Bar Professional Training Course

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The Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC, Bar Vocational Course prior to the 2010-2011 academic year) is a postgraduate course that is completed by those wishing to be called to the Bar, i.e. to 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.[1]

Entry requirements[edit]

The minimum entry requirements for the BPTC is a qualifying law degree with no less than lower second class (2:1) honours, or a degree in another subject with no less than First-class honours in addition to a pass in the Graduate Diploma in Law. 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.

In 2008/09:[2]

  • 2,540 students applied for the BVC,
  • 1,749 received a place,
  • 1,330 passed the BVC,
  • 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 £17,000.[3]

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.

Course options[edit]

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:



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.


BPTC Providers
Institution Location Circuit Approx. course fees Report Website
BPP Law School London South Eastern £17,925 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
The University of Law London South Eastern £16,485 Report ULaw
The University of Law Birmingham Midland Circuit £13,925 Report ULaw
City Law School (formerly ICSL) London South Eastern £17,500 Report City
Manchester Metropolitan University Manchester Northern £12,500 Report MMU
Northumbria University Newcastle upon Tyne North Eastern £12,350 Report Northumbria
Kaplan Law School[4] London South Eastern £16,150 Report Kaplan

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Adam Kramer (2007). Bewigged and Bewildered: Pupillage and a Career at the Bar. Hart Publishing. ISBN 1-84113-651-4. 
  2. ^ Bar Standards Board statistics
  3. ^ "The Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC)". Chambers Student. Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  4. ^ "Kaplan’s decision to discontinue its BPTC Programme". Bar Standards Board. 

External links[edit]