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The University of Law Postgraduate Programmes Bar Practice Course (BPC ) - part-time
The University of Law Postgraduate Programmes

Bar Practice Course (BPC ) - part-time

20 Months

English

Part time

Request application deadline

Jul 2024

GBP 16,450 *

On-Campus

* London - BPC / £19,250 BPC LLM | outside London - £14,900 BPC / £17,450 BPC LLM

Introduction

If you have a law degree or GDL and wish to train as a barrister, our Bar Practice Course (previously the Bar Professional Training Course - BPTC) is designed to help you secure pupillage. You can expect high standards of tutoring from qualified practitioners with unparalleled experience in delivering advocacy. Choose our BPC LLM and add an internationally recognized Master's qualification to your CV.

You’ll be supported by our specialist careers service from the moment you accept your place. Our track record says it all - 59% of our full-time UK/EEA Bar Practice Course students graduating in 2018 secured a pupillage (based on student data collated in September 2020). Previously the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).

Bar Practice Course (BPC ) - part-time

The Bar Practice Course (BPC), previously the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), is the qualifying postgraduate course allowing graduates to prepare and practice as barristers in England and Wales. It is the vocational stage of training, which you’re required to pass before you can go on to complete the final, practical stage of training; pupillage. Give yourself the best chance to secure pupillage and prepare for life as a barrister with our high-quality tutoring, designed and delivered by qualified practitioners with unparalleled experiences in delivering advocacy.

Course Requirements

To be eligible to take up your place, you must comply with the requirements for commencing a Bar Practice Course (BPC) set out by the Bar Standards Board (BSB).

  • You will be required to pass the Bar Course Aptitude Test by August of the year you commence your studies. Further details on this test can be found on the Bar Standards Board website.
  • You will need either a qualifying law degree (QLD) 2:1 minimum or an undergraduate degree in any other subject (2:1 minimum*) and a Graduate Diploma in Law/CPE.
  • For qualifying law degrees, all offers based on predicted grades will be conditional upon achieving a 2:1 or above.
  • All applicants who meet the basic eligibility criteria will be required to attend a Selection Interview at one of our centers.

* For non-QLD applicants with a 2:2, offers based on predicted GDL/MA Law/PgDL/MA Law (Conversion) or MA Law (SQE1) grade will be conditional upon achieving distinction or commendation.

Selection interview

It is your responsibility to ensure you fulfill all eligibility requirements for the BPTC.

English language requirement

You must be fluent in English and you will need to be able to demonstrate your oral and written English is equivalent to:

  • IELTS (academic): Score of 7.5 in all four areas
  • ISE IV (Trinity College London): Pass in all four components
  • Pearsons (academic): Score of 73 in all four areas
  • Cambridge English: First Certificate, Advanced, and Proficiency (test taken before January 2016): Overall 191 with no one component below 191
  • Cambridge English: First Certificate (test taken before January 2016): Pass at Grade A and Exceptional in all four components
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (test taken before January 2016): Pass at Grade B or C and Borderline in all four components
  • Cambridge English: Proficiency (test taken before January 2016): Pass at Grade C1 and Weak in all four components

UK or Republic of Ireland award:

  • Qualifying Law Degree - 1st or 2:1
  • GDL - distinction or commendation
  • Medical, dentistry, veterinary degree - pass

Please note: The University will not accept the TOEFL English Language test as proof of students' English proficiency until further notice due to a Home Office investigation.

You must join an Inn of Court before you can start the BPC. The closing date for application to an Inn of Court is 31 May of the year your BPC is due to commence. Please contact the relevant Inn for further details:

  • Gray’s Inn
  • Inner Temple
  • Lincoln’s Inn
  • Middle Temple

If you are a non-EEA student you will also require a visa covering the full duration of your course (see below)

Again, you must fulfill all eligibility requirements by the start of the course – failure to do so may result in you being prevented from joining the course. If you think that this may be a problem (for example, if you have late assessment results), please contact our Admissions Team as soon as possible.

Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT)

Candidates seeking entry to the BPC are required to pass the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) before being allowed to enroll in the course. We strongly recommend you sit the test as soon as possible and we will guarantee to hold your offer open until you have successfully passed the test. Should you fail to pass, you can re-sit the test after 30 days. As you must successfully pass the test before you can enroll in the BPC course, we encourage you to sit the test as early as you can – this will allow plenty of time should you need to take it again, before the deadline. For further information please check the Bar Standards Board website.

The University of Law fully complies with equal opportunities legislation and actively encourages diversity within the legal profession. Our admissions process acts fairly and aims to enable students to make the best use of their talents. You are encouraged to tell us about any special requirements at the earliest opportunity. This will allow us to discuss how we may go about meeting your requirements.

