Bar exams to move online – but no earlier than August

updated on 18 May 2020

Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) exams will be moved online, the Bar Standards Board (BSB) has revealed.

Having delayed exams as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the BSB recently confirmed that assessments for the BPTC (soon to be replaced by a new range of Bar courses), as well as exams for the Bar Transfer Test (BTT), will now take place online in August, with resits scheduled for December.

BSB Director-General Mark Neal said: “Since the current health emergency began, we have been very conscious at the BSB of the need to support the career prospects of this year’s cohort of bar students and prospective pupils, while maintaining high standards. Students and transferring qualified lawyers have had to face considerable uncertainty, which we very much regret, and I am delighted that we can now deliver centralised assessments remotely in August with Pearson VUE’s state-of-the-art online proctoring system.

“Allowing students and transferring qualified lawyers to start the non-practising period of their pupillages in the autumn will also enable them to progress while maintaining the robustness of the assessment process. The BPTC and the BTT are gateways to a very respected profession, where high standards of competence are rightly expected, so it is right that standards of entry are maintained even in these most challenging circumstances.”

With exam results being published in November, the BSB has announced that anyone who has been offered a pupillage can start before they receive their results, depending on whether those offering the pupillage are happy to do so.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has also announced that it will allow Legal Practice Course assessments to move online, and trainees can defer compulsory modules for up to 12 months.