British Law Centre (at Warsaw University) Regulations 2020-2021

The following regulations are applicable to all British Law Centre participants studying toward the 1-year Diploma in English Law and Legal Skills in Warsaw during the academic year 2020-2021. These regulations reflect the agreements between Juris Angliae Scientia (as provider of the course) and the Law Faculty of the University of Warsaw (as host of the course).

  1. THE COURSE CURRICULUM


Through lectures, classes and training exercises, the Course will provide instruction in the following subjects and the opportunity to develop associated practical legal skills.  

 

SUBJECT MODULE SKILLS COMPONENT
ENGLISH LEGAL SYSTEM

Legal research, Analysis of precedents, Argumentative use of legal precedent, Statutory interpretation

CONTRACT LAW (INCLUDING CONTRACT DRAFTING)

Client interaction, Client interviewing

CRIMINAL LITIGATION AND PRACTICE

Fact management, Case analysis, Trial preparation, Oral advocacy

TORT LAW

Witness handling, Written advocacy

TRUSTS LAW

Contract negotiation and drafting, Mooting, preparation of written submissions (‘skeleton arguments’)

To graduate, participants must successfully pass an assessment in each of the subject modules. Assessments take a variety of forms, including written work and practical legal skills exercises (e.g. advocacy and contract negotiation).

 

  1. TEACHING

Teaching is delivered via lectures, classes and legal skills sessions. We aim to ensure that, as far as possible, “lecture weeks” and “class weeks” (discussed below) do not overlap, so that participants have either lectures or classes in any given week, but not both. However, timetabling constraints may sometimes mean that both lectures and classes occur in the same week.

A. Lectures

There are 10 “lecture weeks” during the Diploma. A lecture timetable is available to participants on the BLC’s website. In the event that it proves necessary to amend the original timetable (e.g. due to timetabling changes that affect the ability of guest lecturers to visit the BLC), participants will be given as much prior notice as possible.

– Lecture days and times

In each “lecture week” there is one lecture per day (Monday-Friday) taking place at 18.30-20.00. Exceptionally, we may organise additional lectures/events at 16.45-18.15 on Fridays (e.g. if a visiting lecturer needs to catch a flight later the same evening), but we aim to avoid this if possible.  In the event that any changes are required to the lecture schedule (e.g. due to study-free days being announced by UW or the illness of a lecturer) participants will be given as much prior notice as possible.

– Who will my lecturers be?

Lectures may be given by any of the following groups of persons:

  1. the resident teaching staff of the British Law Centre (“BLC”)
  2. visiting lecturers from Cambridge University and other leading common-law Universities
  3. visiting lecturers from the legal professions in the UK, Poland and elsewhere
  4. other special guest lecturers (inc. eminent scholars or practitioners)

The website contains details of some of the people who have visited the BLC and spoken to our students in recent years.

B. Classes (Seminars and Tutorials)

There are 10 “class weeks” during the Diploma. In each “class week” there are two different types of class—– seminars and tutorials (explained in further detail below). BLC participants attend one of each type of class in each of the 10 class weeks (i.e. a total of 20 classes in total). Each year, there are also additional (optional) workshops, lectures and classes that participants can join if they so wish. Classes are generally led by the BLC’s resident teaching staff but they may also be taught by visiting lecturers.

– Registering for classes and choosing times of attendance

You will be provided with a BLC class timetable (the current draft of this will be available on the lecture timetable page). Each type of class (i.e. tutorials and seminars) is repeated at various times during each class week, but each participant chooses only one tutorial and one seminar time in each class week. Once the course commences, you register online and choose one tutorial time and one seminar time which they wish to regularly attend. Registration for classes is done on a first-come-first-served basis.  However, for those participants who have documentary proof of their limited availability at other times (e.g. due to work or competing study commitments) the BLC offers priority in making class choices. The latest time at which a class (whether tutorial or seminar) takes place is 16.45-18.15 so as to ensure that all classes are completed by 18.15. This allows the BLC staff to be free to teach lectures from 18.30. In most weeks, you will not have a lecture after your classes, since (as mentioned above) we aim to keep lecture weeks and class weeks separate. However, the BLC usually has 2 courses (or 2 years of study) happening during any academic year, so BLC staff need to be free from 18.30 in any case. Moreover, it may happen that (rarely) you have both classes and lectures in a single week, so both BLC staff and participants need to be available at 18.30 to attend lectures whenever (rarely) classes and lectures overlap.

