Today’s the day… Brexit is finally here and the UK is officially leaving the European Union.
Whether you voted to leave or remain – or even if you didn’t vote at all – the one thing that everyone can agree on is that Brexit is making things rather confusing for postgraduate law and LLM students from the UK wishing to study their program in Europe, as well as for EU students wishing to come to the UK to study their LLM or postgraduate law course. From now until 31st December 2020 there is a transition period during which time the UK and the EU will hopefully be able to negotiate future arrangements for LLM students such as tuition fees, funding and the need for student visas. In the meantime, let’s take a look at the possible issues caused by Brexit for LLM students and some probable solutions.
What are the main issues for LLM students?
The main Brexit issues for both UK and EU LLM students are:
Let’s address these issues one by one.
Tuition fees for LLM students in the UK & EU
Up until today EU citizens (including UK residents) paid the same LLM tuition fees as domestic students in each of the EU member nations. However, now Brexit has arrived this may well change for UK students wishing to study an LLM program at a law school in the EU and for EU students wishing to come to a UK law school to study their Master of Laws. During the period of transition, the UK Government has guaranteed that LLM fees will remain the same for all LLM students studying their Master of Laws program in the UK for the academic year 2020/21, as well as those that are already studying their course, what will happen to these fees after this time is as yet undecided. The remaining 27 EU countries will all decide individually what their policies will be with regards to the tuition fees of UK LLM students studying at their universities during the transition period. Currently the EU countries mostly have guarantees in place for PG students from the UK for the academic year 2020/21, with a view to then charging them the same tuition fees as international students from the academic year 2021/22 onwards.
Funding access for LLM students in the UK & EU
Up until today EU citizens (including UK residents) had access to much of the same postgraduate and government funding as domestic students, whatever EU country they chose for their studies. During the period of transition, the UK Government has guaranteed that the funding opportunities will remain the same for all EU students studying their LLM program in the UK. Funding options beyond the academic year 2020/21 are yet to be clarified. As with the tuition fees, the remaining 27 EU countries will all decide individually what their policies will be with regards to UK students’ funding during the transition period.
Visas for LLM students in the UK & EU
Currently EU citizens (and until today this included UK residents) don’t need a visa to study in any other EU country. The UK Government has confirmed that EU students won’t need to hold a visa if they start their LLM program at a UK law school in autumn 2020, however if the duration of the course means they will need to live and study in the UK beyond June 2021 they will need to apply to the UK Government’s EU Settlement Scheme. For those EU students wishing to start their Master of Laws program from the academic year 2021/22 onwards, decisions are yet to be made by the UK Government with regards to visas for EU students, but it is expected that this will be formalised during the transition period. As with the tuition fees and funding, the remaining EU countries will all decide individually what their visa policies will be with regards to UK LLM students studying at their law schools during the transition period. Currently the EU countries mostly have guarantees in place for LLM students from the UK for the academic year 2020/21, with a view to then treating UK students in the same way as international students from the academic year 2021/22 onwards. However, it is important to check with the individual countries before embarking on your LLM studies at a law school in an EU country as these guarantees may well involve the UK students having to formally register to study in the specific countries.
What about bursaries?
Whether you are a UK student wanting to study your Master of Laws in the EU, or an EU student wishing to study your LLM program at a UK law school, you will still be eligible to apply for a Global LLM Study Bursary worth £500. Find out more here.
Disclaimer: please note the information provided in this blog is our 'best guess' as to what the situation will be for EU and UK students post Brexit. For official sources of information please check the UK Government's official site and the websites of the individual EU countries.