One of the biggest names in Australian legal education has entered the English and Welsh legal marketplace.

The College of Law Australia and New Zealand – not affiliated with the University of Law (ULaw), which was previously known as the College of Law of England and Wales – has established itself as a practice based training provider in London with a view to providing courses training students to pass the forthcoming Solicitors Qualification Exam (SQE).

In England and Wales, it will be known as The College of Legal Practice, and is partnering with the US organisation BARBRI to design SQE-ready courses. BARBRI is the organisation that has trained UK lawyers to pass the New York Bar, but it is branching out into the legal education in this country following the introduction of the SQE.

As well as the SQE, The College of Legal Practice has been tempted to the UK by the introduction of the new rule book created by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which removes many of the restrictions imposed on training contracts, as well as the broader trends disrupting the legal services market.

It has hired some familiar names from the legal education sector in its bid to take on the two largest established providers of postgraduate education, BPP and ULaw.

Nigel Savage

Professor Nigel Savage was appointed interim CEO of The College in 2019 to steer it through to the initial launch in the UK. Savage was for many years one of the most prominent figures in UK legal education as Dean of Nottingham Law School and then CEO of ULaw.

From next February, his replacement as permanent CEO will be Dr Giles Proctor. Proctor established Kaplan Law School in 2007 and was its head for some years. He then established the University of Roehampton’s law school in 2015.

Savage said: “I believe we are uniquely positioned to create a new and genuinely 21st Century approach to education in this sector. The new SQE will create a sea change in legal training, and has provided the impetus for this change, but significantly The College doesn’t have the baggage of the old LPC. We’ve started afresh, and in so doing are creating a flexible relevant proposition that removes barriers to entry for students and candidates and will fulfill our aim of significantly broadening access to this profession. Our proposition will enable legal service providers to shape career development to deliver to their strategic priorities.”

Neville Carter, the CEO of The College of Law Australia and New Zealand, added: “The hallmark of the Australian model is delivery of learning directly into the workplace within a very flexible framework of work placement. The model drives access to the legal services market and fuels the growth of employment opportunities. We believe that the reforms in England and Wales provide an opportunity for us to share what we have learnt in Australia and across Asia and assist in shaping new models and pathways in England and Wales.”