CFALP Position Statement

This position statement has been agreed by the steering group as the basis of our campaign.

CFALP Position Statement

CFALP urges the Scottish Government to extend student loans for maintenance, as available to
undergraduate students and several other postgraduate professionally-qualifying courses, to
students on the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice.

This action is important and necessary for the following reasons:

  • Fair Access to Professions As a matter of principle, and to improve the poor level of
    social mobility in Scotland, access to all professions should be based on merit and aptitude,
    not ability to pay for any required education or training.
  • The Legal Profession The creation of a balanced legal system and representative
    judiciary, sensitive to the needs and interests of all, requires a representative legal
    profession. Ensuring fair access to the legal profession therefore has particular importance
    for society and should be seen as a political imperative.
  • Current Funding Arrangements Whilst the increased availability of loans under PTFL is
    acknowledged, funding arrangements for the DPLP do not support fair access to the legal
    profession. The cap of £3,400 and non-availability of living costs support means students
    must self-fund to the extent of £9,000 or more. This immediately excludes those from lesswell
    off backgrounds. Available charitable or bursary funding does not even start to
    address the unmet need.
  • Professional and Career Development Loan Commercial lending cannot provide fair
    access to the profession. Neither the Scottish Government nor the legal profession can
    exercise any control over lending criteria or decisions to ensure loans address need. Those
    most in need of assistance are least likely to be considered suitable for a commercial loan.
  • Government Responsibility The current arrangements have been in place for over 30
    years, involve government funding and have developed with the acquiescence of
    successive governments. The Scottish Government should be urging reform of legal
    training to remove financial obstacles. Until such reform is complete, government cannot
    escape a responsibility to ensure that its involvement supports fair access to the profession.
  • Extension of Living Costs Support In the short-term, extending student maintenance
    loans to DPLP students would be a simple and effective means of widening access to the
    DPLP and hence the legal profession. Such treatment would also bring law into alignment
    with other professions requiring more than a four-year degree (eg veterinary medicine,
    architecture, teaching, social work, medicine, dentistry).

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