Fees

  • BPC - Domestic: From £11,750 (January) or £12,100 (July and September). International: From £11,750 (January) or £12,100 (July and September).
  • BPC LLM - Domestic: From £14,450 (January) or £14,900 (July and September). International: From £14,450 (January) or £14,900 (July and September).

Course Structure

Knowledge areas

  • Civil litigation, evidence, and resolution of disputes out of court
  • Criminal litigation, evidence, and sentencing

Core skills

  • Advocacy, including examination-in-chief, cross-examination and civil applications
  • Conferencing
  • Drafting
  • Opinion writing
  • Professional Ethics
  • Legal Research

Mock trials

We give you as many opportunities as possible to hone your essential advocacy skills and put what you learn into practice:

  • Participating in mock trials in real courtrooms with real judges and senior barristers
  • Online advocacy skill demonstrations with feedback from practicing barristers
  • Visits to the High Court, Magistrate’s Court, Crown Court and County Courts

Master of Laws (LLM)

Choose to study this award and you will have the opportunity to add an internationally recognized LLM qualification to your CV and pupillage applications.

You can complete your Master of Laws (LLM) qualification via three routes:

  1. Complete real-life work experience via our Pro Bono clinics* - you will advise, manage, and represent clients on a variety of cases in legal areas. You will also be paired with a Master’s Supervisor, who will guide you through a reflective learning process so that you can complete your reflective assessment and obtain your Master’s Degree.
  2. Study additional modules** - increase your knowledge of legal practice areas which are of interest to you and can help shape the direction of your career. You will sit the exams once you’ve finished your Bar Practice Course.
  3. Write a dissertation - immerse yourself in an area of law and become an expert in it, allowing you to demonstrate your knowledge in your applications to chambers and beyond.

If you study our Bar Practice Course LLM, you could also be eligible for an SLC Postgraduate Loan.

*Students studying the Pro Bono route at our Liverpool campus in 2021 will have to attend regular sessions at our Manchester campus for the entire program.

**Students studying additional modules at our Liverpool campus in 2021 will have to attend regular sessions (1-2 per week) at our Manchester campus for a single semester.

Course Information

Assessment

There are 10 assessments in total with practice assessments held for every module spread across the course. Some prizes, sponsored by chambers, are available for the highest-scoring student in each subject.

Structure

Our Bar Practice Course has its structure, with different assessments to suit.

Course Details

Bar Practice Course

We pride ourselves in offering the best legal training, and our Bar Practice Course (BPC) is no exception.

It is designed to help you secure pupillage and prepare you for life as a barrister. You'll receive dedicated support from our specialist careers service from the moment you accept your place, giving you the best chance of securing pupillage and acquiring as much varied experience as possible. This is why 52% of our students graduating in 2019 have secured or completed pupillage.**

When you study the Bar Practice Course with us you will receive:

  • Up to 50 hours of advocacy training, so you're fully prepared for the Bar: test your skills in front of real barristers and judges at prestigious mooting competitions organized by our Advocacy Committee and also at mock trials in court.
  • Tuition in small classes alongside the brightest students: we require all students to undergo a live selection process before being offered a place.
  • Access to an engaging and innovative online learning environment, plus face-to-face tutor and peer support when you need it most.
  • Flexible study options to suit you: choose to study with us full-time or part-time at several locations across the UK.
  • Success in pupillage applications and beyond with our Future Pupil Programme, part of our award-winning Careers and Employability Service, available from the moment you accept your place.
  • A choice of three pathways to success with our Bar Practice Course LLM: complete real-life legal work experience via our Pro Bono clinics, write a dissertation or study additional modules, and sit the exams after you finish your Bar Practice Course.
  • Exclusive access to our Synap learning and revision tool: complete multiple-choice questions to monitor and review your progress.

**52% of our full-time UK/EEA 2018/19 BPC students graduating in 2019 have successfully secured or completed pupillage (based on student data collated in summer 2021). Previously the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).

Benefits of our selection process

Our rigorous Selection Process allows us to identify the brightest and most able students, creating a stimulating learning environment for all. As a result, when you undertake our BPC you can guarantee that you will be studying alongside committed, focused, and intelligent students, which in turn will push you to succeed.

  • Gain confidence in knowing whether a career at the Bar is right for you.
  • Practice your advocacy skills in a 5-minute "plea in mitigation".
  • Take the opportunity to compete for Advocacy Scholarships.
  • Get vital practice for pupillage interviews.

