New barrister training announced

updated on 28 June 2019

The way aspiring barristers train and qualify is set to change as the Bar Standards Board (BSB) lays out its new rules.

The new Bar Qualification Rules came into force in April this year and these will be implemented in stages until September 2021. Students enrolling on the current Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) this year will be the last to do so, with transitional arrangements in place until Spring 2022.

The new rules aim to provide greater flexibility to those entering the profession by permitting Authorised Education Training Organisations (AETOs) to offer courses via the following pathways:

  • a three-step pathway: academic, followed by vocational, followed by pupillage/work-based component (similar to the current mandatory pathway and BPTC);
  • a new four-step pathway: academic component, followed by vocational component in two parts, followed by pupillage or work-based component;
  • an integrated academic and vocational pathway - combined academic and vocational components followed by pupillage or work-based component (similar to the integrated pathway previously offered only by exception); and
  • an apprenticeship pathway: combined academic, vocational and pupillage or work-based components.

More details on training available to prospective barristers will be released in the future and depend on those applying to become AETOs.

Other changes will include the way in which barristers are assessed during the vocational and work-based learning components of their training, more flexible rules regarding how pupil barristers are supervised during pupillage, and the minimum funding award which will be set annually by the BSB and take into account the Living Wage Foundation’s recommended hourly rate.

You can find out more about the new Bar Qualification Rules and the phasing of their implementation on the BSB’s website: