FAQ

Frequently asked questions about paralegals and paralegal courses

You should let yourself be guided by the eligibility requirements set out for each qualification. The Level 7 is aimed at English Law graduates, and presumes that any learner already studied and understands the general principles of English Law: Both the Level 3 and 4 courses presume no prior knowledge of the law. You are not necessarily required to start at Level 3 in order to move on to Level 4.
The appropriate course is therefore based on your previous education and experience. The eligibility criteria should guide you on this.

Other factors that may guide your decision will be your ultimate intentions eg why you wish to do the course. Even though you may be eligible for the Level 4, you may find that the flexibility of the Level 3 qualifications, better meets your needs.

The most appropriate, and cost effective, course for you would be the Level 4 Diploma in Paralegal Studies. Please note that learners must have good written and spoken English in order to be eligible to enroll for our courses. Evidence may be requested at the time of enrolment.

Learners have a maximum of 2 years to complete the Level 3 Certificate, Level 3 DiplomaLevel 4 Diploma
and Level 7 Diploma. Students have a maximum of 1 year to complete the Level 3 Award, Part 1 of the Level 4 Diploma and Part 2 of the Level 4 Diploma, and a maximum of 6 months to complete a Single Unit Subject. This is an overestimate as we recognise that the course is required to fit around your other commitments. Suggested times for completion are:

Level 4 Diploma in Paralegal Studies – 10-14 months

Level 3 Award in Paralegal Practice – 3-4 months

Level 3 Certificate in Paralegal Practice – 6-8 months

Level 3 Diploma in Paralegal Practice – 9-12 months

There are no minimum time constraints, you can go as fast as you like. However we do recommend that you await results of your previous assignment before completing the next.

* Membership is necessary to study with the NALP; your first year’s membership is included within the cost of the Level 3, Level 4 and Level 7 Qualifications, but NOT included if you enrol for a Single Unit Subject. If you have not completed your studies after the first year, then you will be required to renew your membership.

You can start whenever you like! The course is by distance learning we don’t have any specific enrolment dates. 

Click the ‘enrol here’ tab of the webpage, select the course you are looking to take (with the relevant payment plan) and fill in your details.

We will receive notification that this payment has gone through and will contact you with an enrolment form.

Once we have received the enrolment form, you will be enrolled and course materials will be sent to you via email as PDF documents usually within 7 days.

The date the email with your materials is sent, is your start date for your study, and you will have 2 years from this day (for Level 3 Certificate/Diploma and Level 4 and 7 Diplomas) or 1 year for the Level 3 Award or Parts 1 or 2 of the Level 4 Diploma, or 6 months for a single unit Subject.

The course uses continuous assessment, so learners must successfully complete a single assignment for each unit.

Once you have read the course material for each unit and feel comfortable you can request, via email, your assignment.  You will have a strict 4 weeks to complete that assignment and the date by which you need to submit it will be specified in the email.

If you fail to return your assignment on time, you will be deemed to have failed. If you don’t receive your assignment within a reasonable time after requesting it, you should contact us again to follow up.

If you require more time to complete the assignment because of a special consideration, we can give you an extra week, but only if the application for extra time is made in writing prior to the deadline, and you provide us with evidence.  An application without evidence will not be accepted. (Please see our Reasonable adjustments and special considerations policy)

We have independent examiners who mark the papers. Please allow 2-4 weeks for papers to be marked although this may be much faster depending on the number we have to be marked at the time. Please note that no feedback is given, but tutorial support is available and there are sample questions and qualification specifications online to assist you.

If you fail your assignment you are given a second opportunity to successfully complete it. If you fail again then you will be offered a third opportunity provided you pay a fee of £20.  There can be no fourth attempt.

You can contact the office with any queries or questions that you have about NALP Course Material and we will try to help as much as possible. However, we are unable to answer questions relating to assignments, but you can request tutor assistance.

As the courses are by distance learning the help we can provide is limited. We do have a student mentor, entirely independent from us, who can help and guide you. We can also offer extensions in time, for completing assignments and the course if that is required. However if this is the case you must contact us, and make your application for this extension prior to starting the course or the assignment in question.  We require evidence in support of any application. (Please see our Reasonable adjustments and special considerations policy)

There are very few areas in a Solicitor’s General Practice in respect of which a solicitor has a legislative monopoly. The main areas are: conduct of litigation, rights of audience in the main courts, certain aspects of a conveyancing transaction and the extraction of a Grant of Representation.

However, in the vast majority of other matters, Paralegals have the right to conduct general legal business and also have absolute rights of audience in the Small Claims Court and in the majority of Tribunals.

In addition, provided that they are representing their solicitor or qualified litigator employer, paralegals can have rights of audience on most interim application hearings and hearings in Chambers and in family case applications including hearings in chambers in both the High Court and the County Court other than reserved family proceedings.

A most important concept in England and Wales is that unlike other countries (particularly America and to some extent Canada) there is no specific offence of the ‘unauthorised practice of law’ (UPL)

A Paralegal is a person qualified through education and training to perform substantive legal work that requires knowledge of the law and procedures and who is not a qualified solicitor, barrister or chartered legal executive

Paralegals may work for, or be retained by solicitors within the legal profession or they may work within a legal environment within commerce, industry or the public sector.

Paralegals may also work for themselves as either freelancers, offering their services to a variety of employers or as Professional Paralegal Practitioners, with a NALP Licence to Practise (subject to the NALP eligibility requirements).

The client of a Solicitor or Barrister needs to know that whoever deals with their problem within a firm, is capable of performing it to the same extent as any other member of the firm, at that level. It is a question of credibility. Clients must perceive paralegals to be credible.

Clients need to be satisfied with the work done for them. In the case of un-admitted staff, they will be in the hands of a competent member of staff who is qualified, experienced and who is as dedicated. A Licensed Paralegal works to be up to a required standard set by the NALP.

Aims of Licensing

The aim of the licensing provisions is to provide for the regulation of our members in order to bring them in line with the rest of the legal profession.

Whereas anyone can call themselves a ‘paralegal’, only those who can fulfil the criteria laid down by the association can call themselves a ‘Licensed Paralegal’. By gaining qualifications and experience, paralegals can work, through the association, towards gaining the coveted goal of being licensed.

Once a Licence has been attained, a Licensed Paralegal has the right to practice from High Street offices offering legal services directly to members of the public, provided they have the appropriate insurance (such as indemnity insurance)

Background to Licensing

As a result of the introduction by the Government of a review of legal services by Sir David Clementi in 2004, the association, after consultation, published its strategic plan for the self-regulation of the paralegal profession by way of licensing.

This was implemented in 2005 following the publication of the Clementi Report and accordingly the association was restructured as “The National Association of Licensed Paralegals” and commenced issuing licenses to those paralegals who could satisfy the Licensing Criteria laid down by the association, of knowledge, competence, dedication, good character and continuing professional development.

The association provides this as the bench-mark in England and Wales for the qualified, experienced and dedicated paralegal. As a result, the association now caters for all paralegals, at whatever stage they have reached in their career development.

Licensed Paralegals give clients confidence of their abilities

Solicitors and other employers can advertise the fact that their support staff are members of a regulatory body and are licensed.