The BTEC National Extended Certificate in Applied Law is made up of four units studied over two years, encompassing key theory underpinning both criminal and civil law. Those successfully competing all four units by the end of Year 13 will be awarded a BTEC National Extended Certificate graded to Pass, Merit, Distinction or Distinction*, equivalent to one full A level qualification.
In Year 12, the following units are studied:
- Unit 1: Dispute solving in the civil law (90 Guided Learning Hours) – Externally assessed
- Unit 2: Investigating aspects of criminal law and the legal system (90 Guided Learning Hours) – Internally assessed through two coursework assignments
In Year 13, the following units are studied:
- Unit 3: Applying the law (120 Guided Learning Hours) – Externally assessed
- Unit 6: Contract law (60 Guided Learning Hours) – Internally assessed through three coursework assignments
The course is assessed through a combination of externally marked ‘set-tasks’, and internally assessed coursework assignments. In Year 12, Unit 1 is assessed through a set-task that is 90 minutes whereby learners will have to compose a response in Microsoft Word to two questions or ‘activities’, with learners assuming the role of ‘Trainee Solicitors’. The first activity involves producing client notes explaining, analysing and applying the law of negligence to a given scenario, considering the facts and drawing conclusions as to whether a case for negligence is likely to be successful. Four weeks prior to the exam, learners will be given a ‘pre-release’ brief that contains limited details as to a specific legal case to research, and from this information will be expected to take in two sides of A4 notes containing details of relevant legal precedents that they can incorporate into their answer. The second activity involves writing a letter to the client, selecting and explaining relevant aspects of the theory in relation to their specific question. Learners will have an opportunity to sit the external assessment in both January and May, and the highest grade achieved is the one which they carry forward into their overall qualification grade.
Unit 2 in Year 12 is assessed through coursework, where learners will study the law-making process before exploring some actual criminal offences when looking at the offences against the person. Learners will be taught the theory prior to an assignment being issued and will then be given a set period to produce an assignment and provide evidence in support of the targeted criteria. Assignment tasks typically involve researching information, explaining key concepts, applying the theory to a given set of scenarios, analysing impacts, drawing conclusions and producing evaluations. Assignments submitted by the deadline – and that demonstrate a learner’s capability to independently improve their work – can be issued with one resubmission opportunity, allowing learners to improve their work. Late assignments are not eligible for a resubmission.
In Year 13, two units run concurrently. Unit 3 is an externally assessed 2 hours ‘set-task’ and is the largest unit in the qualification, and only one sitting of the exam - in May – is possible. As in Year 12, learners will be given a pre-release brief outlining details of scenarios, from which they can conduct additional research into key precedents in order to form their notes. Tackling two activities, learners will be expected to apply their knowledge on the fatal offences, property offences, any relevant defences and the police powers under the PACE Act 1984 to given scenarios, making judgements and applying precedent to support their analyses and conclusions.
Unit 6 is internally assessed and takes the form of three coursework assignments exploring different aspects of contract law. Again, learners who submit work by the set deadline may be eligible for a resubmission opportunity to improve their work.
Learners’ overall grades are calculated from their performance in the set-tasks and coursework elements.
The course is vocational helping to prepare students to enter the modern world of work, apprenticeships or to continue their studies at University. Coursework assignments are practical in nature and encompass real world learning at all times, whilst the set-task elements help develop core skills inherent within all aspects of the legal sector such as analysing the law, applying it, using precedent and making reasoned conclusions in light of the given facts.