Some institutions are charging 150% more than the rate of inflation for the two courses required to qualify as solicitors and barristers
Law schools are charging as much as 150% above the historic rate of inflation for the two vocational courses required to qualify as lawyers in England and Wales, exclusive Legal Cheek research has revealed.
Fees over the last 15 years for the Legal Practice Course (LPC) for solicitors and what is now the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) for barristers have rocketed, with students in London being particularly hard hit.
London’s City University law school and BPP Law School’s London branch lead the pack in outstripping inflation rates.
City University’s LPC fee is currently pegged at £13,500, or 150% more than what the cost would have been if it had simply risen in line with inflation.
In pure cash terms — in 2000-01, the law school’s LPC fee was £6,400, which would have risen to only £9,600 in line with inflation. However, the actual fee is £3,900 higher than that figure.
Likewise, the fee for BPP’s old Bar Vocational Course in 2000 was set at £7,950. If it had kept up with inflation, the fee today would be around the £12,000 mark; however, the current fee is a wafer 20 quid shy of £18,000.
Those two are not the only institutions to have imposed inflation-busting course fee rises. The University of Law’s current BPTC fees are nearly 120% above inflation when compared with its 2002 fees, while its LPC fee is slightly less than 110% above that rate.
City University has also dramatically increased its BPTC fees — by 130% more than the inflation rate since 2000 to £17,500.
The figures emerged from Legal Cheek’s scouring of old law school websites. Through the miracle of technology, our researchers have been able to pinpoint the fee pages of their sites from as long ago as the turn of the century.
Analysis shows that the London law schools have more of a taste for outpacing inflation than their regional counterparts — but that’s not to say provincial players are keeping to cost-of-living rises.
The current BPTC fee of £13,800 at Nottingham Law School is 86% above the inflation rate since 2001-02. While that institution’s current LPC fee of £10,900 is about 60% above the mark.
Northumbria University’s law school — which in 2000 boasted that had the lowest LPC fee of any top institution with a charge of £5,200 — has a current fee for the solicitor course of £9,400. That increase is also about 60% more than inflation.
The University of Law declined to comment on any element of its fee structuring, while City also opted not to issue a comment; however, BPP’s top official did address the issue.
“BPP’s courses in this area have changed significantly over the last decade,” law school dean Peter Crisp told Legal Cheek.
“Law firms and students now demand the highest standards and our LPC programmes have been adapted to incorporate a range of new skills required by the top practices. As a result, the majority of the leading law firms choose to send their trainees to BPP Law School.
“Similarly, the BPTC course delivers far more than the minimum requirements set out by the Bar Council and the Bar Standard Board. As a result, more BPP students attain a pupillage than from any other law school according to the BSB.”