The DPLP is a practical transaction-based learning programme that aims to prepare suitably qualified graduates for legal practice in Scotland. Building on our stong links with the legal profession, we see the Diploma as the crucial bridge from your law degree to the world of practice. Look forward to working in a close collegiate learning environment, and develop lasting professional networks.
This programme is studied on campus.
The DPLP satisfies the requirements of Professional Education and Training Stage 1 (PEAT 1) of the professional training programme for solicitors in Scotland. Completion of PEAT 1 is required for entry into the legal profession in Scotland. The Diploma is taught over the acdemic year, across two semesters and classes take place during business hours between 9.00am and 6.00pm. All students must complete and pass the four core courses: Conveyancing, Private Client, Litigation, Business Environment and Ethics, and the reflective diary exercises in semester one before progressing to the elective courses in semester two. The course starts in September with a comprehensive induction programme focusing on skill based exercises including negotiation, interviewing and team working. Designed to give an insight into real world legal practice, the induction includes a visit to Aberdeen Sherriffs court with talks by a Sherriff, Fiscal and legal professionals, plus the opportunity to attend court proceedings.
In the second semester 4 elective courses are chosen from a comprehensive list (please see course information), enabling you to tailor your study to your interests and needs. Detailed information on the elective courses is provided in November prior to selecting courses.
Across the two semester the transaction based learning approach enables you to build on your knowldege and skills week by week. The course content is centred around a number of different activities including interactive seminars, role play and group work. The programme structure and exercises seek to replicate real life legal practice to esnure your transition into the working world is as seamless as possible.
Key Programme Information
At a Glance
- Learning Mode
- On Campus Learning
- Degree Qualification
- 9 months
- Study Mode
- Full Time
- Start Month
What You'll Study
For detailed information about the compulsory and elective courses please see below.
- Semester 1
- Conveyancing (LS50DA) - 15 Credit Points
The course will cover: registration of title system in general and specific aspects of registration of title in particular; the steps involved in selected types of conveyancing transaction; particular issues raised by specific types of conveyancing transaction; selected aspects of leases and related matters including tax, ethical, practice management and client care aspects of conveyancing. Key conveyancing skills will also be covered such as communication with clients, drafting, negotiation, and transaction based research.
- Private Client (LS50DB) - 15 Credit Points
The course will cover: taking instructions for a will; drafting testamentary documentation; practical issues concerning intestacy; executry administration; trusts; incapacity; investment and tax planning advice; and related matters including tax, ethical, practice management and client care aspects of Private Client. Key Private Client skills will also be covered such as communication with clients, drafting and transaction based research.
- Litigation (LS50DC) - 15 Credit Points
The course will cover: the Criminal Legal Aid scheme, the rules of criminal procedure and appeal routes, the conduct of pleas in mitigation, intermediate diets and trials, the funding of civil procedure, the concepts of specification and relevancy in civil procedure, Court of Session procedure and processes, actions competent in the sheriff court and appeal routes, client interviews, drafting pleadings, the conduct of an options hearing and a proof, settlement issues and related matters including client care aspects of litigation. Key litigation skills will also be covered such as communication with clients, drafting, advocacy, and transaction based research.
- Business Environment and Ethics (LS50DE) - 15 Credit Points
The course is divided into two parts. Part 1 will cover: business structures and investment; a group exercise involves the set-up of a virtual law firm and construction of key business and practice policies; management of time and risk capability; company accounts analysis; loan finance; financial advice and tax implications; financial services. An Investment Game runs throughout the first part of the course where each student manages a share portfolio. Part 2 will cover ethical issues in the client relationship; confidentiality and conflict; and duties and discipline. Key skills such as communication with clients, team working, drafting are covered.
Select four of the following courses:
- Advanced Civil Litigation (LS55DA) - 15 Credit Points
The course will build on the knowledge and experience students gained from the core Litigation course. The course will cover: the conduct of 2 case scenarios which will involve preparation and conduct of both a debate and a proof; client interviews; precognition taking; preparation of different types of civil pleadings; students will practice by role play the skills required to prepare and conduct civil cases in the sheriff court; summary cause and small claims procedures.
- Contracts (LS55DB) - 15 Credit Points
The course will cover: contractual drafting; contracts of sale; consumer contracts; Heads of Terms and offers; common law and implied terms; Share Purchase Agreement and Boilerplate clauses: Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006; intellectual property; warranties and indemnities; Bribery Act 2010; assignation, assignment, novation and variations; exiting commercial contracts. Key skills will also be covered such as communication with clients, analysing key risk areas in relation to technical and legal matters, drafting, negotiation, and transaction based research.
- Corporate Finance and Acquisitions (LS55DC) - 15 Credit Points
The course will cover: a role play scenario where students will work in groups acting for the purchaser and seller throughout the key stages of an acquisition transaction; drafting preliminary documentation; creation of a company as an acquisition vehicle; financial aspects of the deal; diligence and disclosure; the Share Purchase Agreement; the completion process including a mock completion meeting and post completion matters. Key skills will also be covered such as communication with clients, drafting, negotiation, and transaction based research.
