Bar Professional Training Course
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 England and Wales. 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 law degree with no less than lower second class (2:2) honours, or a degree in another subject with no less than 2:2 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 EU law as subjects during their course of studies as LLB students.
- 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.
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|
|BPP Law School||London||South Eastern||£16,885||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||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.