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Criminal Litigation  LLM


The Specialist LLM in Criminal Litigation is the first postgraduate degree course in the UK to be devoted  exclusively to criminal litigation. It concentrates on the principles that lie behind the criminal justice system and the need to place those principles in a critical and comparative context.

The masters course has been designed to allow you to examine important areas of criminal litigation in greater-depth than is usually possible either at undergraduate level or on a professional training course.

This specialist masters degree appeals to practitioners in the field of criminal justice, particularly: solicitors, barristers, CPS employees and police officers. Lawyers at the start of their career have found this course helps them to build their knowledge and expertise in a specialist area.

Our past students have included lawyers on a career break and those seeking judicial appointment wishing to broaden their knowledge and raise their practical awareness. Many students have taken this LLM as an in-depth transition from their LLB or BA courses prior to studying for the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) or Legal Practice Course (LPC).

CPD Accredited

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has approved the course for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for solicitors. Further details about CPD accreditation may be obtained from the SRA.

Why choose the LLM in Criminal Litigation at City?

  • Grow your skills and knowledge with the first postgraduate course in the UK devoted exclusively to Criminal Litigation
  • Enhance your understanding of criminal practice, advocacy and sentencing
  • Learn from experts with proven experience in delivering vocational training in a learn-by-doing environment
  • Become a specialist in the area of criminal litigation and advance your career
  • Gain CPD accreditation from The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)

You can also explore the Master of Laws that allows you to combine criminal litigation-related modules with any other modules of your choice.

Course Fees:

  • Full-time EU: £11,000
  • Part-time EU: £5,500 per year
  • Full-time Non EU: £16,000
  • Part-time Non EU: £8,000 per year

Start Date:

September 2016
January 2017

How to Apply

Entry Requirements

Applicants should normally hold a good first degree in law, or an equivalent qualification in a related discipline, and must be fluent in written and spoken English.

We expect applicants who are not nationals of English-speaking countries OR have not successfully completed an academic qualification equivalent to a UK undergraduate degree taught in English to have an overall IELTS score of at least 7.0.

Applicants with a first degree in a subject other than law will be considered, but it should be noted that this may restrict the choice of modules where content is dependent on a prior knowledge of law.

How do we make our decision?

In reaching our selection decisions we will take account of:

  • Academic performance
  • Reasons for choice of courses/career
  • Evidence of intellectual ability
  • References
  • Relevant work experience/activity

Postgraduate Preparatory Courses for International Students

If you do not qualify for direct entry, our partner INTO City University London offers an academic preparation programme - the Graduate Diploma. The course offers a route to City University London through an excellent teaching and learning experience, located in purpose built study facilities.  Successful completion of the Graduate Diploma at INTO City University London to the standard required provides guaranteed progression to this Masters degree.

English Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English, the following qualification is also required:

  • IELTS: 7 with a minimum of 6 in each area.

Please note that due to changes in the UKVI 's list of SELT s we are no longer able to accept TOEFL as evidence of English language for students who require a CAS as of April 2014.

Language Programmes

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner, INTO City University London offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree. Please click the links below for more information.

Visa Requirements

If you are not from the European Economic Area / Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK you may need to apply for a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK to study.  

The way that you apply may vary depending on the length of your course; there are different rules for:

  • Students on courses of more than 6 months
  • Students on courses of less than 6 months
  • Students on a pre-sessional English Language course

Please note: If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK, you cannot undertake any City University London courses on a part-time basis.

For more information see our main Visa page.

When and Where

Start Date:
September 2016
January 2017

Full-time: 1 year

Part-time: 2 years (minimum)

Course Content

The course looks in depth at important topics in the fields of criminal procedure, sentencing, criminal evidence and criminal advocacy, and makes comparative reference to other legal systems.

Each of the individual modules explores a topic from a different perspective providing you with a practical understanding of the subject matter. To qualify for this specialist Master degree, you must complete a total of 180 credits.

You must complete at least 90 credits of taught modules in the specialist pathway must be completed and complete a dissertation (of either 30 or 60 credits) in that area of specialisation.

Below are the specific modules for Criminal Litigation:

  • Sentencing: Theory and Practice (30 credits)
  • Advocacy in the criminal trial   (30 credits)
  • International Criminal Law: the Practitioner Perspective (30 credits)
  • International Criminal Law: Crimes and Institutions (30 credits)
  • Advocacy: Trial Stories (30 credits)
  • Criminal Justice: The Process of the Courts(30 credits)
  • Criminal Trials: Evidence and Proof (30 credits)
  • Professional Ethics for Commercial Legal Practice (30 credits)
  • Forensic Psychology for the Criminal Practitioner (30 credits)

The remainder of the credits may be completed by selecting any other LLM modules of your choice.

View our full range of LLM modules.

