NOTTINGHAM Law School has been forced to axe its evening LPC course following changes to the curriculum which could force other colleges to follow suit, threatening access to legal education.
Students at the college are furious that the course, which was being advertised until the beginning of December, has been suddenly dropped.
But the Law School, part of Nottingham Trent University, says a revised and longer LPC curriculum, unveiled by the Law Society in November, imposes extra burdens on the college's resources.
It says it was impossible for it to run the evening course, which caters for around 40 students, alongside its part-time block release course.
There are fears other colleges may follow Nottingham's lead at a time when the Law Society is encouraging colleges to run more part-time courses to help people who cannot afford full-time education.
One observer pointed out that many LPC courses were already under-subscribed and that the new course could be “the straw that breaks the camel's back”.
Peter Jones, chief executive of the Nottingham Law School, said that the short time between the unveiling of the course and its implementation in the autumn had forced the college to act quickly.
He identified the Law Society's decision to increase optional elements of the course as the college's main difficulty.
“The Law Society's review of the course is quite radical and when we sat down and looked at it we realised we could not run both our part-time courses. It was a very difficult decision to make.
“My own feelings are that the full implications of the review so far as the part-time course is concerned have not been fully thought through yet,” he said.
But student representative Ruth Evans, a law undergraduate at the university, who had signed up for the evening course, said the decision was discriminatory because it was difficult for mature students who had jobs to attend the block course, which required students to attend daytime sessions.
Simon Baker, chair of the Law Society's training committee, said the society had consulted widely over the review. He added that the new course was more flexible and would encourage more firms to take on trainees.