Theory, practice and Justice at last

November 21, 2003

When Terry Cape enrolled to study the unique law degree at Northumbria University, he was attracted by the savings.

"I knew I would save about £6,000 on the cost of a legal practice course," he said. The four-year exempting course covers both the vocational and standard three-year university elements.

He realised there were other benefits. "I saw the degree for what it was - a combination of theory and practice," he said.

Mr Cape now works for a City firm in Leeds, but he hit the headlines this year as part of a team of students that won compensation for Alex Allan, who was wrongly convicted of robbery. In 2001, the team succeeded in getting his conviction quashed.

In 1991, Mr Allan was convicted of robbing a Post Office van near Newcastle. The main evidence was an alleged confession to police.

After serving an eight-year sentence and exhausting all appeal routes, Mr Allan sought the help of Northumbria's Student Law Office. "It is thanks to students and lecturers at Northumbria University that I got some justice in the end," he said.

Mr Cape said: "To get that sort of experience and publicity as a student was incredible." He added: "The financial pressure on students is astronomical and exempting degrees are a way forward.

"The fact that they are likely to be mainly in new universities shouldn't put big City firms off. They should stop seeing students from new universities as a risk."

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