updated on 01 May 2015
Fees for the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) have risen again this year amid warnings that millions of pounds are being spent by students who do not go on to secure pupillage.
The highest BPTC fees are charged by course providers in London, topped in 2014-15 by The University of Law, which charged £18,175; this will rise to £18,500 next academic year. Outside London the cost of the BPTC will increase at all providers for 2015-16.
Considering that the Bar is a relatively small profession, which according to the Bar Standards Board recruits "fewer than 500 new practitioners a year", this means that large numbers of students are completing the BPTC at great expense without ever being able to secure pupillage. As Lawyer2B reports, the Inns of Court have said that around £5 million in BPTC fees is spent every year by students who do not go on to pass the course (statistics highlighting the difference between the number of applicants, enrolments and successful completion of the course are available here). This is especially disadvantageous because the specialist nature of the BPTC means that it is not a transferable qualification which will be useful when embarking on a different career.
This all points again to our repeated warning: if you don’t have excellent academic credentials (a good 2.1 minimum), communication skills and a glowing CV to help you stand out, you probably shouldn’t take the BPTC.