updated on 10 March 2020
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The route to training as a barrister has changed. From July 2020, a range of new Bar courses replace the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) as the mandatory vocational stage of training before pupillage. The variety of courses may appear confusing, with different fees and learning styles to consider, but all Bar courses approved by the Bar Standards Board result in the same qualification: a Postgraduate Diploma in Bar Practice. This qualification (alongside being ‘called to the Bar’ by an Inn of Court) makes a Bar course graduate eligible for pupillage, the final stage of on-the-job training to qualify as a barrister.
Transitional arrangements for BPTC students
If you have started the BPTC before July 2020, you have until 2022 to complete the course and pass the assessments. For information about the timings of assessments running to 2022, see our student’s guide to the barrister training changes.
New Bar courses
The new Bar courses can be studied in one or two parts, with options to combine online and face-to-face learning in different ways. This flexibility means that there are now multiple pathways to become a barrister, rather than just one as was previously the case:
Whichever Bar course you choose, you will learn both the legal knowledge required to be barrister (such as criminal litigation, civil litigation, evidence and sentencing) and practical skills (such as advocacy, opinion writing and drafting, and conference skills).
All students must join an Inn of Court and pass the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) before enrolment on a Bar course.
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