– One-off attendance of classes other than your registered class

Once participants have chosen a particular seminar and tutorial, they shall attend those particular class times during every class week. However, if you (exceptionally) need to attend a different class time in a particular week (e.g. for work-related reasons, or due to ill-health), you should write sufficiently in advance to the BLC’s teaching staff and seek permission to attend your non-regular class time.

– Content of classes

The legal issues/topics discussed in “class weeks” usually focus on the same issues of law that were discussed in the preceding “lecture week”, so that participants can strengthen their understanding of those issues by discussing and resolving practical legal problems in the same field, or ask for further information or guidance on areas they found difficult. Some classes do not concentrate on the same issues as were discussed in lectures but, rather, feature exercises aimed at developing practical skills such as advocacy, drafting contracts, or client interviewing. The experience gained will be used to build each participant’s personalised ‘Legal Skills Portfolio’ (see part C below).

– Preparation for classes

Active participation by all participants is expected during all classes. Participants are provided in advance with questions and topics to be discussed during their classes, together with any necessary reading and preparation materials. Participants are responsible for preparing answers to these questions and arriving at classes ready to discuss those questions, or (as the case may be) ready to take part in a scheduled legal skills exercise (see part C below).

– Attendance requirements

A record is kept of participants’ class attendance which is subject to a ‘70+70’ minimum attendance rule (see part D below).

– Online Lessons

From time to time, if BLC teaching staff consider it to be necessary and effective, individual lessons may be conducted online. Online lessons will be limited as much as possible, and in any given year will be restricted to a maximum of thirty percent of all teaching. The maximum share of teaching being conducted online does not apply in circumstances where it is impossible to provide in-class teaching due to restrictions on movement imposed by the authorities in the state of the host university or in the state of residence of the teacher. 

The two types of BLC classes – Seminars and Tutorials

There are two separate types of classes, each of which is comprised of approx. 15 participants per class:

(i) Seminars

In every “class week” (of which there are 10 in total) each participant attends one 90-minute seminar occurring at the regular time they selected from the BLC class schedule (see above). Discussion usually focuses on how to provide legal advice to fictional clients who are involved in a range of legal disputes or problems – these fictional scenarios are referred to as “problem questions” and form the basis of the BLC’s practical approach to understanding/ applying the law and advising clients. In seminars involving skills-training, the format will vary in accordance with the nature of the exercise forming the basis for skill development (see part C below).

(ii) Tutorials

In every “class week” each participants attends one 90-minute tutorial occurring at the regular time they selected from the BLC class schedule (see above). Participants are provided in advance with the issues/questions to be discussed. Questions involve a mixture of “problem questions” (see above) and “discussion questions”, requiring participants to critically assess how English law resolves a particular legal issue. This format will vary in those weeks in which the tutorial is devoted to skill-training (see part C below).

  1. Seminars and Tutorials focusing on skill-training

In some class weeks, the seminar and/or tutorial will adopt a different format and be dedicated to exercises that focus on equipping Diploma participants with skills that are important in legal practice. Skill-training seminars and tutorials will include issues such as: analysing case-law; analysing and interpreting statute law; legal writing skills; negotiating, analysing and drafting contracts; client-interviewing; and advocacy skills.

