The Dickson Poon School of Law

The Dickson Poon School of Law,
King's College London
Former names
Faculty of Laws, King's College, London (1909–1991)
King's College London School of Law (1991–2012)
Established 1831
Parent institution
King's College London
Dean David Caron
Students 1,920
Location Somerset House East Wing, London, United Kingdom

The Dickson Poon School of Law (also known as King's or KCL Law) is the Law school of King's College London, and one of the nine Schools of Study of the university. It is situated on the Strand in the East Wing of Somerset House, close to law firms, the Royal Courts of Justice and the four Inns of Court. The Dickson Poon School of Law is one of the world's premier Law schools and is ranked 17th in the world in the QS University Rankings by Subject 2016.[1] On 18 December 2014, it was announced that The Dickson Poon School of Law was ranked top in the UK for world-leading research in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.[2] The School has the highest GPA of all UK Law schools, with the highest quality submission and the highest proportion of world-leading 4* research.

Following a gift of £20 million by Sir Dickson Poon, the School was renamed and the most generous scholarship for Law in the UK and Europe was founded to strengthen its place as a global legal powerhouse. In early 2016, students from The Dickson Poon School of Law beat over 550 Law schools from over 80 countries to win the 57th annual UK championships of the Philip C . Jessup International Moot Court Competition, which is one of the largest moot court competitions in the world.[3]

The Dean of the school is David Caron,[4] formerly of the University of California at Berkeley. Caron is the first Dean of the School and his appointment follows the renaming of the school and its new focus on Transnational law. The school is also one of the ten international Law schools that are members of the Center for Transnational Legal Studies (CTLS). Caron describes the typical graduate of the school as "a transnational, global, lawyer with [...] roots in the historic tradition of the English common law that has influenced, and in turn been influenced by, much of the world, and in the more recent tradition of European Union law. They 'think global' because we teach them with a transnational perspective."[5]


Law has been taught at King's College London since it opened in 1831. It was originally taught within the Senior Department.[6] In 1839 teaching transferred to the Department of General Literature and Science in response to the need for a greater differentiation of the syllabus for students of the Senior Department at the King's.[6][7] Law became part of a broad faculty of subjects and classes that provided a core liberal syllabus in the arts and sciences available to all students of King's.[7] From 1893, it was known as the Division of Laws and Economics under the Faculty of Arts.[6]

The Faculty of Laws was founded in 1909 and became known as the School of Law in 1991.[6] The School took its current name in 2012 in recognition of Hong Kong businessman Sir Dickson Poon, who made a gift of £20 million to the school. It is thought to be the largest-ever donation to a British or European Law faculty at the time.[8]

The school is in the heart of legal London. It was originally located in the buildings adjacent to the Strand and Embankment along the River Thames. It was announced on 7 December 2009 that the school would relocate to the East Wing of Somerset House, a prominent example of neo-classical architecture, designed by Sir William Chambers in the late eighteenth century on the site of an earlier Tudor palace. Negotiations for the new lease are said to have taken some 180 years.[9][10] In February 2012, the refurbished East Wing was officially opened by the Patron of the College, Queen Elizabeth II.[11]


The Maughan Library on Chancery Lane, across from the Law Society and the Royal Courts of Justice, houses the School's Law Library.

The school provides legal instruction at undergraduate and graduate levels. It offers a three-year undergraduate LLB programme. Candidates are required to take the National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT) as part of the admissions process. In addition to the three-year undergraduate LLB, the school offers a number of joint programmes with partner institutions around the world including the United States (Columbia University), France (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), Germany (Humboldt University), Hong Kong (University of Hong Kong), and Australia (Monash University) amongst others.

The school offers a four-year LLB in Law with transnational legal studies as part of its work with the Centre for Transnational Legal Studies. In 2012, the school saw the admission of its first cohort for its LLB in Philosophy, Politics, & Law, a four-year multi-disciplinary degree that will build on the work of the Yeoh Tiong Lay Centre for Philosophy, Politics & Law.

Graduate programmes include full-time and part-time LLM and MA programmes, as well as distance-learning courses for legal practitioners. Since 2007 the school has conferred its own Master of Laws (LLM) degree, having previously been a contributor to the University of London Intercollegiate programme. Those who study for the degree may elect to take a specialisation in one of several of the school's strengths, including International commercial law and European Union law. The school also offers a dual degree with ESSEC Business School in France[12] and The Global School of Law in Lisbon.[13]

The school offers a full-time graduate research programme leading to the award of the PhD in law. The School has 80 doctoral researchers. The School has hosted the annual International Graduate Legal Research Conference since 2007. The Graduate Legal Research Society arranges educational and social events for the doctoral researcher community and liaises with school management on behalf of the community.


The school is host to research projects funded by the British Academy, the Economic and Social Research Council, and the European Commission. The School includes various research centres and groups which serve as focal points for research activity. These include the Centre of European Law, established in 1974, the Centre of Medical Law and Ethics, established in 1978, and the Centre of British Constitutional Law and History, established in 1988.

In 2013, the Yeoh Tiong Lay Centre for Politics, Philosophy & Law was established following a £7 million gift from Mark Yeoh (LLB graduate) and his family.[14]

The school has undertaken significant investment in the field of Transnational Law in recent years and has established an Institute of Transnational Law led by Peer Zumbansen.


The school publishes the scholarly King's Law Journal, as well as the King's Student Law Review. The Centre of European Law publishes a paper series, Working Papers in European Law. The International State Crime Initiative publishes a range of reports, commentaries, and other materials on state crime. The faculty at the school are regular authors of monographs, scholarly treatises and articles, and contributions to periodicals. Latest publications from The Dickson Poon School of Law are available on King's Research Portal.[15]

Notable faculty

Notable alumni


  1. "QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016 - Law". QS Top Universities. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  3. "King's College London - King's students win UK Jessup Moot competition". Retrieved 2016-03-26.
  4. "New Dean of Law". London: King's College London. 14 January 2013. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
  5. "King Size Research". India: Times of India Education Times. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  6. 1 2 3 4 "King's College London School of Law Records". London: King's College London College Archives. March 2001. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  7. 1 2 "KING'S COLLEGE LONDON: Department of General Literature and Science Minutes". London: King's College London College Archives. March 2001. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  8. "King's College London gets £20m donation for law school". London: BBC. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  9. "History". London: King's College London. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
  10. "King's and Somerset House join forces". London: King's College London. 7 December 2009. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  11. "The Queen opens Somerset House East Wing". London: King's College London. 29 February 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  12. (PDF) Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. The Global School of Law in Lisbon
  14. "Research". Malaysia: The Star Online. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  15. King's Research Portal

Coordinates: 51°30′40.41″N 0°6′59.65″W / 51.5112250°N 0.1165694°W / 51.5112250; -0.1165694

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