to provide you with a sound understanding of the English legal system, as well as introduce you to Manchester Law School and the facilities we offer.

"Our GDL programme not only gives students an excellent academic education, but we also encourage students to develop core legal skills such as advocacy and problem solving through participation in our excellent Mooting Society." 

Siobhan Leonard | GDL Programme Director

"I think this course and the staff are doing a fantastic job in preparing graduates that are ready for a professional career. This course is geared towards being a practitioner, with hands-on teaching about how to apply law, which goes far beyond simply understanding it." 

Minos Christodoulou | Part-time GDL student

Typical units of study may include

Year 1

The GDL units are set up to meet the requirements for study of the seven foundations of legal knowledge, plus an additional area of legal study, legal skills and practice.

Core Units
Contract Law

This unit considers the legal principles relevant to the formation and continuing validity of binding contracts and develops the legal skills of legal research, application and problem solving. This unit aims to equip you with the knowledge and understanding of the main principles and concepts of Contract law.

Criminal Law

Criminal law seeks to enable you to gain an understanding of the key components of the subject. This includes general principles of criminal liability, offences against the person and property and general defences to criminal liability.

Equity and Trusts

Equity and Trusts Law encompasses many areas of law and in practice can provide solutions to otherwise insuperable problems. A grasp of the applicable concepts and principles is essential to an effective understanding of other areas of law.

Land Law

This unit considers the legal principles that underpin land and property law. The unit aims to equip you with knowledge and understanding of these principles in order to analyse a factual scenario and provide advice to a notional client. It will also help students to develop legal research skills and the ability to undertake critical analysis of the law. The syllabus will include the following topics: the land registration system, rights of occupiers, mortgages, adverse possession, easements and other rights, freehold covenants, co-ownership and leases.

Law of the European Union

The law of European Union unit covers both the principal institutional and substantive aspects of the law. The institutions of the E.U., the preliminary rulings procedure, primacy of E.U., actions before national courts and the enforcement of E.U. law, direct actions before the Court of Justice and judicial review, the free movement of persons, citizenship of the E.U., the free movement of goods and E.U. social policy.

Law of Torts

The unit studies the meaning, nature, functions and ramifications of the law of torts. The syllabus covers diverse topics including all forms of trespass to the person and associated torts; negligence and its special application to economic loss and psychiatric injury; Occupiers' Liability; Product Liability; defamation; Nuisance; Liability under the Rule in Rylands v Fletcher; Causing Loss by Unlawful Means and Employers Liability.

Legal Skills and Practice

This unit introduces English Legal System/Legal Method and professional legal skills including analysis, problem solving and legal research. You independently research evidence/procedure/ethics. The aim is to introduce and test your knowledge of the English Legal System (ELS) and allow exposure to an additional field of law, which is practically applied with assessment via a moot (courtroom presentation).


Public Law

This unit concerns the law relating to the practice of government and the rights of individuals against the state. The unit includes study of the constitutional impact of E.U. membership and the European Court of Human Rights. The unit is intended to provide awareness of the law concerning the process of government, the institutions of government and the nature of the UK Constitution. Additionally, the unit provides an understanding of the rights of individuals against the state and an appreciation of the legal remedies available to an aggrieved citizen.

Programme Review

Each programme of study that we offer undergoes an annual review to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. In addition, we undertake a major review of the programme, normally at 6-yearly intervals, but this can take place at a more frequent interval where required. Applicants should note that the programme currently provided may be subject to change as a result of the review process. We only make changes where we consider it necessary to do so or where we feel that certain changes are in the best interests of students and to enhance the quality of provision. Occasionally, we have to make changes for reasons outside our control. Where there are changes which may materially affect the current programme content and/or structure, offer holders will be informed.

Assessment details

You will receive informal assessment feedback from your tutors throughout the course. Your final result is based on seven end-of-year examinations, two pieces of written coursework and a moot.

Additional Information About this Course

Professional regulators in the legal sector are currently conducting an extensive consultation about legal education and training. This includes review about the routes and qualifications to become a barrister or solicitor. The current route of a qualifying law degree (QLD) or the GDL and the BPTC to become a barrister will remain in place until summer 2017. The current route of a QLD and LPC to become a solicitor will remain in place until summer 2018.

Teaching Staff

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject. Details of departmental staff can be found at:

Typical entry requirements

You should have an honours degree from the UK or the ROI. International students with a degree are eligible to apply as long as equivalence to a UK/ROI honours degree is demonstrated.

International applicants or students without a degree but with work experience should contact for further details on entry requirements. Due to the popularity of the GDL, preference is usually given to higher classifications.

International students, please visit or contact

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

How do I apply for this course?

Full-time course applications should be made to the Central Applications Board:

Part-time course applications:

You will need to download and complete the application form and email it to:

Download the GDL Referee Guidance Notes here

Career options after the course

With a focus on simulating realistic legal practice scenarios, our graduate diploma in law has been carefully designed to help you think and behave like a legal professional from the outset. The Legal Skills and Practice unit focuses on professional legal skills including analysis, problem solving and legal research, as well as a practically assessed moot in our mock courtroom. 

"The GDL is very much geared to preparing you for what would be your professional life; I like the fact that we are all treated as professionals."

Ciara Bartlam | GDL student 2015-16

Dedicated careers support 

The Law School's dedicated careers adviser will provide assistance with initiating new links to the profession. You will also receive support with careers from your tutors and you will have the opportunity to increase your links with members of the Northern Circuit.

The wider Faculty's Careers and Employability Service is at your disposal throughout your GDL, and up to three years after you graduate.  With a focus on developing and enhancing your employability skills, there is a range of careers support services on offer during your time here including Professional Development Weeks and Pro Bono and Employability Fairs twice a year. 

Further information on the study of law

Professional regulators in the legal sector are currently conducting an extensive consultation about legal education and training.

This includes review about the routes and qualifications to become a barrister or solicitor.

The current route of a qualifying law degree (QLD) or the GDL and the BPTC to become a barrister will remain in place until summer 2018. The final decision on the BPTC is due to be made in Spring 2017, in time for the new approach to training to start taking effect from the 2018/19 academic year. Applications will commence for the new programmes in Autumn 2017.

The current route of a QLD or the GDL and LPC to become a solicitor will remain in place until August 2019. Students who have started the current route (QLD/GDL and LPC) before September 2019, will have the choice between whether to qualify under the old route (subject to availability) or qualify under the new route. The final date to qualify under the old route to qualification will be 2024.  

Confirmation of Regulator

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Important Notice

This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate and up to date. Please note that our programmes are subject to review and development on an ongoing basis. Changes may sometimes be necessary. For example, to comply with the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies or as a result of student feedback or external examiners’ reports. We also need to ensure that our courses are dynamic and current and that the content and structure maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of the student experience.

Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us.

The provision of education by the University is subject to terms and conditions of enrollment and contract. The current Terms and Conditions Applicable to the provision of the University’s Educational Services are available online. When a student enrolls with us, their study and registration at the University will be governed by various regulations, policies and procedures. It is important that applicants/students familiarize themselves with our Terms and Conditions and the Key Contract Documents referred to within. Applicants will be provided with access to an up to date version at offer stage. This can be found within the Information for Offer Holders document.