Diploma in Legal Studies at King’s Inns

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The Diploma in Legal Studies at King’s Inns, Ireland’s renowned law school, attracts a diverse group of mature students.

Ciarán Patton BL, the coordinator and course leader of the part-time Diploma at King’s Inns, discusses the benefits of the course’s practical-led learning and how it is designed for students who mainly work full-time and have family commitments.


On Saturday, March 25, King’s Inns will host their annual Be a Law Student for a Day event. Attendees will experience life as a Diploma student by taking part in classes like those on the course. Register here.


Diploma in Legal Studies

King’s Inns’ Diploma in Legal Studies is a two-year law course taught through a mix of lectures and small-group practical (tutorial) teaching and learning. Students complete tasks like problem–solving, mooting, advising fictional clients, consultations, and presenting and opposing legal arguments during tutorials.

Students have the option of (i) attending all lectures and tutorials in-person at King’s Inns or (ii) attending all lectures and tutorials online, with the option of attending lectures in-person when they wish. Being able to attend all classes online allows

people to do the course regardless of their geographical location. (Examinations are in-person in King’s Inns.)

Small group teaching and diverse student community

“The emphasis on small-group teaching and learning fosters student engagement and active learning and makes the course especially rewarding,” says Ciarán Patton BL, the Diploma’s academic coordinator and course leader.

Many Diploma graduates find the qualification of benefit in their current career or use the qualification to open up new career opportunities. One Diploma graduate—a science lecturer—said the course “. . . provides a solid foundation for anyone considering a legal, business, educational, or public-service career.”

Some graduates progressed to further study of law by doing taught or research masters, PhDs, or King’s Inns’ Barrister-at-Law Degree. Others did the course just because they were interested in learning the law.

The Diploma’s student body is diverse. Students come from different social, educational, professional, and geographical backgrounds and quickly realise how conducive this diversity is to their learning. Many have a third–level non-law qualification. But some do not. Indeed, the Diploma is open to people with no formal education whatsoever. The course has attracted nurses, teachers, taxi drivers, musicians, civil servants, communication and HR professionals, and people who are retired or in the middle of changing careers.

“Mindful of these students and others who have been away from formal education for a long time, King’s Inns delivers a free Study–Skills Course on five evenings in early September. Topics covered include time management, note-taking, academic research, reading academic (and specifically legal) texts, academic writing, and giving oral presentations,” says Patton.

A former student—a classical musician—said the Diploma “. . . attracts people from all professions and backgrounds. This provokes critical discussion on personal experiences of the law, which raise questions one might not otherwise ask.”

Flexible learning 

Some students come straight from college, but most come from the workplace. Indeed, the vast majority of Diploma students work full-time or run a business and might have family commitments as well. Class times suit students with already busy lives. There are three evenings of lectures and one evening of tutorials from Monday to Thursday. Tutorials are also on seven or eight Saturdays spread throughout the academic year.

Students have the option of (i) attending all lectures and tutorials in-person at King’s Inns or (ii) attending all lectures and tutorials online, with the option of attending lectures in-person when they wish.

The cost of the Diploma is considered to be of excellent value. The total course fee is €9,950 plus an application fee of €200. Students pay the tuition over the two years with the option of paying it in four instalments.

This fee compares favourably to the fee for law degrees, which take three-four years to complete. A former student—who works in the civil service—said that the Diploma “. . . is an investment. You’re investing in your future, with what can only be the best and most supportive teaching staff. . . . Whether it’s for your career or as a pastime, this course will offer you everything you could want, without the commitment of a four-year degree.”

Students facing financial difficulties may apply for remission of fees under the Maurice Gaffney Scholarship.

So what do students get in return? 

“The starting point is King’s Inns’ expert tuition,” says Patton. “If expertise is judged by knowledge, training, qualifications, and experience, then our lecturers and tutors are experts in their respective fields.” Furthermore, students can access various resources on Moodle, King’s Inns’ virtual learning environment. The availability of lecture recordings facilitates students who miss lectures and is of great assistance for revision purposes. Students have access to superior and up-to-date reading materials and the Library’s many online resources and databases.

Successful completion of the course requires students to demonstrate an impressive breadth of legal knowledge, as well as legal reasoning, problem–solving, communication and research skills. Many Diploma graduates have found the qualification to be of benefit in their current career or have gone on to use the qualification to open new career opportunities for them in the public service, private sector, or in the provision of legal services. 


FREE INTERACTIVE SEMINARS: Would you like to know what it’s like to be a student on King’s Inns’ Diploma in Legal Studies?

Every year, King’s Inns offers interested people a chance to experience life as a Diploma student by taking part in classes like those on the course. On Saturday, March 25, 2023, King’s Inns will host their annual Be a Law Student for a Day event. The free event will take place online through Zoom. To register for the event, visit the King’s Inns website >


King’s Inns will also host their annual Open Evening for the Diploma on Monday, May 8 from 6 pm. This year, the event will take place in-person at King’s Inns with the

option of attending online. To register for the Open Evening, visit King’s Inns’ website >


For more information about the Diploma, visit King’s Inns’ website >

About King’s Inns

Based between Henrietta Street and Constitution Hill in Dublin 1, King’s Inns is an independent educational institution, renowned for professional legal education and training. As well as educating future and qualified barristers, the School extends its reach to a broader community of people from non–legal backgrounds offering a wide range of accessible part-time and online courses in specialist areas of the law.

With courses taught by expert law practitioners, King’s Inns’ students include leaders, advocates, innovators, and game-changers from industries across Ireland and abroad. The School excels in promoting the use of the Irish language in the law.

For more information, visit >

Steven Galvin

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  1. Maria Fleming 18th April 2023 at 7:23 pm

    Would a foreign student, non-EU, be able to get the relevant visa to live in Ireland during the course? Would students be able to get work experience, if they already have a qualified degree in law in their home country?

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