In delivering skill-training, the BLC is oriented by two prime objectives:

(i) Encouraging active learning

Skill-training sessions will focus on active participation by each participant. Depending on the nature of the exercise upon which the development of skills in a particular class week is based, this might include participants forming teams within their regular class group so as to take opposing positions (e.g. Seller or Buyer) in the negotiation of a contract clause, or perhaps engaging in competition against other tutorial or seminar groups in debates, mini-trials, or moots. An element of advance preparation is usually involved. This could take the form of reading background materials on the skill which is the focus of development, or perhaps critiquing or drafting basic contract clauses, or listening to a recording of a client interview and assessing to what extent legally relevant information has been obtained. Due to the range of skills to be targeted, the structure of these classes and the forms of participation and preparation will necessarily vary. But the emphasis will remain on ‘learning by doing’—i.e. keeping the focus on relevant and practical active learning rather than more passive and theoretical approaches.

(ii) Developing the personal ‘Legal Skills Portfolio’

In order to capitalise on the skills developed during the Diploma, the BLC staff will assist each participant to compile and continually update a personal legal skills portfolio. The portfolio will be divided into areas corresponding to specific skill competences and will record information on how each specific skill was acquired and/or developed, including by participating in practical exercises during the Diploma. Participants will be able to discuss one-on-one with BLC teaching staff their progress in developing their legal skills, to identify areas of strength and those where further improvement is desirable, and to search out steps and measures that can be taken to further strengthen skills in key areas that are a priority for the participant.

By the time of graduating from the BLC Diploma, each participant will possess an accessible and understandable record of skills they have acquired/developed, which may serve as a basis for communicating personal strengths to future employers.

Attendance and the ‘70 + 70’ rule

Attendance requirements

We expect that in the absence of exceptional circumstances participants will attend all lectures and classes. Nevertheless, in the event that a participant has absences from lectures or classes in any particular module, they will still be entitled to submit their assignment (or other type of assessment as relevant) provided they satisfy the ‘70 + 70’ rule, i.e. that the participant is recorded as having attended an absolute minimum of 70% of lectures and 70% of classes in the relevant module.

Subject to the above, each participant must ensure that they comply with the Diploma’s attendance rules in order to be eligible to complete each individual subject module and receive the Diploma.

Records will be maintained of participants’ attendance at classes and lectures and of their participation during classes. A copy of these records will be maintained on the BLC’s website and will be taken into account when deciding whether a participant should be recommended for the course Diploma.

What happens if my attendance falls below the requirements?

Any participant whose attendance record does not satisfy the ‘70 + 70’ rule (see above) in a particular subject module may become ineligible to submit the assignment (or other assessment) for that module or be required to complete an additional piece of written work in order to acquire eligibility. In extreme cases, a participant may be ineligible to pass the Diploma and may be required to re-enrol or repeat the relevant module(s) in a subsequent academic year before they are allowed to graduate the Diploma. Any participants who need to repeat modules in a subsequent academic year will be required to pass those modules in accordance with the course requirements as they stand at the time (e.g. if a particular module used to be assessed by way of assignment but is now assessed by way of a skills exercise, “returning” participants will be required to pass the skills exercise). A fee is payable by those who wish to complete the Diploma later than the year in which they commenced their BLC studies. The fee is calculated on the number of modules remaining incomplete, (i.e. if the student has completed 50% of the assessments, they need to pay 50% of the normal course fee in the year they wish to complete the Diploma). 

Attendance records

The BLC maintains and updates attendance records for each individual participant. Participants are responsible for:

  1. attending their chosen class times;
  2. informing their tutor in advance if they will (exceptionally) be unable to attend their class times in any give class week and arranging an alternative time to attend;
  3. ensuring that the tutor is aware of their presence at the start of class so that this may be properly recorded;
  4. arriving punctually at all relevant classes
  5. preparing for and actively participating in all classes
  6. checking that their attendance record accurately reflects their actual class attendance and promptly informing the relevant tutor of any perceived errors

 

  1. MATERIALS

 

  1. The Diploma Course’s Internet Site

Registering on the BLC’s site

On commencing studies with the BLC, all participants will be registered on the course’s eLearning platform, where the necessary reading and other course materials will be found. Each participant’s ‘username’ for these purposes will be the email address they provided on their application to the BLC (unless they advise the BLC staff otherwise). All participants will be given a generic log-in password which can be used when accessing the website for the first time and which should be changed to a private password by each participant on the first occasion of logging in.

