In a statement on its website, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) says that it will refund students who applied for the Legal Practice Course (LPC) before the fee changes were made. Affected students do not need to apply to receive a refund.
In June, the SRA announced that the £200 total enrolment fee for the LPC would be reduced to £15 effective from 1 July. These changes were part of the SRA’s commitment to remove unnecessary regulations and simplify processes. Amidst rising LPC fees and applications falling by 10 per cent from 2013, these cuts appeared refreshing. However, with The University of Law’s London campus charging £14,750 for the course, a £185 saving does not seem so favourable for those self-funding.
Despite entering in the same academic year, those who applied before 1 July incurred the previous fees. Many students felt disadvantaged for being proactive and some were right to question how long this plan was in the making. The SRA states that it was seeking approval to make changes to the Training Regulations.
In response to students’ grievances, the SRA defended its decision by stating that students were warned that they would incur unnecessary fees if they continued with their enrolment rather than waiting until the SRA’s proposal was ratified by the Legal Services Board. As such, they would not offer refunds. However, many students stated that they had not received this warning. Either way, there was no indication that the fees would be significantly reduced.
Still, there are exceptions to the refund policy. Refunds will only be granted to those who applied before 12 February 2014, the date when the notice of possible fee changes was uploaded on their website. Moreover, the SRA will not refund fees paid before 1 July which relate to an assessment of a character and suitability issue due to timing issues.
The full statement can be read here: http://www.sra.org.uk/students/students.page#Collection_3.