- Dispute Resolution (LS55DD) - 15 Credit Points
The course will develop knowledge and understanding of a range of available approaches to dispute resolution and consider the strengths and weaknesses of the different forms of dispute resolution in practice; scoping the dispute and the client’s attitudes to its resolution; development of a planned style and strategy for negotiation; conduct of a negotiation; mediation; expert referral; arbitration; enforcement in dispute resolution. Key skills will also be covered such as interviewing, listening, advising, persuading, processing conflicting information, client care, drafting and transaction based research.
- Family Law (LS55DE) - 15 Credit Points
The course will cover: taking part in role play scenarios relating to disputes involving divorce, cohabitation and parental rights; taking instructions in a family law dispute; writing positional letters; drafting appropriate court documentation; negotiations which involve the parties and solicitors; interim interdict hearing; and child welfare hearing. Key skills will also be covered such as communication with clients, client care, drafting, negotiation, and transaction based research.
- Energy Law (LS55DF) - 15 Credit Points
The course will cover: the oil and gas licensing regime; the broader context within which the oil and gas industry operates; Joint Operating Agreements; exclusivity agreements; Joint Bidding Agreements; exclusion/indemnity clauses and risk allocation; access to infrastructure; renewable and planning issues; servitudes; health & safety and the environment qualifying disclosures and protected disclosures; the legal framework concerning decommissioning; the role of the media with particular reference to the Brent Spar incident; regulatory issues and responsibilities in the event of an oil rig disaster. Key skills will also be covered such as communication with clients, drafting, negotiation, and transaction based research.
- Employment Law (LS55DG) - 15 Credit Points
Employment Law: Tribunal Practice and Procedure
The course will cover preparing and representing clients at Employment tribunals, and to develop advocacy and communication skills in dealing with and representing clients involved in employment disputes. Key skills will also be covered such as communication with clients; client and witness interviews; advocacy skills; drafting, negotiation, and transaction based research.
- Public Law and Administration (LS55DH) - 15 Credit Points
The course will cover an overview of the institutions of Public Law; an examination of planning law; issues dealing with education, housing and social work; an examination of Equality and Human Rights law. The course will include a themed case study (e.g. Gypsy Travellers) which will be reviewed throughout the duration of the course. Key skills will also be covered such as communication with clients, drafting, negotiation, advocacy skills and transaction based research.
- Advanced Criminal Litigation (LS55DJ) - 15 Credit Points
The course will build on the knowledge and experience students gained from the core Litigation course. The course will cover: the conduct of specific cases which will involve the preparation and conduct of a trial and an appeal: client interviews; witness statements and examining witnesses; preparation of different types of criminal pleadings and appeals. Students will practice by role play the skills required to prepare and conduct criminal cases in the sheriff court:
The course will provide opportunities to enhance skills in the preparation, management and delivery of Criminal cases and to develop key advocacy skills.
- Negotiation (LS55DK) - 15 Credit Points
The course will develop knowledge and skills in both theory and practice on all aspects of negotiation. The course will cover preparation for a negotiation, including conducting an assessment of the client's position; review typical negotiation strategies; assessed the range of potential outcomes. Students will conduct negotiations across a range of disciplines.
The course will opportunities to develop and enhance key transferable skills and address issues of confidentiality and ethical considerations in the negotiation process.
- Clinical Legal Practice (LS552L) - 15 Credit Points
This course is a practical adjunct to the provision of pro bono publico ("for the public good") legal advice by DPLP students. It builds on voluntary activity already undertaken by students by encouraging them to reflect on those experiences and engage with work on a quasi-professional level to allow them to prepare a portfolio to showcase their live-client or outreach work for Aberdeen Law Project. This course can only be taken by students who volunteer for the Aberdeen Law Project during the first semester of the DPLP.
We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.
How You'll Study
As a programme of professional study and performance the learning and teaching methods employed ensure active engagement with 'real life ' tasks and professional issues within a secure and supportive , yet challenging environment. Transaction based learning is at the centre of learning and teaching on the Diploma. Each course has been designed to include scenarios which mirror situations that students are likely to encounter as trainees. The teaching approach is to coach rather than to provide direct instruction. Throughout the Diploma a variety of teaching and learning methods are used which have been chosen as the most appropriate to achieve the relevant learning outcome. The majority of classes will take the form of small group seminars. 'Learning by doing' is key to acquiring professional skills. Much of the learning on the DPLP centres around student preparation which usually involves preparing material related to a scenario designed to mirror a real life situation.
- Role play exercises are used to allow students to develop and practice key professional skills such as interviewing a client or taking part in a criminal trial.
- Courses are designed to encourage interactive discussions and presentations.
- Podcasts are used to promote flexibility in teaching.
- Given the practical nature of the Diploma (both class and individual) are used as a method of engagement with relevant institutions/bodies.
- Individual Projects
- There are no exams on the DPLP course at Aberdeen.