Important notice: Due to the circumstances around COVID-19, we are currently running virtual Selection Events for the foreseeable future.

Important Information

The University of Law fully complies with equal opportunities legislation and actively encourages diversity within the legal profession. Our admissions process acts fairly and aims to enable students to make the best use of their talents. You are encouraged to tell us about any special requirements at the earliest opportunity. This will allow us to discuss how we may go about meeting your requirements.

Please see important information issued by the Bar Standards Board for those wishing to study for the Bar of England and Wales.

Progression for full-time GDL and MA Law students

If you started our full-time Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) or Master of Arts in Law (MA Law) in September 2021, you should be eligible to commence the Bar Practice Course (BPC) or Legal Practice Course (LPC) in September 2022 on successful completion of your course.

Important information for Bar Practice Course applicants

Important information for those wishing to study for the Bar of England and Wales.

Is that right for you?

We are very glad that you are seriously thinking of pursuing a career at the Bar. However, you must think carefully about whether you have the potential to make a successful career as a barrister. A career at the Bar is very demanding, requiring high standards.

The Bar can offer an extremely rewarding career if you:

  • Have a high level of intellectual ability.
  • Are highly articulate in written and spoken English.
  • Can think and communicate under pressure, and,
  • Have determination and stamina and are emotionally robust.

Statistics

Once you have satisfied yourself that you have these qualities, and the potential to develop your knowledge and skills further, you should also consider some of the 'facts and figures' concerning a career at the Bar before you commit yourself.

In brief, approximately 1800 students take the Bar Course every year and, typically, the number of pupillages offered is about 550 each year. Some students who complete the Bar Course return overseas or turn to other professions. However, students are allowed to seek pupillage for up to 5 years after completing the Bar Course, so the competition for pupillages is extremely intense. Over 3,000 individuals may be applying for pupillage in any particular year, and some Chambers have over a hundred applicants for each pupillage placement, at present, there are only a limited number of pupillages at the Employed Bar.

Getting a tenancy

You should also realize that, following pupillage, obtaining a tenancy in Chambers or a suitable position at the Employed Bar can be very challenging. Each year there are normally fewer tenancies available than pupillages, and Chambers do not always offer tenancy to their pupils.

Seek advice

Remember that you also need to meet the formal entry requirements before you start the course – a second-class honors degree in law (or in another subject plus a conversion course), Inn membership, and adequate language skills. The BSB has introduced a Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT), which you will be required to pass by August of the year you commence your studies.

You should find out as much as you can and give the information serious consideration before committing yourself to the study - and the financial and other expenditures that this requires.

So, to make a realistic assessment of whether you are suited to a career as a barrister, you should:

  • Seek guidance from your university law tutors and careers adviser.
  • Go to the Inns and speak to their Education staff (they organize open days for university students).
  • Find out more about the profession and look at the statistical information.
  • Try to gain relevant experience such as working for a law firm, doing a mini-pupillage, or marshaling for a judge.
  • Try to talk to people who have studied for the Bar, for example to a recently qualified barrister.

If you have faith in yourself, your capabilities, and your potential to succeed after hard work and effort, this should not discourage you. For good candidates, from whatever background, financial support (for example from the Inns of Court or loans) is frequently available, and the final rewards - both in terms of job satisfaction and financial remuneration - can make it a very worthwhile career.

Our selection process

The University of Law is committed to producing exceptional advocates and so, since 2015, we have required all applicants to undergo an assessment before obtaining a place on the BPC.

Top reasons why Selection Events can benefit you:

  • Gain confidence in knowing whether a career at the Bar is right for you.
  • Practice your advocacy skills in a 5-minute "plea in mitigation".
  • Take the opportunity to compete for Advocacy Scholarships.
  • Get vital practice for pupillage interviews.

International

We have students from over 120 different countries throughout our campuses, with a dedicated team to help international students.

How to Apply

Applications for this course are now open. If you’d like to study full-time or part-time you can apply directly with us.

Don't forget - you must be a member of an Inn of Court before you start our BPC. The deadline for applying is at least 12 weeks before you start the course.

Fees

2024/25 Course Fee (for courses starting on or after 1 July 2024)

  • Outside London (excl. Newcastle) - £14,900 (BPC) / £17,450 (BPC LLM)
  • Newcastle – £12,900 (BPC) includes a £2,000 Newcastle Postgraduate Award / £13,150 (BPC LLM) includes a £4,300 Newcastle Postgraduate Award
  • Nottingham – £13,900 (BPC & BPC LLM) includes a £1,000 Nottingham Postgraduate Award
  • London - £16,450 (BPC), £19,250 (BPC LLM)

About the School

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