Dissertation (incorporating research methods training)

  • 10,000 word Supervised Dissertation (30 credits), or
  • 20,000 word Supervised Dissertation (60 credits)

Please note: Modules are offered subject to minimum numbers; where it is not possible to offer a module because of low student demand, you will be given the opportunity to write a dissertation around that subject area.

Please note that those students who start the course in January will take two (or three) taught modules in the spring term (January-April), write their dissertation over the summer, before completing the remaining taught modules in the autumn term (September – December).  Please be reassured that this structure does not disadvantage January entry students in any way; the dissertation is a separate piece of individual work, it does not directly build on the teaching and assessment which takes place on the taught modules. All students are allocated dissertation supervisors who assist students topic selection and in research methodology.

Teaching and Assessment


The course is taught at our campus at Gray's Inn Place located right in the heart of legal London. Our LLM teaching team have considerable experience of vocational training for lawyers. In addition to their experience as teachers and trainers, most members of the LLM course team have practical experience of the criminal justice system, either as barristers or solicitors. Members of the team have published a number of books on the various subjects offered on the LLM for practitioners and students.

Find out more about our academics at The City Law School


Assessment will draw on a range of approaches which include written coursework, presentations, skills work, in-class tests, projects and a dissertation.  The purpose of this is to assess a range of different skills and knowledge, as well as exposing you to different approaches.

The majority of modules will be assessed on the basis of written coursework of 5,000-5,500 words.

The 30-credit dissertation module will involve the submission of a dissertation of 10,000 words on a subject agreed with your supervisor/Programme Director. If you decide to offer the 60 credit dissertation instead, you are required to submit a dissertation of 20,000 words on a subject agreed with your supervisor/Programme Director.

Most modules have a single summative assessment with 100% weighting but there are some where there is more than one assessment and the weighting for each will be 50%.

You have the option of completing formative coursework in each module. The formative assessment will give you an opportunity to understand and appreciate the academic attainment levels expected. At different stages of the programme, it provides you with the opportunity to develop and demonstrate legal research, quantitative, cognitive and other skills in addition to your knowledge and understanding of the subjects.

The dissertation provides you with an opportunity to display competence in legal research. It allows some autonomy and enables you to show that you can manage information as well as developing complex arguments and innovative ways to solve problems.

Each assessment tests whether you:

  • have grasped the relevant principles;
  • are able to analyse and interpret those principles critically;
  • are able to apply them to complex factual problems; and
  • can present the relevant points in concise, clear and grammatical terms.


Career Development
At The City Law School you will be given a personal tutor who will guide your academic and professional progress. In addition, you will have access to the University's Centre for Career Skills and Development.

The Profession
We regularly invite members of the profession to come into the School to talk to our students. We hold 20 events each year for intending barristers where you can talk directly to members of leading sets of chambers. We also run an annual series of careers seminars aimed at intending solicitors. These are also supplemented by the Law & Practice Forum - a series of talks including several given by solicitors in international practice.


You will have access to LawBore - The City Law School's own legal resource portal. These give you access to the latest research materials, legislative updates, library services and study news.


  • Full-time EU: £11,000
  • Part-time EU: £5,500 per year
  • Full-time Non EU: £16,000
  • Part-time Non EU: £8,000 per year


For up-to-date information about tuition fees, living costs and financial support, visit Postgraduate Fees and Finance.

See our range scholarships, prizes and loans that can help you pay for your course.

Future Finance Loans

Future Finance offers students loans of between £2,500 and £40,000 to help cover tuition fees and living expenses. All students and courses are considered. All loans are subject to credit checks and approval for further details please visit the City Finance website.

For more information and further ideas about funding your course, visit Financing your study.

Career Prospects

Upon successful completion of the four modules and dissertation you will be be awarded a specialist Master of Laws degree in Criminal Litigation (LLM). If you only complete the four modules without a dissertation you will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Criminal Litigation.

When you graduate from the course you will have a substantial understanding of the fundamentals of criminal litigation, together with enhanced analytical abilities. These attributes will enable you to make a substantial contribution within our developing criminal justice system.

Our graduates have often reported that the course has helped them to advance in their careers through gaining a promotion, changing careers or through professional progression.

Postgraduate experience

Students who complete the LLM may wish to continue their academic studies by enrolling in a PhD or MPhil offered by The City Law School.

Apply for the Specialist LLM in Criminal Litigation

Applications are now open for 2016 entry and can be made through the links below. Late applicants run the risk that the course may be full after the initial round of offers has been made.

September 2016

The application deadlines for September 2016 entry are as follows:

  • Home/EU students: 12 September 2016
  • International students: 24 August 2016

January 2017

We encourage online applications, however you are also able to apply by completing the below application and reference forms and sending them to the following address:

The City Law School Admissions
City University London
4 Gray's Inn Place