Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Certificate in Law - Cert

UCAS code M105

This is an archived page and for reference purposes only


The Certificate in Law is an innovative one-year programme that offers a supportive and inclusive environment for students who do not yet meet Kent Law School’s normal entry requirements but who meet specified contextual indicators (detailed in the entry requirements section). It is equivalent to Stage 1 of the Law LLB, and students who pass the Certificate progress directly to the second year of the LLB in Law. 



Kent Law School is recognised as one of the leading law schools in the UK. It has an international reputation both for its world-leading research and for the high quality, innovative, critical and socio-legal education that it provides.

On this programme you enjoy the same high-quality critical legal education as all other students enrolled at Kent Law School. You follow the same curriculum and modules as for the first year of the LLB, but take an additional module, 'Performing Effectively in Law', to aid the development of your essential academic skills. 

Placing law within its social context, the programme inspires those with an interest in law and encourages their academic and personal development. You have the opportunity to engage with legal issues, and the same access to employability services, co-curricular activities and student societies as those on other Law degrees at Kent.

Please be aware that the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board are conducting independent reviews of the legal training and education required to qualify as a solicitor or barrister in England and Wales. These reviews cover the ‘Academic Stage’ of training and may impact upon the role of the law degree as part of the training process. Please see the website of each regulator for more information (the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board).

Independent rankings

Law at Kent was ranked 14th in The Times Good University Guide 2017 and 15th in The Guardian University Guide 2017. In the National Student Survey 2016, 91% of Law students at Kent were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

For graduate prospects, Law at Kent was ranked 5th in The Guardian University Guide 2017. Of Law students who graduated from Kent in 2015, 94% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Modules may include Credits

The module will introduce students to critical legal techniques grounded in critical legal and social theory, feminist and queer theory, postcolonial theory and law and the humanities. Throughout the course, concepts are introduced through socio-legal and critical investigation of selected case studies - such as new pieces of legislation, emerging political campaigns and prominent litigation - ensuring that the course maintains a focus on ‘law in action’. Particular attention will be paid to developments in foreign jurisdictions and in the international arena. Accordingly, case studies will alter from year to year, and draw heavily on research projects on-going in the Law School. The course has a heavy focus on primary legal materials and core critical texts, but will also draw on film, museum artefacts, art and literature as appropriate.

View full module details

An introduction to foundational ideas clustered around the concepts of property, land and ownership. First case study: eg Tracing different definitions of ‘land’ and ownership in Palestine/Israel: from Ottoman rule to Israeli state.

An introduction to the category of ‘real property’ in common (statute) law. Second case study: eg An examination of issues arising from access to, and use of, ‘private’ land and the specifity of ‘easements’ as real property.

Pursuing the idea of ownership through the development of the trust and ‘split title’. Third case study; eg An examination of the limits of the ‘beneficial interest’ in relation to the potential of ‘public benefit’ trusts.

How easy is it to maintain a clear distinction between ‘public’ and ‘private’? Fourth case study; eg An examination of issues arising from access to (quasi)public urban land.

View full module details

Section 1 Introduction to Obligations

The nature of the common law and its development. The idea of precedent. The distinction between public law and private law. Obligations and property. The divisions of obligations - contract, tort and restitution.

Section 2. Introduction to the law of contract.

a) The historical development of contract law and its functions in the modern world.

b) A special area of study in contract e.g. contractual remedies.

Section 3 Introduction to tort

a) The historical development of tort. The centrality of negligence and its role in the modern world.

b) A special study in tort – e.g. trespass to the person.

Section 4. Conclusion

Critical approaches to the study of contract and tort.

Section 5. Legal reading and writing skills

The acquisition of basic legal reading, writing and communication skills

View full module details

Part A: English Legal System

This module provides an overview of the English Legal System, including the following indicative topics:

1) An introduction to Parliament and the legislative process

2) The court structure and the doctrine of precedent

3) An introduction to case law, including how to identify and the importance of ratio decidendi and obiter dicta

Part B: Introduction to Legal Skills

The module also gives students an introduction to the basic legal skills that they will develop further in their other modules throughout the degree. The focus here is on specific exercises to support exploration and use of the library resources that are available, both in paper copy and electronically through the legal databases, and on understanding practices of legal citation.

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• Introduction to the concept of crime, the structure of criminal justice and the general principles of liability

• Harm and the boundaries of criminal law

• Considering cases – how to effectively summarise cases and write a case note

• Murder, the problem of causation and omissions and intent to kill

• Defences to murder, self-defence, provocation, insanity and diminished responsibility

• Manslaughter, unlawful act, recklessness and gross negligence

• Non-fatal offences against the person

• Sexual offences

Inchoate offences

• Theft and the Fraud Act 2006

View full module details

This module has four main parts and provides a critical introduction to the following topics:

1) English Legal System and its constitutional significance.

2) Constitutionalism - the module looks at law and political theory to ask:

a. What is a Constitution and Constitutionalism?

b. What is a state and how does it constitute itself?

c. What is the relationship between the citizen and the state?

d. Where does sovereignty lie?

e. What is the role of law?

f. What do Constitutions tells us about political projects for Reform?

