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College of Law becomes UK's first for-profit university

The College of Law has been granted university title and will be known as the University of Law.

The institution becomes the UK's first private university since the University of Buckingham was given the title by Royal Charter in 1983.

It is likely that university title also represents the last hurdle in the takeover of the college, which had charitable status, by Montagu Private Equity in a deal worth around £200 million. As a result of the takeover, the institution will become the UK's first for-profit university.

The institution says in a statement that it "will be a significant global player and is already one of the largest professional law schools in the world. It trains more than 7,000 students each year on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes."

Nigel Savage, chief executive, said: "I am absolutely delighted for our students, staff and the sector in realising this ambition.

"As a specialised 'University of Law' we are a new type of institution, focussed on teaching and learning, working alongside the research-intensive universities which continue to provide leadership in research and our existing partners such as the Open University.

"We will help to bring diversity and increased student choice to the higher education spectrum; broaden access to the legal profession, and export high-quality British education to aspiring lawyers across the globe."

The sale proceeds from the Montagu Private Equity takeover will establish a fund for scholarships called the Legal Education Foundation, which will fulfil the charitable objectives previously undertaken by the College of Law.

David Yates, chairman of the university's governors and warden of Robinson College, University of Cambridge, said title was "a welcome acknowledgement of the college's academic standards and recognition of its leadership in delivering innovation in teaching, learning and creating a more accessible and diverse legal profession.

"The creation of the university and the newly formed Legal Education Foundation provide two strong pillars for the future of legal education and access to legal education enabling the profession to meet its future challenges."

This year the university launched a two-year undergraduate LLB law degree, which it describes as "unique in its focus on employability and developing professional skills vital to the modern world of law".

john.morgan@tsleducation.com

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