Bar Professional Training Course
The Bar Professional Training Course or BPTC (previously known as BVC) is a postgraduate course that is completed by those wishing to be called and practise as a barrister in United Kingdom. The ten institutes that run the BPTC along with the four Inns of Court are often collectively referred to as 'Bar School'.
This vocational stage is the second of the three stages of legal education, the first being the academic stage and the third being the practical stage, i.e., pupillage. Only those who have successfully completed the course can practise as a Barrister.
The minimum entry requirements for the BPTC is a qualifying a degree with First-class honours in addition to a pass in the Graduate Diploma in Law, or else a LL.B with no less than upper second-class (2:1) honours. Applicants for the BPTC should also demonstrate excellent extracurricular activities. Additionally, a suitable candidate should provide strong evidence of a commitment to the English Bar. It is important for a student to have Common law reasoning and European law as subjects during their course of studies as LLB students.
- 2,540 students applied for the BPTC,
- 1,749 received a place,
- 1,330 passed the BPTC,
- 562 received pupillage,
- 497 gained tenancy.
As a result of the apparent over-supply of barristers, the Bar Standards Board recently considered four controversial proposals:
- Capping the number of BPTC places
- Deferring call until the completion of pupillage
- Raising the minimum entry standards to a 2:1 degree (implemented into some BPTC offering institutions)
- Mandating a minimum IELTS score of 7.5/9 in all individual component (speaking, reading, writing and listening) for foreign students (implemented into some BPTC offering institutions)
As of 2008, only two of these proposals have been able to find enough support to be implemented.
Fees for the BPTC are now between £12,000 and £18,500.
As of April 2013, it is also a necessary requirement that intending BPTC students complete the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT). This is a test assessing an applicant's verbal reasoning skills amongst many other skills.
The course bridges the gap between academic study and the practical work of a barrister by teaching subjects with which a practising barrister will need to be familiar. Core modules include:
- Criminal Advocacy
- Civil Advocacy
- Drafting References
- Opinion Writing
- Client Conferencing
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Criminal Litigation, Evidence and Sentencing
- Civil Litigation and Evidence
- Professional Conduct and Ethics
- Two optional modules (these vary from institute to institute)
Students successfully completing the course may be awarded the overall grade of “Outstanding”, “Very Competent” or “Competent”.
- To gain the award of “Outstanding” a candidate must have passed all assessments at the first attempt and must achieve either an overall mark of 85% or above, or six or more grades in the outstanding category.
- To gain the award of “Very Competent” a candidate must have failed no more than one assessment at the first attempt and must achieve either an overall mark of 70% or eight or more grades in the very competent or outstanding categories.
- To gain the award of “Competent” a candidate must pass each assessment subject to the rules governing the opportunity to re-sit at 60% or higher.
|Institution||Location||Circuit||Approx. course fees||Report||Website|
|City Law School (one of the seven schools of City University)||London||South Eastern||£17,500||Report||City|
|The University of Law||London||South Eastern||£18,500||Report||ULaw|
|The University of Law||Birmingham||Midland Circuit||£14,000||Report||ULaw|
|BPP Law School||London||South Eastern||£18,000||Report||BPP|
|BPP Law School||Leeds||Northern||£13,785||Report||BPP|
|BPP Law School||Manchester||Northern||£13,785||First intake Sept 2013||BPP|
|University of the West of England||Bristol||Western||£12,500||Report||BILP|
|Cardiff University||Cardiff||Wales & Chester||£13,000(local) £15,000(International)||Report||Cardiff|
|Nottingham Trent University||Nottingham||Midland Circuit||£13,000||Report||Nottingham|
|Manchester Metropolitan University||Manchester||Northern||£12,500||Report||MMU|
|Northumbria University||Newcastle upon Tyne||North Eastern||£12,350||Report||Northumbria|
|Kaplan Law School||London||South Eastern||£16,150||Report||Kaplan|
- Adam Kramer (2007). Bewigged and Bewildered: Pupillage and a Career at the Bar. Hart Publishing. ISBN 1-84113-651-4.
- Bar Standards Board statistics
- "The Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC)". Chambers Student. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
- "Kaplan’s decision to discontinue its BPTC Programme". Bar Standards Board.