3) Forms of government

a. Democracy

b. Federalism

c. regionalism

d. Supra-national bodies

4) Constraining the power of the state

a. Human Rights

b. Judicial Review

c. Other mechanisms

View full module details

Teaching and assessment

The Certificate is designed to meet the needs of those contemplating a career in the legal professions and those motivated primarily by an intellectual interest in law and legal issues. It provides foundational knowledge of the principal institutions and procedures of the English legal system, introducing you to the concepts, vocabulary, principles and rules of certain core legal subjects.

The Certificate develops your ability to manage your own learning and carry out independent research, as well as developing critical, analytical and problem-solving skills that can be applied in a wide range of legal and non-legal contexts.

Assessment is through a combination of coursework and end-of-year exams, with study skills and exam preparation an integral part of teaching on the Certificate.

Kent Law School emphasises research-led teaching which means that the modules taught are at the leading edge of new legal and policy developments. Kent Law School is renowned nationally for research quality, being ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. All of our research-active staff teach so you are taught by influential thinkers who are at the forefront of their field.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • attract and meet the needs of those contemplating a career in the legal professions and those motivated primarily by an intellectual interest in law and legal issues
  • be equivalent to Stage 1 of the LLB degree programme
  • contribute to widening participation in higher education by offering a freestanding qualification as well as a route into Stage 2 of the LLB programme
  • provide foundational knowledge of the principal institutions and procedures of the English legal system
  • introduce students to the concepts, vocabulary, principles and rules of certain core legal subjects
  • foster a desire to progress to further degree-level study
  • develop students’ ability to manage their own learning and carry out independent research
  • develop general critical, analytical and problem-solving skills which can be applied in a wide range of legal and non-legal contexts
  • provide opportunities for the development of personal, communication, research and other key skills.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the principal features of the English legal system, including its institutions, procedures and sources of law
  • the concepts, principles and rules of some English legal subjects
  • the relationship between law and the historical, socio-economic and political contexts in which it operates
  • some theoretical and critical perspectives which can be applied to the study of law.

Intellectual skills

You gain the intellectual abilities to:

  • effectively apply knowledge to analyse issues of moderate complexity
  • recognise and rank items and issues in terms of their relevance and importance
  • collect and synthesise information from a variety of sources
  • recognise potential alternative solutions to particular problems and make a reasoned choice between them
  • demonstrate an independence of mind and an ability to critically challenge received understandings and conclusions
  • reflect constructively on your own learning processes.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills to:

  • recognise the legal issues arising in a factual situation of limited complexity
  • identify and apply the case and statute law relevant to it
  • provide an informed and reasoned opinion on the possible legal actions arising from it, and their likelihood of success
  • identify the legal and related issues (primarily in discrete areas of contract, tort, property, constitutional and criminal law) that require to be researched
  • effectively locate and use primary and secondary legal and other relevant sources
  • conduct independent legal research using a range of resources, both paper and electronic.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills that enable you to:

  • use, both orally and in writing, the English Language in relation to legal matters and generally, with care, accuracy and effectiveness
  • engage constructively and effectively in arguments and discussions of moderate complexity
  • give a clear and coherent presentation on a topic using appropriate supporting materials
  • read moderately complex legal and non-legal materials and summarise them accurately
  • employ correct legal terminology and correct methods of citation and referencing for legal and other academic materials
  • produce work in appropriate formats
  • work collaboratively in groups to achieve defined tasks, respond to different points of view and negotiate outcomes
  • wordprocess work and use a range of electronic databases and other information sources.


Students who pass the Certificate are eligible to progress to Stage 2 of the LLB at Canterbury. The Certificate is also a standalone qualification (a Certificate of Higher Education) and can be used to demonstrate the ability to study at university level.

Kent Law School has an excellent employment record and an active careers programme that sees a number of leading law firms and prominent members of the legal profession (including Kent alumni) visit the University to meet and speak with students. 

Professional recognition

Accredited by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for the Certificate in Law are as follows:

BBC at A level or published equivalents. To be considered for entry to this programme applicants must meet a contextual flag, and must not be expected to meet the Law School’s published requirements for the LLB in Law.

In addition to meeting the academic requirements for entry, applicants to the Certificate in Law must meet contextual indicators to be eligible for consideration for entry to the programme.  These indicators are based upon contextual data and information, which help us understand an applicant’s attainment within the context of their educational history and their geodemographic circumstances, and allow us to take into consideration individual contextual factors which may have impacted their full-time education.

Why is Kent Law School using contextual data?

The Certificate in Law aims to recruit students who do not expect to meet the entry requirements for the LLB in Law at Kent, but who have the potential to succeed within the supportive environment of the programme.  We believe that the use of contextual data provides an evidence-based, transparent and objective mechanism for identifying and recognising potential.

How is contextual data identified and used?

Applicants to the Certificate in Law must meet any one of the contextual indicators listed below to be considered for entry.  If they meet one of these indicators they will be given a contextual flag.  

