To take the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at the College of Law in Chester costs £6,950 in fees, a rise of 12 per cent on last year; at the BPP law school in London, LPC fees have risen by 11 per cent to £7,675; and at Nottingham Trent University, the cost of the LPC has risen by nearly 9 per cent to £7,265.
Lygo: a worthwhile investment
The price of professional law qualifications has risen dramatically, in some cases by more than five times the rate of inflation.
Carl Lygo, director of vocational training at BPP, sees no problem with the hike. He said: "I read something recently about law students finishing and earning lots more than other professions so I would say it's a worthwhile investment.
The rise in fees came about because we've moved to a new building and that has cost us a lot, as has investing in high quality facilities.
Also, there are ever-increasing requirements from the Law Society so it's more expensive than, say, accountancy training. We need to have one member of staff for every 14 students."
This year at BPP, about 95 per cent of LPC students will have training contracts with law firms which will pay their fees for them. However, on the LPC course at the University of Wolverhampton, the majority of students will pay their own fees. Wolverhampton has managed to keep LPC fees at £4,500, the same as last year.
Lynn Leighton-Johnstone, head of admissions, marketing and recruiting at the School of Legal Studies at Wolverhampton, said: "Our university mission statement is to be a provider for the region.
The LPC is a very research-intensive course so costs are high and in 2002 the fees are likely to rise. But we aim to serve the region and our cost-effective fees are something we have felt able to offer. But we do get criticised because people see the fees and say there must be something wrong with what you do, although there clearly isn't as the Law Society has consistently rated us as good."
A spokeswoman for the Law Society said that it was up to individual institutions to decide their fees. She said: "We set a minimum standard for institutions and they are left to compete in the marketplace. We hand the choice over to the consumer by saying we're happy to publish details about these institutions and then it's over to you to decide which ones you use."