Make sure your email address is your current one

Since each participant’s email address forms the basis for registering on the BLC’s website and since important notifications will be sent to that address, it is crucial that students inform the BLC staff directly if their contact email address changes. Participants should also take steps to ensure that emails sent by BLC staff are not directed to ‘spam’ folders, e.g. by ensuring that their email account settings are updated so that BLC staff members’ email addresses will be treated as ‘safe’.

BLC Workbooks and other important course materials – Where can these be found?

Each subject module during the course is accompanied by written materials which explain the law relevant to that subject and containing questions to be prepared for class discussions. The written and other materials can be downloaded from the BLC’s website. Having access to these materials is essential in order to actively participate in classes, so each student should ensure they have these materials on hand in tutorials and seminars (e.g. by printing the materials or bringing a device on which they can be easily accessed).

 

  1. The University and BLC Libraries

The British Law Centre possesses its own library of legal materials and participants may borrow these materials on a short-term basis through the BLC librarian. Details of the BLC’s library and the borrowing procedure are available on our website.

 

  1. COURSE FEES
  1. FEES

Fee levels and deadlines

Course fees are published on the BLC’s website and may be revised annually. Participants must pay their course fees no later than 14 days prior to the course start date (i.e. normally by no later than 15th September in any academic year unless otherwise notified), unless they have already signed and returned the BLC’s Instalment Agreement and established a timetable for making payment in instalments. Anyone signing the BLC’s Instalment Agreement acknowledges that they are obliged to pay the full course fees even in the event that they choose not to complete the Diploma.

Early-bird fee reductions

An early-bird fee reduction may apply in any given year, the relevant terms and conditions of which will be published on the BLC’s website.

‘Returner’ fees payable when extending studies

A returner’s fee will be payable by any participant who fails to complete the Diploma within 1 year from their initial enrolment and seeks to complete any uncompleted module(s) in a subsequent academic year. The level of the returners’ fee will be published on the BLC’s website. The fee is calculated on the number of modules remaining incomplete, (i.e. if the student has completed 50% of the assessments, they need to pay 50% of the normal course fee in the year they wish to complete the Diploma).

How to make payment

All participants whose application documents have been sent and reviewed by the BLC in accordance with our applications policy will receive Payment Instructions detailing how to pay course fees (e.g. relevant bank account numbers, payment dates, etc.) These instructions constitute an integral part of these Course Regulations. The Payment Instructions are not supplied until a participant’s application has been reviewed and approved, in order to prevent payments being made by persons who have not been formally accepted to the course. 

Important note on banking charges

All payments of course fees must be made by bank transfer. Since participants make payment of BLC course fees to a UK-based bank, charges may be imposed when making bank transfers. It is the responsibility of each participant (when making the bank transfer) to ensure that they accept the costs imposed by both their local bank and the BLC’s UK-based bank. In the event that a participant does not do so, they remain liable to pay any amount which was missing from their full course fees on arrival in the BLC’s UK account.

  1. ASSESSMENT

 

  1. METHODS OF ASSESSMENT

During the course, participants will need to successfully complete an assessment in each of the course curriculum modules (see section 1 above).  Each module is assessed by one of the following methods:

  1. Written assignments

Written assignments are the most common type of assessment and require participants to provide reasoned legal advice to characters involved in a series of events that raise particular legal problems related to the area of law being assessed. Emphasis is placed on practical application of the relevant law to the facts and providing practical advice to the characters on their probable legal rights and obligations.

  1. “Open book” written exams

Participants may be required to answer practical problem-based questions (similar to written assignments, but shorter) in an exam environment under controlled time conditions. Any written exams will be “open book” in the sense that participants may use their notes and materials during the exam.

  1. Practical exercises

Certain modules are assessed by way of practical exercises designed to develop and assess participants’ legal skills. For example, participants’ understanding of the contract law regulating sales of goods is assessed by requiring participants to negotiate and draft a contract for the sale of a given product. Other types of practical exercises include mooting, debates, drafting of court pleadings, etc (see part C of section 2 above).

