Diploma in Legal Studies

Diploma in Legal Studies

Course Details

Full Course name:
Diploma in Legal Studies

Course Duration:
10 weeks, Monday evenings from 6.30 to 9.30pm

Start Date:
23 September 2019

Course Fee

Classroom-based: €995
(€1,095 if paying  in instalments)

Online course: €895
(€995 if paying in instalments)

Non-EU students: €1,295

Course Award

Award: City Colleges Diploma

The law is both fascinating and useful. After this course you will have a firm grasp of its anecdotes, its uses, and how to learn more about it.

Course Overview

Know your rights and use the law as a sword and a shield.

  • What can I do about neighbours trespassing, blocking my light, or making too much noise?
  • What’s my comeback against a dodgy-builder, sneaky bank charges, or the travel agent who sold me a holiday from hell?
  • My wife thought nothing of a fall she had in a shop, but her ankle never healed right and now it’s a year later. Can we do anything?
  • Can’t I repost any gossip I like online about a foreign celebrity?
  • How do I go about copyrighting/patenting my work?

Litigation, alternative dispute resolution, and compliance will all be covered, as will access to legal advice and aid and how to consult legal resources.

The rich stories behind the headlines and the gossip.

  • What’s going on with the Quinn case and just what is “contempt of court”?
  • Why don’t convicts receive “tougher” sentences and why doesn’t “life” mean life?
  • What does all that legal Latin actually mean?
  • When the news says an accused cannot be named “for legal reasons”, what are those legal reasons?
  • Is an oral contract legally binding?
  • What’s going on behind closed doors in the family courts?

Students will never again be stuck for a story at a dinner party.

The law is both fascinating and useful. After this course you will have a firm grasp of its anecdotes, its uses, and how to learn more about it.

Ellen O’Callaghan BA (DCU), Dipl. Legal Studies (Honorable Society of King’s Inns), BL

Ellen O'Callaghan

Ellen is Barrister and Law Lecturer in City Colleges. She is a graduate of Dublin City College University where she attained a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Degree in Economics, Politics and Law. Ellen went on to study at the Honorable Society of King’s Inns where she qualified as a Barrister in 2013. She was called to the Bar of Ireland in 2013 and has been practising as a junior counsel predominantly in the area of civil law with focus on employment, family, environmental, judicial review and personal injuries litigation. In 2015, Ellen worked in conjunction with the University of Maribor on a project funded by the EU Commission, in relation to the compilation of National Reports prepared by Member States of the EU in relation to the law of evidence and civil procedure across the EU.

Course Content

Week 1: Introduction to the Irish Legal System

  • Where do laws come from?
  • How does the court structure work?
  • What is a tribunal and how are they different from a Court?
  • What is the difference between a Solicitor and a Barrister?
  • How long do I have to take my case and what are my remedies?
  • How can I enforce a judgment?


Week 2: Employment law

  • Who is an employee?
  • What is the difference between unfair dismissal and constructive dismissal?
  • Discrimination, bullying and harassment in the workplace – what redress is available?
  • What are zero hour contracts?
  • Where and how can I make an employment law complaint?


Week 3: Criminal law

  • How do the criminal courts work?
  • What are the rules of evidence?
  • What is hearsay evidence?
  • What is the difference between murder and manslaughter?
  • How does criminal legal aid work?
  • What is bail?
  • What is the Special Criminal Court?


Week 4: Family Law

  • What is the difference between Judicial Separation and Divorce?
  • What are Cohabitants and what are their rights?
  • What rights do unmarried fathers have?
  • How is the voice of the child heard in family law proceedings?
  • What is the in-camera rule and why do we have it?


Week 5: Consumer Protection and Contract law

  • What are consumer’s rights?
  • Who can complain to if there has been a breach of consumer rights?
  • What is an unfair or misleading commercial practice?
  • How is a contract formed?
  • What are the essential elements of a contract?
  • Who cannot make a contract?
  • What happens if a contract is breached?


Week 6: Driving Offences

  • What is a fixed-term penalty notice?
  • What is the effect of a conviction for a drink driving offence?
  • What is the difference between careless driving and dangerous driving?
  • How does random breath testing work?
  • What are the penalties for a driving offence and how long do penalty points last?


Week 7: Tort Law

  • Negligence, Nuisance, Trespass
  • What is the duty of care and what is a statutory duty of care?
  • Causation and remoteness
  • Manufacturers’ and Producers’ liability for defective products
  • Personal injury actions


Week 8: Business Law

  • What are the main types of business organisations?
  • What are the different types of companies?
  • What changes did the Companies Act 2014 make?
  • What is limited liability and what is the corporate veil?
  • What is the difference between receivership, examinership and liquidation?
  • Intellectual Property Rights in Ireland


Week 9: Media Law

  • Free media expression, the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights
  • Media Plurality
  • Censorship and Public Morality
  • Media and Privacy
  • Defamation

Course Content

Week 10: Constitutional Law & Miscarriage of Justice Cases in Ireland

  • What are constitutional rights and how do they work?
  • What happens if my constitutional rights are breached?
  • What are socio-economic rights?
  • Has there been miscarriage of justice cases in Ireland?



A pass grade on the written assignment will be required for awarding of the Diploma. A fail grade will result in a Certificate of Attendance for the course but without the Diploma being awarded.

Students must attend at least 8 of the 10 evenings to graduate with either the Diploma or Certificate of Attendance unless a serious and verifiable reason for further absence is provided. If completing the course online, attendance and participation is tracked through Moodle.

The Project must be handed in on the due date unless a sound reason for lateness is provided. In such instances, an extension may be awarded at the discretion of the lecturer.

“The course is very well designed for people with an interest in legal studies, but no previous experience in the area.”

Sabrina Keohane