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Becoming a criminal lawyer in the UK requires a minimum of three years of undergraduate study at a UK university. During this time, the student will learn the basics of criminal law and procedure. This can include courses such as criminal justice, criminal law and criminal procedure. After the completion of their undergraduate degree, future criminal lawyers must complete the Graduate Diploma in Law, which is usually completed in one year.
In order to qualify for admission to the Bar, prospective criminal lawyers must pass two sets of examinations, the Common Professional Examination and the Bar Professional Training Course. The Common Professional Examination usually takes two years to complete and covers topics such as civil and criminal law and legal practice. The Bar Professional Training Course is a one year course that covers areas such as ethics, advocacy and evidence.
Once the exams have been completed, the prospective lawyer must complete pupillage, which is a period of hands-on training. This can take between one and two years, depending on the type of practice they wish to enter. During pupillage, they will gain experience in criminal law by shadowing experienced criminal lawyers and attending court proceedings.
The costs of becoming a criminal lawyer in the UK can be very high. The fees for the exams and pupillage can be in excess of £20,000, and there are also costs for the training courses and other related expenses.
After completing pupillage, the lawyer will be qualified to work in a law firm. Most criminal lawyers work in a solicitors firm, which can provide them with the opportunity to gain further experience and build a successful career. Criminal lawyers may also choose to become barristers, which is a more independent form of practice, although this usually requires additional qualifications and experience.
Criminal lawyers in the UK earn an average salary of £50,000 per year. This can vary depending on the type of law firm and the experience of the lawyer. Criminal lawyers are usually well paid, and salaries can be even higher for those who work in high profile firms.
Foreign nationals can become criminal lawyers in the UK, although they must meet the same qualifications as UK lawyers. They must also pass the necessary examinations and complete pupillage, and must also be registered with the Bar Council.
To become a criminal lawyer in the UK typically takes at least five years, including three years of undergraduate study, the Graduate Diploma in Law and pupillage. The cost of the qualifications and training can be in excess of £20,000 and criminal lawyers are usually well paid, with salaries of around £50,000 per year. Foreign nationals can become criminal lawyers in the UK, although they must meet the same professional qualifications as UK lawyers.