Bar predicts income boom from students despite pupillage numbers falling

updated on 12 April 2021

The Bar Standards Board’s (BSB) 2021-22 budget foresees a 40% increase in student fees from last year, despite declining numbers of pupillages available. The regulator has predicted an income of £1.35 million from Bar training, compared with £958,000 last year and £657,000 in 2019.

While appearing to be a vast leap, it is possible that the budget forecast does not tell the whole story, as a BSB spokesperson noted they had taken a cautious approach to numbers in 2020 due to uncertainty over the impact that training reforms could have on Bar students. Despite the concerns, student numbers and income were higher than predicted and with the reforms now firmly in place there is more opportunity for certainty and optimism.

This increase comes amid a decline in pupillage numbers, which had fallen 35% in 2020 according to numbers published by the BSB in February. In that report, the BSB also predicted the impact of covid-19 would continue into 2021 having last year declared the odds of securing a pupillage at 14-1.

The rise in income from Bar school fees coincides with an overall reduction in the cost of courses themselves, as The University of Law and BPP University Law School have both reduced their fees. Despite the budget increase, the BSB has forecast a £2 million loss at the end of this fiscal year.

The BSB’s 2021-22 Business Plan can be downloaded here.