- Assessment is on a combination of written summative assignments, skills based oral assignments and online tests.
- Assessment submission dates are staggered throughout the week to encourage time managements skills.
- Actors are used as mock clients to give students as wide and realistic an experience as possible in interviewing clients.
- In Criminal Litigation students participate in presenting pleas in mitigation and conducting criminal trials.
Why Study Professional Legal Practice?
- Why? The DPLP programme prepares you fully for legal practice in Scotland.
- In order to practice in Scotland you will need to gain a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice.
- Aberdeen Law School provides you with a Diploma using strong links with the legal profession and ensuring a 'fit for purpose' legal trainee from day one.
- We have a strong collegiate working environment which enables you to learn, share and bond fast.
- Your teaching is complemented by presentations from the law profession with valuable real world insights.
- The course is strctures to develop your skills and knowledge continuously, with practical exercises and role playing cementing this learning.
- Role play in a collegiate environment helps you develop your style and approach across core competencies whilst learning from peers.
- Over 90% of DPLP graduates (2015/16) secured employment or traineeships across a wide range of firms and organisations within 6 months of graduating.
A degree in law from a Scottish University or other institution recognised for this purpose by the Senatus Academicus on the recommendation of the Academic Standards Committee (Postgraduate) which includes passes in the Law Society’s professional subjects or equivalent.
The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.
Aberdeen University graduates must have passed the below courses:
- Foundations of Public Law
- Criminal Law
- Legal System & Method
- Civil Liberties
- Non-Contractual Obligations
- Commercial Law
- Property Law
- Commercial Organisations
- Family Law
- Trusts & Succession
- Revenue Law
Following changes to the curriculum introduced in 2011/12 students who started from that academic year are required to have passes in these subject:
- Legal System
- Legal Method
- Criminal Law
- Foundations of Private Law
- Public Law & Human Rights
- Delict and Unjustified Enrichment
- EU Institutions & Law
- Property Law
- Family Law
- Commercial Organisations & Insolvency
- Trusts and Succession
- Introduction to Legal Theory
- Evidence & Advocacy
- Consumer and Commercial Contracts
Less recent graduates of Aberdeen, graduates of other institutions and those who have taken the Law Society Exams as a pre-Diploma trainee, should produce evidence of passes in equivalent areas.
Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.
English Language Requirements
All students entering the University must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study effectively at the University of Aberdeen.
Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. This programme requires that you meet the College of Arts and Social Sciences Postgraduate Standard level of English proficiency.
If you have not achieved the required scores, the University of Aberdeen offers pre-sessional English courses. Further details are available on our Language Centre website.
Nationals of some English-speaking countries or those who hold degrees from some English-speaking countries may be exempted from this requirement. Details of countries recognised as English-speaking can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages.
You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme.
- Degree Transcript
- a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
- Personal Statement
- a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
Fees and Funding
You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.
|Home / EU / RUK Students||£7,500|
|Tuition Fees for 2018/19 Academic Year|
|Tuition Fees for 2018/19 Academic Year|
International non-EU Applicants
- In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
- For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.
Our Funding Database
View all funding options in our Funding Database.
Diploma graduates from the University of Aberdeen have been successful in securing traineeships in a range of firms and organisations including the GLSS, local authorities, the large central belt and Aberdeen based firms and smaller local firms. 90% of our 2015/16 Graduates were in employment 6 months after completing the Diploma.
Aberdeen Graduates are highly sought after, throughout the year we welcome speakers from a range of law firms who want to meet and engage with students seeking traineeships. The Career Service holds an annual law fair, where law firms and employers provide information about their traineeships and employment opportuities.
The University Careers Service has two dedicated Law Careers advisers and is happy to help you make career plans and decisions and find traineeships and placements including providing feedback about your applications and CVs. The advisers will also help with preparing and practising for interviews, psychometric tests and assessment centres.
We also run a very successful Career Mentoring programme which selectively pairs student applicants with a suitable mentor who will meet informally with them throughout the year and offer guidance and advice. This programme supports several informal evening receptions hosted by firms which provide a valuable opportunity for students to mix informally with members of the profession.
We have strong links with the legal profession within Aberdeen and more widely. Many of our addiitonal learning activities are taught by practising lawyers, enabling you to learn first hand about the realities of legal practice.
There is a very active Law Society at the University of Aberdeen that has dedicated DPLP representatives who oversee a very full and varied social and sporting calendar culminating in the end of year DPLP Ball.
Information About Staff Changes
You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.
10th In the UK for Law
The School of Law is ranked 10th in the UK amongst over 90 Law school by both the Complete University Guide 2018 and the Times Good University Guide 2017.
Whilst studying the Diploma you may have the opportunity to compete in the Diploma Client Counselling and Negotiation competitions. The School enters a team for both competitions each year. In 2017 our teams did very well, coming 2nd in the National negotiation competition final, and third in the International Client Consultation Competition in Kent. A team of DPLP students also took part in the ICC Moot competition held in the Hague, reaching the quarter finals.
Get in Touch
School of Law
University of Aberdeen