You touched on a bit of reality that I have discovered in many online law schools: you have to memorize a lot of concepts and rules of law in a relatively short period of time. The program you described at the University of London is similar to online law schools here. The student is expected to know all the black letter law for criminal law, torts, and contracts and is expected to be able to apply the black letter law to hypothetical situations almost flawlessly after studying for just one year. Then your future depends on the first year law students' exam. That kind of program would work perfectly if the person studying online did not have to work or take care of a family. It really takes two years to memorize all you need to know for the FYLSE.
I share your sentiments, as I am 51 years old, a Registered Investment Adviser and Tax Accountant here in CA, and find that I'm up against old tradition or weeding out process that the American bar system has. If you read my other posts, you will see that when I seek out lawyers for work with my clients, such as Estate Planning, I interview them first, because I don't care where they went to law school or if they passed the bar, but they have to prove to me competency and good moral character. All I want to do is use the Attorney License for Estate Planning work which I have done, Contract Law because of my business background, and Tax Law because of my tax accounting experience. So these unrealistic hurdles such as the Baby Bar and Bar don't impress me as being indicators that a lawyer will be of sound and ethical legal practice.
What I said about the University of London or what I meant by stating that you have to know case law, is that the U of L exams expect you to quote the citation for all your reasoning or application of the rule of law. I got the feeling at times, that one of the professors was very much into her knowledge of citations, and then it became very overwhelming to me. If anyone chooses U of L, make sure you only have a part-time job and can memorize case law citations otherwise you will be drowning in school work. I know the U of L is accredited in England, and can be an open door for you to sit for the bar in other states and not just CA, but you have to know what State you want to practice law and if they will recognize the LLB from U of L. I would still suggest a California online or distance learning law program if you are an American, work full-time, don't mind being limited possibly to CA and Federal Courts, and appreciate our constitution and legal system.
I chose Northwestern California University School of Law (now disenrolled) because of content and price, and I liked that I could get lectures and definitions on MP3 and listen to them anytime. Currently, I am studying for my second attempt at the Baby Bar this October.