The “English Law Studies (ELS) Course” provides students of law and local lawyers on the Continent of Europe with a comprehensive training in ‘Common Law’ for the advancement of their careers as ‘Global Lawyers’. For the moment, the ELS course is taught in Malaga and Madrid. Its classes will be streamed further afield in 2022.

ELS also provides an opportunity for Students from ‘Common Law’ jurisdictions to keep up their English legal studies to certify as professional paralegals or to prepare for the SQE whilst adding Spanish and Spanish Law to their CV’s.

A ‘Global Lawyer’ is defined by the Association of Global Lawyers (AGL)(http://associationgloballawyers.org) as “a lawyer who possesses suitably accredited academic and professional training and/or relevant work experience in the two major legal systems on the planet; ‘Common Law’ and ‘Continental Civil Law’, a high level of proficiency in English and of at least one Continental European language, together with the personal and reputational standing to be able to give competent and ethically appropriate legal advice to the highest standards of skill, expertise and professionalism in the law and practice of both these systems when assisting corporate and individual clients in general or specific cross-border legal issues“.

History of the ELS Course

The ELS course was designed and pioneered at the University of Malaga by John Brebner in 2009 and is operated under his license. It is the only course of its kind in Spain providing local students and professionals with a full training programme in English Law whilst completing their university studies or working in their home country.

Duration and workload

ELS is part-time. The duration of the full course at the academic stage is 4 years (ELS Levels 1-5). vocational and professional training is received at Level 5. The course at each Level involves a workload of one 4-hour session/week Class Contact Time (CCT) for 30 weeks each year and approximately 6 hours/week guided independent study time (IST).  

The study programmes at Levels 1-4 (see ‘Study Programmes’: https://englishlawinspain.org/study-programmes-2/) constitute the academic training stage and include all the traditional English Law foundation subjects together with other compulsory topics. AGL Level 5 is the vocational and professional stage of the ELS course and variations of the Study Programme depend on whether students wish to prepare for admission exams to be solicitors in Ireland or England & Wales or US attorneys.

Language admission proficiency level and progress

A minimum English language level of CEFR B2+/C1- is required for admission to ELS Level 1. Students can expect to reach C1+/C2 by the time they complete Level 4. Support training towards this end includes optional ‘Speech and Drama’ workshops and ‘Debating’ to improve both oral and non-verbal communication skills (See ‘Highlights’ https://englishlawinspain.org/highlights/)

To qualify at ELS Level 4, students need to be proficient in both English and Spanish (minimum C1+ ). The study of a ‘Third Language’ (no minimum requirement on admission) is a compulsory supplementary undertaking from Level 1 to Level 4.

Year abroad

Students may, by arrangement with the course providers, be credited with ELS Level 3 or 4 if they attend an AGL approved law course in a Common Law jurisdiction (e,g, UK, Ireland, Canada, USA, etc.) or undertake approved work experience and are successfully tested on their return on any subjects in the ELS Study programme that the curse providers consider appropriate.

Course qualifications and accreditation

On successfully passing at each ELS Level (pass mark 70%), students receive an AGL Diploma and are automatically entitled to move to the next Level. A pass mark of between 50% and 69% provides the student with a ‘Certificate of Attendance’ and to promotion to the next Level at AGL’s discretion.

On passing at Level 4, students are awarded a ‘Diploma in English Law Studies(D.ELS)’ by the Institute of Paralegals (IoP) and become eligible for registration and certification in the UK on the Professional Paralegal Register (PPR) at Tiers 2 or 3 depending on work experience .

Students successfully completing Level 5 are granted the IoP’s  ‘Approved English Law Adviser (A.ELA)’ status leading to eligibility for registration and certification in the UK on the Professional Paralegal Register (PPR) at Tiers 3 or 4 depending on work experience.  

PPR registration at Levels 3 and 4 counts towards AGL accreditation for the ‘Common Law’ part of the dual-training requirement for ‘Associate Global Lawyer’ and ‘Global Lawyer’ membership respectively. The corresponding ‘Continental Civil Law’ part of the dual-training requirements can be satisfied with a Law Degree at a Spanish University or an authorised higher education centre and a ‘Máster en Abogacía’ or equivalent experience.

ELS Levels 1-5 serves as preparation for the Irish Final Examination Part 1 (F-1) Exam or Solicitors’ Qualifying Examination (SQE) (information provided on request).

Professional students

The ELS Course provides training for local professionals whose business finds them increasingly involved in global transactional work that demands a high standard of English and Common Law knowledge and practice skills. (See ‘English Law Studies (ELS) Course para Titulados’: https://englishlawinspain.org/els-para-titulados-3/).

Lawyers who are qualified in the laws and practice of a Continental Civil Law jurisdiction and who have been granted A.ELA  status and are PPR registered at Tier 3 or 4 or who have other Common Law qualifications and/or experience (e.g qualified solicitors, barristers, attorneys, etc.), are eligible for ‘Global Lawyer’ membership of the AGL (See http://associationgloballawyers.org)

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