The Bar Professional Training Course or BPTC is a postgraduate course which allows law graduates to be named and practise as barristers in England and Wales. The eight institutes that run the BPTC along with the four prestigious Inns of Court are often collectively referred to as Bar School. Until September 2010, it was known as the Bar Vocational Course, or BVC.
The academic stage is the first of the three stages of legal education; the second is the vocational stage (the BPTC) and the third is the practical stage (pupillage). On successful completion of the BPTC, which also involves completing twelve qualifying sessions, students are called to the Bar; however, only those who have successfully completed pupillage can work as barristers.
In addition to passing the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT), the minimum entry requirements for the BPTC is qualifying undergraduate degree in law with no less than lower second-class (2:2) honours or a non-law academic degree with lower second-class (2:2) honours alongside the Graduate Diploma in Law. Additionally students from outside English speaking countries are required to demonstrate their oral and written English language ability is at least equivalent to a minimum score of 7.5 in each section of the IELTS academic test or a minimum score of 73 in each part of the Pearson Test of English (academic).
In April 2015, Chair of the Bar Council Alastair Macdonald raised concerns about the financial risk involved in taking the BPTC, claiming that "There are too many people spending too much money in order to train [. . .] with no realistic prospect of being able to make a start in the profession. In the same month, a report commissioned by the Bar Council heavily criticised BPTC providers. The report suggested that course providers were "using the system to make money from people with no realistic prospect of pupillage," and claimed that the course was "not highly regarded by practitioners." The report suggested increasing standards for the course, and introducing a new test to replace the BCAT, which currently has a 98% pass rate, though there are plans to increase the pass mark. Jeremy Robson, a senior lecturer at Nottingham Law School, denied these claims. He noted that all prospective students receive a health warning noting the low number of pupillages compared to course places, and that the practitioners consulted in the working group were "drawn from a small section of the profession."
|Institution||Location||Circuit||Approx. course fees||Report||Website|
|BPP Law School||London||South Eastern||£15,151||Report||BPP|
|BPP Law School||Leeds||North Eastern||£14,121||Report||BPP|
|BPP Law School||Manchester||Northern||£14,121||Report||BPP|
|BPP Law School||Birmingham||Midland Circuit||£14,121||BPP|
|BPP Law School||Bristol||Western||£14,121||BPP|
|Cardiff University||Cardiff||Wales & Chester||£15,950(UK & EU) £17,650(International)||Report||Cardiff|
|The City Law School||London||South Eastern||£19,730 ||Report||City|
|Manchester Metropolitan University||Manchester||Northern||£14,550||This course has been approved by Manchester Metropolitan University to start in September 2020. Pending full authorisation by the Bar Standards Board.||MMU|
|The Inns of Court College of Advocacy||London||South Eastern||£14,830 ||ICCA|
|Northumbria University||Newcastle upon Tyne||North Eastern||£15,050||Report||Northumbria|
|Nottingham Trent University||Nottingham||Midland Circuit||£14,800||Report||Nottingham|
|The University of Law||Birmingham||Midland Circuit||£16,250||full-time – 1 year – September 2014 Report||ULaw|
|The University of Law||Leeds||North Eastern||£16,250||full-time – 1 year – September 2014 Report||ULaw|
|The University of Law||London||South Eastern||£19,400||full-time – 1 year – September 2014 Report||ULaw|
|University of the West of England||Bristol||Western||£14,000||Report||UWE|
- Law Society of England and Wales
- Bar Council
- Inns of Court
- List of areas of law
- Bar Standards Board
- "Amendments to the Bar Training Regulations – Matters relating to Pupillage" (PDF). Legal Services Board. 21 March 2011.
- Cownie, Fiona (2010). Stakeholders in the Law School. Hart Publishing. p. 267. ISBN 978-1841137216.
- Adam Kramer (2007). Bewigged and Bewildered: Pupillage and a Career at the Bar. Hart Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84113-651-6.
- Croft, Janes (7 April 2015). "Bar weighs option of breaking up barristers' training". The Financial Times. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
- Entry Requirement Archived 4 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine, BPTC
- "English Language Requirement - Bar Standards Board". www.barstandardsboard.org.uk. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
- "Bar regulator announces changes to the Bar Course Aptitude Test for 2016 and 2017". Bar Standards Board. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
- Waller-Davies, Becky (13 April 2015). "Bar Council report slams BPTC providers". The Lawyer. Archived from the original on 29 August 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
- Robson, Jeremy (17 April 2015). "'Bar Council's attack on BPTC providers is wrong' - Nottingham Law School responds to Rivlin criticism". The Lawyer. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
- BTC Barrister Training Course bpp.com
- "LLM Bar Vocational Studies (Full-time and Part-time) | City, University of London". 30 October 2020.
- "Fees and funding".