Although only one contextual indicator is required to be eligible for consideration, applicants who meet more than one indicator will receive additional contextual flags and will be given priority consideration (at both the offer stage and (if applicable) the discretionary post-results confirmation stage of the application process).

The contextual indicators required for consideration are as follows: 

1.    Attendance at a low-performing school/college

If you have attended a state school or college that is in the bottom 40% of performance for A level attainment, or for the percentage of pupils who obtain 5 or more GCSEs at A-C including English and Maths, you will be given a contextual flag. Attendance at the school/college must be in the academic year during which the application to Kent is being made, or in the academic year immediately preceding it.

Two key performance indicators are used to identify schools and colleges that are in the bottom 40% of England in terms of school performance: 

•    KS5  Average point score per A level entry
•    % achieving 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) including English and Maths

Download the list of schools and colleges which are eligible for a contextual flag.

This assessment is made using Department for Education (DfE) data. In order to ensure that data for this indicator is valid and reliable, three years of data is used where available. Where DfE data is not available for one category, only the other will be used. Where no data is available for either category, schools/colleges will be assessed on an individual basis.

It is important to make clear that the categorisation of schools and colleges in this way does not express any judgment about their quality. We recognise that on this list there are many outstanding schools and colleges that provide excellent teaching and have a positive impact upon the lives of their students.

A contextual flag is only available for English schools as reported by the Department for Education. If an application is received from a non-English school then further research (with different agency data sources) will be undertaken.

We will use the information on your UCAS application form to identify school/college attendance.

2.    Home postcode is in a low HE participation neighbourhood 

If you live in an area of low participation designated as in quintile 1 or 2 of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) postcode based POLAR 3 scale of young participation in HE, you will be given a contextual flag.  HEFCE’s online postcode lookup tool enables you to identify the participation quintile in which you live:

Mature applicants can also be flagged using HEFCE’s POLAR 3; an adult HE qualification (AHE) quintile is also reported by HEFCE and mature applicants living in a POLAR 3 AHE (quintile 1 or 2) will be flagged.

We will use the POLAR 3 category automatically provided to us on your UCAS application form to determine whether you live in quintile 1 or 2.

3.    Time spent in care

If you have been in care or looked after for three months or more you will be given a contextual flag. The information is derived from two fields in the UCAS form and so it is important that care leavers declare this in the application.  

4.    Participation in a recognised outreach programme as a Kent Partner School/College student 

If you have attended a Kent Partner School or College and have participated in a strategically targeted University of Kent delivered outreach programme, you will be given a contextual flag. Information about eligible schools and participants is contained on our outreach database.

5.    Discretionary individual contextual criteria 

The Law School will reserve the ability to exceptionally determine additional contextual indicators on a discretionary basis. Where these are identified the Law School will seek to publish a non-exhaustive list of examples of discretionary contextual consideration, including, for example, those who have received asylum in the UK, and those with caring responsibilities which impact their existing full-time education commitments.

Does this mean that all applicants with contextual indicators can only apply for the Certificate?

No! Applicants with contextual indicators are welcome and encouraged to apply for the many other undergraduate degree programmes offered by the Law School, including our LLB in Law, and we have many students with contextual characteristics on these other programmes.

Principles that inform our use of contextual data

We are committed to ensuring that our use of contextual data to inform admission to the Certificate in Law conforms to HE sector best practice and SPA guidelines.

We are committed to using data that is evidence-based, valid and reliable, and transparent. We are also committed to making clear to applicants and their advisors what contextual data is used, how it is used, and how this helps us meet the aims of the admission criteria for the programme.

We are also committed to evaluating the impact of the use of contextual data for entry to programme, to understand and assess the extent to which it enables us to identify academic potential.  We are committed to maintaining and updating information and underlying data informing contextual requirements, and to ensuring that staff involved in the admission and decision-making process for the Certificate in Law are sufficiently trained to understand, interpret and use the data effectively.

Additional information  

As the Certificate aims to provide a supportive introduction to Higher Education,  applicants will not be eligible for entry if they have undertaken any further study at NQF level 4 or above [following the completion of A levels (or equivalent)].

I have further questions, who do I contact?

If you have any questions you are encouraged to contact the Law School directly

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
Access to HE Diploma

The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advise about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events. 

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.


The 2017/18 tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £13810

UK/EU fee paying students

The Government has announced changes to allow undergraduate tuition fees to rise in line with inflation from 2017/18.

In accordance with changes announced by the UK Government, we are increasing our 2017/18 regulated full-time tuition fees for new and returning UK/EU fee paying undergraduates from £9,000 to £9,250. The equivalent part-time fees for these courses will also rise from £4,500 to £4,625. This was subject to us satisfying the Government's Teaching Excellence Framework and the access regulator's requirements. This fee will ensure the continued provision of high-quality education.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.


University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

The Government has confirmed that EU students applying for university places in the 2017 to 2018 academic year will still have access to student funding support for the duration of their course.


General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.