The professional requirements outside England and Wales vary and the LLB (Hons) (Open) is not professionally recognised outside England and Wales. Legal systems in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and each of the European countries have separate rules governing professional qualifications. The information here is a guide, but you should always make enquiries from the appropriate professional body before committing yourself to study.
The law courses offered by The Open University will not entitle you to professional recognition in Scotland, although a general Open University degree can be regarded as a qualifying degree for entrants who want to undertake the Law Society of Scotland's examinations, which you sit during pre-diploma training. A general Open University degree may, depending on its content, permit you to take an LLB ordinary degree at a Scottish university in two rather than the normal three years, but this is entirely at the discretion of the individual university. To become a solicitor in Scotland you are also required to take the one-year diploma course at university and then complete two years of training.
The Faculty of Advocates is an unincorporated association to which everyone who holds the office of advocate must belong. Entry is by matriculation and presentation of a petition. To matriculate you must hold an honours degree (at least class 2.2) in Scottish law from a Scottish university; or a degree in Scottish law from a Scottish university together with an honours degree (at least class 2.2) in another subject from a UK university; or an ordinary degree with distinction in Scots law from a Scottish university. Open University graduates are considered equally with graduates from other universities in the United Kingdom. If your degree in Scottish law does not include passes in the necessary legal subjects, you can sit the Faculty’s own examinations in them.
If you gain an Open University LLB (Hons) that is recognised as a Qualifying Law Degree (i.e. which includes the four law courses outlined previously), you may be granted exemption that allows you to apply directly for the vocational training course at Queens University's Institute of Professional Legal Studies. You are strongly advised to verify your position with the appropriate professional body before registering for the Open University Law Programme. You may be required to sit further examinations or to undertake the Bachelor of Legal Science (see below) before you can go on to the vocational stage.
Non-law graduates must compete for entry to the two-year pre-vocational course in Queens University's Faculty of Law, which leads to the award of a Bachelor of Legal Science (BLS). You must then compete with law graduates for entry to the vocational training course at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies. Competition for places is intense; Open University graduates are considered on their academic merit, like other non-law graduates. We advise you to contact The Law Society of Northern Ireland (for prospective solicitors), or, The Hon. Society of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland (for prospective barristers).
The law courses offered by The Open University will not exempt you from the initial stage of legal training. If you want to become a solicitor you will have to sit The First Irish Examination (Irish Language Examination) and the Law Society's final examination in order to enter the vocational stage of training; to become a barrister you will have to sit the Honourable Society of King's Inns Diploma in Legal Studies before entering the vocational stage, the Honourable Society’s barrister-at-law degree course. Competition for places is intense and you are strongly advised to discuss your position with the appropriate professional body. We advise you to contact The Incorporated Law Society of Ireland (for prospective solicitors) or, The Hon. Society of King's Inns (for prospective barristers).
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