Studying Law in the UK
Singapore and Hong Kong
For many, the prospect of studying Law in the UK is quite exhilarating. You will be exposed to one of the leading legal systems and immersed in unparalleled history of English Law. However, where you attain the qualifying law degree will carry consequences for your career and future practice. The good news is two-fold: the common law jurisdiction is very international and the undergraduate degree serves to teach you transferrable skills of legal reasoning. Therefore, you should view undergraduate legal education as leading to postgraduate and professional opportunities.
In this guide, we will explore some aspects of choosing to study Law in the UK. In particular, we will consider the context of students coming from Singapore and Hong Kong, who represent a significant proportion of international law students in the UK.
Qualifying Law Degree
You should ensure that the law schools you apply to enjoy the widest professional accreditations from various professional and governmental bodies. Recognise that it is inevitable to undertake some postgraduate training in order to practice Law in specific jurisdiction. Therefore, you will require a qualifying law degree.
For example, Singapore has a very straightforward system. The Ministry of Law publishes a list of Approved Universities and Courses - most of the LNAT Universities are approved.
When it comes to Hong Kong, the matters are slightly more complicated. The recognition of the LLB degree is rather related to how such degree is recognised in the UK. From there, you still may have to display competences in the 11 Core Modules and Top-Up Courses. However, you are not put at a disadvantage in comparison to local graduates; you have simply taken a different route.
A very helpful schematic can be found here, which explains the various pathways towards legal practice in Hong Kong.
Interestingly, some institutions in the UK offer a dual system course: English Law and Hong Kong Law. For example, UCL and King’s College London offer such programmes. Equally, consider whether a law school offers “A Year Abroad” opportunities as this may help with taking the aforementioned Top-Up courses.
Legal Practice in Singapore or Hong Kong
The allure of studying Law at top law schools in the UK stems from better career prospects of such graduates. An LLB degree has wider international scope, and may prove advantageous when seeking postgraduate training and employment in Singapore or Hong Kong. However, no case is identical. You should consider your career ambitions carefully and research the question by networking with recent trainee graduates: is it indeed better to study in the UK? Or maybe it makes no difference and you still want to study here for other reasons?
Studying in the UK
It is quite the adventure. Not only will you experience a very different society, you will gain an insight into the English legal culture.
Universities in the UK are very international in their intake and generally undertake great effort to support their international students. The student community is usually organized through clubs and societies, helping you to integrate and meet new people. For a law student, their Law Society will be crucial in coordinating social, career and professional events. This will be the starting point in building a professional legal network.
It is advisable to consider the costs involved with studying abroad. However, international students often have wider access to scholarships and bursaries. It is a good idea to research individual universities, educational foundations and government scholarships.
It is no surprise that studying Law in the UK is popular with international students. The top law schools here offer the highest quality of teaching and enjoy very good career prospects (it is still very competitive though!).
If you make the decision to study in the UK, you should take your application ever so seriously. We advise that your Personal Statement develops your motivation for the study of Law in the UK, although this must not overshadow all the usual demonstrations of qualities expected by admissions tutors. And finally, it matters to put the effort into LNAT as generally the average score for international students is higher.