When and where to study for a masters in Construction Law

Posted by Stuart Hackett Senior Recruitment Consultant on Tuesday, June 22, 2021

If you’re looking to further your career in a construction claims and disputes role, one of the most valuable qualifications you can achieve is a Masters in Construction Law.

This qualification is held by many of the leading professionals in the construction claims and disputes sector of construction and for some, it is regarded as essential to succeed in a specialist quantum or delay orientated role.

But when and where should you study this course? I hope to provide some valuable information surrounding those 2 questions and surrounding topics in this blog article.

When should I study a Masters in Construction Law?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question and for some it can be more of a question relating to your personal rather than professional circumstances. For example, when in your life do you have the time to dedicate yourself to give the course your full commitment and attention.

However, recently I was discussing this topic with a client at a leading claims and disputes consultancy. He felt it would be beneficial for a particular candidate to gain some experience in a specialist claims and disputes role for a year or two prior to enrolling on the course.

It prompted me to reach out to my network via LinkedIn to gauge their opinion on whether having prior experience on disputes was beneficial when studying a Masters in Construction Law.

The results and opinions that followed were interesting, with 74% of those responding agreeing somewhat that it was beneficial to have prior disputes experience.

However, if you have little to no prior experience in claims and disputes then please do not be put off in enrolling in a construction law course. The key word in the statement above is ‘beneficial’.

Whilst the majority believed that it would be beneficial to have some practical experience to relate your theoretical knowledge to, there was a clear opinion in the debate that followed the poll (even amongst many who agreed) that it was not essential to have prior disputes experience to excel on the course. Summed up very well by Oliver Spence, Senior Consultant at HKA.

My personal advice for candidates seeking a move into quantum roles would be generally to prioritise gaining your chartership (MRICS) before studying a Master in Construction Law. I see not having your MRICS as far more of a barrier to entry into the claims and disputes market with several clients that I work with, compared to whether you have completed a Master in Construction Law.

For delay related roles being chartered is not as essential and gaining the Masters in Construction Law can be more beneficial when attempting to move to a claims and disputes consultancy.

Where should I study a Masters in Construction Law?

There are a range of courses you can take relating to construction law. They can vary in cost, modules covered, length of time, location, full time, part time and more. Therefore, it is important to find the course that works best for you.

That being said, the UK offers some of the most respected courses in the world when it comes to construction law, and I have compiled a list of the most popular institutions that offer such courses below.

UK Courses:

The most popular 5 courses in the UK are as follows (in no particular order):

     MSc / LLM in Construction Law and Arbitration
     Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen – Scotland

  • 3 Year Online Course

     LLM in Construction Law & Dispute Resolution
     Leeds Beckett University

  • 2 year distance learning course
  • 4 year distance learning course

     MSc Construction Law & Dispute Resolution
     Kings College London, University of London

  • 5 years Full time degree
  • 1 year Full time degree
  • 5 years Full time degree
  • 1 year Full time degree
  • 2 years Part time degree

     MSc/PgDip in Construction Law & Practice
     University of Salford

  • 2 years distance learning course

     MSc in Construction Law & Dispute Resolution
     University of Wolverhampton

  • 12 months full time course
  • 2 years part time course

This information is taken from The Post Graduate Search Website where you can find full details on each course including the modules covered and costs.

How to Fund your Course:

The cost of each course does vary. However, to complete the course, you are likely looking at a total bill of between £6,000 and £12,000.

You can self-fund the course or attempt to get your current employer to fund it, or at least part of it.

Whilst your employer funding the course may sound like a fantastic idea. Just be aware that most employers will ask you to sign some form of agreement which locks you into being responsible for repaying that money should you leave their employment during or shortly after studying.

Typically, agreements will see you responsible for repaying this money for up to 2 years after completing the course. Often with the percentage of what you owe decreasing during that period.

This can be a burden if you decide to look for a new role and are not prepared to pay this money back to your employer yourself.

I particularly see this scenario with candidates who decide to study an MSc/LLM in construction law whilst working for a traditional contractor, consultancy or client organisation in a role that is not claims and disputes focused.

They complete the course, realise they need to move to a more specialist claims and disputes consultancy to put their new theoretical knowledge into practice; only to find the money owed being a severe complication in the process of securing a new role.

Whilst some specialist claims and disputes consultancies may consider taking on this debt as part of their offer to a candidate, many will not.

A solution to this could be to try and secure work with a specialist claims and disputes consultancy prior to studying your Masters in Construction Law. Then agreeing with them as part of your offer to financially support you in studying the course.

In these circumstances, you may be asked to complete your probation or a longer period of time in the business before they agree to enrol you in the course. However, the commitment is locked in to support you both financially and with the time needed to study.

Summary

Regardless of which stage of your career you decide to focus on studying an Masters in Construction Law, more than anything make sure you are fully committed to giving the course the dedication it deserves to pass. It can be a really challenging course and is not something to attempt half heatedly.

I know that many fellow course members set up WhatsApp groups and similar support networks to help get each other through the course and there can be a great sense of comradery on the course. However, it will take a lot of self will to cope with the workload and exams, especially if you are juggling work and study at the same time.

Finally, it is results season currently! So a huge congratulations from myself and the Maxim Recruitment team to all those who have recently completed the course and either have received or are awaiting their grades.

Maxim Refer a Friend Scheme

I know there is a strong bond amongst fellow graduate on the construction law courses. Therefore, if you know of someone who is studying towards or has completed the course and seeking a role in the claims and disputes sector; then Maxim are happy to reward you for introducing them to us.

We offer £500 for the first successful referral and £1,000 for any subsequent successful referral.

See full details of our recommend a friend programme.

Stuart Hackett
Senior Recruitment Consultant, UK
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/stuarthackett/