The number of students enrolling on the LPC is down 8.4% this year — with the course on average only 44% full

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Amid continued concerns about the numbers of training contracts available, fewer students are doing the full-time Legal Practice Course (LPC) than at any time in recent history.

According to new figures from the Central Applications Board, a mere 5,198 students enrolled at one of the 27 LPC providers for the 2013-14 course — a drop of 475 students from last year. The 8.4% fall is almost double the decline which occurred in 2012-13, when LPC enrolments dropped by 4% to 5,673 places.

To place these numbers in context, in 2008-09 10,933 students applied to do the LPC.

The sharp drop off in enthusiasm for the course means that, across providers, the LPC is only 44% full — providing an insight, perhaps, into why BPP Law School may have decided to offer its Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) graduates free LPC places if they fail to bag a pupillage.

Hinting that much lower LPC enrolments may be a long term trend, BPP Law School chief executive Peter Crisp said: “The figures reflect a market correction, with the number of students enrolling on courses beginning to match more closely the number of training contracts available.”

The University of the West of England saw the biggest drop in full-time LPC enrolments, with a 41% fall in numbers since last year. City University, meanwhile, bucked the trend with a 20% rise in intake.