Top-up fees to be sky high on law degrees

Law degrees at England’s top universities will be among the most expensive courses to read if the Government is able to push through its controversial top-up fees policy, a survey by Lawyer 2B can reveal.

The findings come a week after the Government survived the third reading of the Higher Education Bill, which seeks to introduce variable fees, by just 61 votes, following a major backbench rebellion by Labour MPs.

The Lawyer’s sister title Lawyer 2B surveyed more than 20 law school heads from a cross-section of institutions, including the English Russell Group universities and the highest graded law schools according to the Higher Education Funding Council.

The vast majority of heads, including those from prestigious law schools such as Bristol, Cambridge, Durham and UCL, said they were either definitely or likely to cost their law degrees at the maximum £3,000.

Most of these universities will charge £3,000 across all of their courses, but – worryingly for those concerned about the expense of law degrees, such as the Bar Council and the Law Society – the survey also revealed that, where universities are operating variable fees, the LLB will still be set at the highest amount.

Westminster University law school head Andy Boon said: “My feeling is, if you don’t charge fees in an area of demand it makes it look like you’re not confident in your course.”

While many offer the policy lukewarm support, they express doubt that the money earned would make a substantial difference. Keele University law department head William Lucy said: “I can’t see universities and their law schools being able to do things that pre-top-up fees they could not afford to do.”

The April edition of Lawyer 2B is out this week.