Submission of assignments and related requirements

Questions for written assignments will be made available on the BLC’s website (see part A of section 3 above) and must be uploaded to the same website for them to be graded. Participants should ensure that their submitted answers comply with any instructions that were issued with the assignment, including deadlines for submission and the maximum length of answers (i.e. maximum word-count). Participants are only entitled to have their work marked if it was submitted on time (NB. extensions will not be granted in the absence of compelling and exceptional reasons). In the case of excessively long submissions, these will only be marked up to the place in the text where the applicable word-limit is reached and they will be graded on that basis alone. In the case of more serious breaches (e.g. plagiarism), there is no right to have the work assessed and further consequences may follow.

Option to return in a subsequent year to complete assessments

Any participant who does not successfully complete all the assessments required to qualify for the BLC Diploma in the relevant academic year will have the option—if the participant has worked in good faith toward completion of the assessment requirements—to “return” in the following (or later) academic year to complete any outstanding requirements. Returning students will need to pay the returner’s fee applicable in the year in which they wish to return (discussed in part A of section 4 above).

Class performance

The BLC teaching staff will maintain records of participants’ level of preparation, understanding, effort, and participation in class discussions. If a question arises in relation to assessment or attendance, a strong record of class participation will count in the participant’s favour in resolving the issue. Performance in classes may also impact on the final decision as to which participants should receive additional awards of “merit” and “distinction”.

 

  1. STANDARDS OF ASSESSMENT

 

(i) Marking standards and procedures

All assignments and examinations are marked on a percentage basis reflecting the criteria and standards applied by UK universities. A pass mark is any grade higher than 40% and a “first class” mark is signified by a mark of 70% or above (in accordance with standard practice at Cambridge University and other English Universities). Please note that any grade above 70% indicates that the work in question is of a very high standard. Grades above 75% indicate work of such outstanding quality that there are many years in which no participant receives a grade this high. Any assignment which fails (i.e. fails to reach a mark of 40%) will simply be indicated as “FAIL” or “0”. This obviously does not mean that the work achieved 0%, but merely that it did not reach the requisite 40% pass mark.

Requesting a review of assignment marking

If any participant wishes to query the mark they were awarded or to raise any other query in relation to an assignment, this must be raised with the tutor who marked the assignment within 14 days of when the assignment was returned to the participant. The tutor will review the grade awarded or other issue raised in light of the concerns expressed by the participant and come to a decision. The tutor’s decision will generally be final, but in appropriate cases review requests will be referred to the BLC Academic Committee for further consideration and absolute final decision.    

Assignment feedback

All assignments and other assessments are originally marked by members of the BLC teaching staff. These are returned to participants with tutor comments indicating areas of strength and those aspects where improvements can be made.

Moderation of marking by external examiners

All assignments and examinations are subject to double external examination. Currently, the external examiners responsible for finalising BLC participant results are from the University of Cambridge and the University of Glasgow. Accordingly, any marks awarded by BLC teaching staff are “provisional” until such time as they are approved by the JAS external assessment procedures, which also function as an annual review of the BLC’s marking quality and standards.  

(ii) Failed assignments/examinations and retakes

Any participant who fails an assignment/exam (i.e. does not receive a grade of 40% or higher) will be automatically assigned a grade of 0% while the subject remains unpassed. A second attempt at passing the relevant subject (called a ‘retake’) is available to all participants. Retake submissions are assessed on a pass/fail basis. In other words, the grade awarded will automatically be 40% if the retake attempt is passed, with no possibility of a higher grade being awarded. If the retake does not attain the pass standard then the normal consequence is that the participant is not eligible to continue BLC studies and graduate from the Diploma. However, the participant may be granted permission to make a 3rd attempt where the BLC staff are of the opinion that special extenuating circumstances justify this. The attendance and performance records of the participant will also be taken into account in deciding whether to permit another attempt at the assessment.

