Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Commercial Awareness (DPLP) LAW5071

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Law
  • Credits: 15
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

Core (compulsory) course on the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice to equip students with the professional skills, including ethics, necessary for operating a legal practice in Scotland.


16 x 1 hour lectures

9 x 2 hour tutorials

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements


Recommended Entry Requirements


Excluded Courses






1 Tutorial preparation, participation and performance 25%

2 Written exercise relating to the Ethical Duties of Solicitors 25%

3   Practice Awareness exercise 25%

4.  Written exercise relating to Solicitors' Accounts 25%


Not available for reassessment

1 Tutorial preparation, participation and performance 25%

Main Assessment In: December

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

1. To develop knowledge and understanding of a) the provision and legal regulation of financial services; and b) the information contained in accounts. 

2. To develop knowledge and understanding of practice management skills required in professional practice, including the financial and accounting issues associated with the running of a law practice.

3.  To develop knowledge and understanding of the ethical principles governing the conduct of lawyers in Scotland, enabling the identification and resolution of ethical problems as they arise in every day legal practice.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

1. Explain and critically discuss the various forms of financial services and their regulation, including investment protection and complaints procedure;

2. Advise clients in relation to investment decisions and explain and discuss the taxation implications and the general economic environment in relation to investments;

3. Demonstrate a critical awareness of typical ethical difficulties arising in the everyday provision of financial services;

4. Understand standard accounting systems and their underlying concepts, as well as the form and content of the annual accounts of trading enterprises and relevant tax implications;


5. Identify the issues involved in the concepts of client care, risk management, time management, file management, case load management and the role-played by information technology in the legal office;


6. Identify and understand commercial considerations involved in running a legal practice, including partnership structures and the role of the trainee;

7. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the Accounts Rules, cash room procedures, Money Laundering Regulations, credit control, charging fees and recovering outlays, and demonstrate an understanding of the systems, practice rules and voluntary codes regulating the legal profession in Scotland;


8. Explain and discuss the concepts of negligence, client care, inadequate professional service and misconduct and demonstrate an appreciation of the typical ethical difficulties arising in every day legal practice.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Attendance at tutorials is compulsory. Credit will be refused if a student fails to attend a tutorial without good cause.

Completion of all assessments is compulsory. Credit will be refused in the event of failure, without good cause or an authorised short extension, to complete any assessment within the specified deadline.

The requirements for the award of the Diploma in Legal Practice is 120 credits:

(a)candidates to achieve a grade D or better in all courses.

(b)candidates to achieve a grade D or better in each component part of each course.

Credit will be refused if you fail to complete an on-line money laundering exercise within time specified on Moodle