London South Bank University (GDL)

The Legal Cheek View

Just a 20-minute walk from the Royal Courts of Justice, London South Bank University is located in the rapidly-changing Elephant & Castle district of the capital. Its big selling point has been price, with course fees far lower than elsewhere in the capital at £5,800.

South Bank is known for promoting access to legal education: “It deserves praise for making the course so affordable – it gives anyone with ambition the chance to succeed in life,” one recent South Bank GDL graduate tells us.

Slanted a bit more towards human rights and public law, studying the GDL at South Bank is a different experience to that of other providers in London. You’ll be part of the “school-wide focus” on key initiatives such as “social justice” and “global responsibility”. The law school sees itself as an “ambitious” project, which encourages its students and staff alike “to make a difference in the real world”. The GDL bottom line remains the same, though – i.e. you’ll essentially be cramming a law degree into nine months. So expect to work hard.

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To gain case management and client care experience, students are given the opportunity to get involved with the student-led Legal Advice Clinic. “No other legal work experience I have done has given me this level of responsibility and client contact,” one South Bank GDL student tells us. The clinic offers specialist legal advice in family, housing, social welfare and employment law matters – something to consider if you’re thinking about going into these practice areas in the future.

South Bank supplies its law students with all teaching materials, including an iPad Mini each, which “is one of the best things about the Law Department”. The iPads are issued for law students to access the course materials, which come in the form of e-books as well as textbooks. These resources enable students “to access materials readily and be in touch with everything”. Students also have access to e-quizzes and podcasts of all the lectures.

Another good thing about South Bank is that it attracts regular high-profile speakers. There’s “always someone interesting visiting us to deliver a talk,” students tell us. Guests have included the likes of Burma human rights campaigner Vera Baird, barrister Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC, director of JUSTICE Roger Smith, and even Lady Hale herself.

And if the GDL gets too intense, you can go up the road towards the Thames and take a walk along the river.

Key Info

Full time fees £6,393
Part time fees £3,196
Entry requirements 2:2
Full time places 35
Part time places 35

Part-time fees are paid annually over two years.