New Bar training course could replace BPTC

updated on 10 May 2019

A new Bar training course is seeking to replace the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) and aims to offer more flexibility and less risk for students, alongside significantly cheaper fees.

The Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) was set up by the Inns of Court in 2016 as an education charity to focus on the education and training of barristers. The new ICCA Bar Course has been developed by education experts and legal practitioners to deliver new vocational content to students preparing for a career at the Bar.

The course must be approved by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) in order for it to replace the current Bar training course – the BPTC. If approved, the ICCA Bar Course will be delivered in two parts from Autumn 2020.

The first part will be knowledge-based and delivered remotely online, incorporating multimedia resources and bespoke case studies to allow candidates to apply knowledge of the law to real-life scenarios. It is estimated to take between 12-16 weeks and students will be able to exit the course after this point with no further financial commitment. There will also be the opportunity for students to take longer to complete part one due to work or caring responsibilities.

The second part of the course will run for 20 weeks with two intakes a year. This will take place at the Inns of Court and will be dedicated to skills teaching. There will be practical advocacy courses including essential specialist sessions on vulnerable witness advocacy, youth justice proceedings and expert witness handling.

The cost of the ICCA course will be £12,225 overall, with part one costing £1,000 and part two costing £11,225. Students will also need to cover the cost of the BSB’s ‘intake fee’ which has been set at £575 for part one and £295 for part two. With BPTC fees as high as £19,070 at BPP University Law School for 2019-2020, the ICCA course will cost around 30 percent less.

Lynda Gibbs, director of programmes for the ICCA, said “The quality of oral and written advocacy is a cornerstone of our profession. Training barristers to develop first-class skills in advocacy and advisory services is a hugely important process and we are very excited to be providing this innovative course which will equip students to best meet the demands of the profession today.”

It remains to be seen if the BSB will authorise the course.