Oxford Brookes University is shutting down its Legal Practice Course (LPC) this summer, with no 2013-2014 course from September. The decision means that students mid-way through the two year part-time Oxford Brookes LPC will be left in limbo. The law school's head, Meryll Dean, says that she is in discussion with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) about ways to enable those students to complete the course. Her email to students, which was leaked to Legal Cheek this morning, is paraphrased below...
The email begins:
"I am writing to you because the University, in common with other universities, regularly reviews its range of courses. As a result of these reviews we often introduce new courses and on occasion withdraw others on the basis of lack of demand or for other pressing operational reasons. I am sorry to write and inform you that, having recently undertaken such a review, the university has taken the decision to close the LPC and there will be no September 2013 entry. The decision to close the LPC was taken by the university on a business case basis. The LPC at Brookes is an excellent course taught by excellent and committed staff. The decision does not reflect upon either the course or the staff."
Dean goes onto explain that Oxford Brookes is "in discussion with the SRA" to ensure that part-time students are able to complete the LPC and that appropriate arrangements are made for any resit examinations.
Dean adds that "the precise detail has yet to be decided" with meetings with students to be scheduled where the situation will be discussed. The email concludes:
"I consider it important that you hear about the LPC closure directly from me rather than second hand. Please accept my apologies for any disruption or uncertainty this may cause and rest assured that the course team and myself are working hard on finding an appropriate solution for your year 2."
Update 5pm – Official statement from Oxford Brookes Law School head Meryll Dean:
"Following a recent consultation, a decision has been made to close Oxford Brookes’ Legal Practice Course (LPC) to further recruitment.
"The LPC is a respected course taught by committed staff, but unfortunately a steady decline in applications over the past five years has meant that the programme is no longer tenable. This decline in applications is one which is mirrored nationally across the sector.
"We are working closely with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place for those who are currently studying as part of the course. The decision to close the course was not taken lightly and the University is committed to ensuring students and staff are fully supported during this time."