 

  1. COMPLETION AND CERTIFICATION

All participants who successfully complete all the course modules within the relevant time-limits, and all other requirements concerning payment of fees and attendance, will be recommended for the course Diploma.  The recommendation is preliminary and the final decision on the grant of the Diploma must await completion of the external examiners’ review process (discussed above in section 5). At the conclusion of this process, participants are informed of their confirmed entitlement to graduate and of the time and place of the graduation ceremony.

Graduates of the Diploma course shall receive the following:

  1. A Course Diploma signed by senior representatives from Juris Angliae Scientia and the University of Warsaw Faculty of Law and Administration

(The Diploma is categorized into Pass, Merit or Distinction according to the level of grades obtained during the course and participation in BLC classes and activities.)

  1. ECTS points as part of the University of Warsaw law degree*.

16 ECTS credits are awarded for the course in total. These credits will be assigned after all modules have been successfully passed and the relevant participant has been recommended for the award of the Course Diploma. Any queries relating to Warsaw credits should be directed to the BLC-UW Kierownik, who will sign participant indexes.

*Participants from universities other than the University of Warsaw may also be entitled to ECTS points for competing the BLC Course, but this should be confirmed with the relevant institution. The BLC is unable to provide any advice on ECTS points at other universities, but we can certify the fact that you have completed the Diploma course. 

 

  1. MISCELLANEOUS

(i) Location of the British Law Centre

The BLC office is currently located at the following address:

University of Warsaw

Wybrzeże Kościuszkowskie 47 (room 11)

03-347 Warszawa

Tel/Fax: (+48 22) 552 7278

(ii) Administrative Queries

Any queries regarding University of Warsaw ECTS credits should be directed to the Course Kierownik (Dr Steve Terrett).

Any queries relating to fee payment or the organisation of the course in general can be directed, in the first instance, to any of the BLC’s teaching staff.

Queries relating to academic matters in connection with course modules, assignments, classes, attendance records, etc., should be directed to the tutor who is identified (on the BLC’s website) as being responsible for the particular subject area, e.g. Contract Law, Tort, or Trusts.

In the case of technical difficulties in accessing or using features of the BLC’s website, please contact Ruairi O’Neill.

The course is provided by the UK-based charity Juris Angliae Scientia and the interpretation and application of the Diploma regulations is governed by English law to the extent consistent with rights guaranteed by mandatory law.

All efforts are made to minimise amendments to these Regulations. However, in the event that any amendments are made, the version of the Regulations in force in any given academic year shall apply to all BLC participants studying toward the 1-year Diploma I that year.  

By submitting an application form for the Diploma Course and accessing the BLC’s website , participants express their consent to these regulations, including the rules regarding payment of course fees and the processing and retention of their personal data by the BLC strictly in accordance with the BLC’s Privacy and Data Retention Policy (see below).

Warsaw, April 2020

Privacy and Data Retention Policy

When filing your online application to the BLC, you provided us with permission to contact you electronically. The permission for which we asked is voluntary and may be revoked by you at any time, for example by sending a message in reply to any electronic correspondence which you receive from us. If, however, you do not express permission as requested herein, or if you subsequently revoke such permission, we will not address any electronic communications to you in the future.  

Your personal data is processed by the BLC to enable us to contact you regarding all aspects of the Diploma course and to keep you informed about the activities of the BLC and our sponsor law firms. We guarantee all your rights in this respect, including your right to request access to this data, to transfer such data, to correct such data, to delete such data and to delimit its processing, and also your right to object to our processing of your data. In the event that any participant’s objection to the BLC processing his/her data results in it becoming unreasonable or excessively difficult for the BLC to continue to contact with the participant or enable the participant to access course materials, assessments etc., that objection shall be deemed to constitute a withdrawal from the BLC course.

Unless storage of the data for a longer period is mandated by applicable laws, we do not retain your data longer than necessary to enable contact with you, to tailor our offer for you, and to provide information about the activities of the BLC and our sponsor law firms. Should you have any questions, for instance as regards your right to lodge a complaint with an oversight authority, or any requests or objections, we invite you to contact us.

Anyone whose application to join the course is accepted will have their registration details stored in accordance with the aforementioned Privacy Policy and in accordance with applicable legislation.