The BPTC used to make up the vocational component of qualifying as a barrister and while the route to the Bar has changed with the introduction of Bar courses, transitional arrangements are in place

The BPTC has now been replaced by Bar courses

  • Final enrolment on the BPTC took place in September 2019. In September 2020 the BPTC was replaced by new Bar courses.
  • Transitional arrangements are in place, ensuring that those currently studying for a BPTC will have until 2022 to complete it.
  • According to the Bar Standards Board (BSB) the new qualification rules make training to become a barrister more flexible, accessible and affordable than ever before. What's more the changes will also provide the Bar with a more diverse pool of talent while giving students the power to choose between different routes to qualification.

What was the BPTC?

The Bar Professional Training Course was the required vocational element for students wanting to qualify as a barrister. It was traditionally taken after your law degree (or after the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) for non-law students).

However, in September 2020 the BPTC was replaced by a number of new Bar courses.

Courses that have replaced the BPTC include the Bar Course, the Bar/Barrister Training Course (BTC), the Bar Practice Course (BPC), the Bar Vocational Course (BVC) and Bar Vocational Studies (BVS). Approved course providers include:

  • BPP University
  • Cardiff University
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Northumbria University
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • The City Law School, City, University of London
  • The Inns of Court College of Advocacy
  • The University of Law
  • The University of the West of England.

How long did the BPTC take?

It took one year to complete full time, two-years part-time.

What did courses involve?

The emphasis was on learning through practical work, with many exercises based on briefs similar to those that barristers receive in the early stages of their career.

The course covered a number of compulsory subjects including:

  • advocacy
  • civil litigation evidence and remedies
  • conference skills
  • criminal litigation, evidence and sentencing
  • drafting
  • resolution of disputes out of court
  • opinion writing
  • professional ethics.

How were they assessed?

Assessment varied between BPTC providers but all providers tested knowledge through written exams. Advocacy and conference skills were tested through practical exercises often involving actors and both seen and unseen elements.

The BPTC was graded on three levels - 'Outstanding', 'Very competent' or 'Competent'.

What were the entry requirements?

The BPTC required a minimum 2:2 law degree or for a student to have completed the GDL to convert an unrelated undergraduate degree. However, some providers set their own minimum entry requirements.

All students also needed to be fluent in English and had to apply to join an Inn of Court by 31 May of the year they intended to start the BPTC.

Prospective students also needed to pass the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT).

When was the application deadline?

All applications had to be made online at the Bar Student Application Service (BarSAS). If students wanted to do the BPTC immediately after their course ended, they had to apply in the autumn of their final year on a law degree or the first term of their conversion course.

How much did the BPTC cost?

Course fees varied depending on the institution. For example, The University of Law charged £18,735 for the full-time BPTC at its London Bloomsbury campus. Meanwhile Nottingham Law School, at Nottingham Trent University, charged £15,200 for its full-time BPTC.

Was funding available?

Would-be barristers have the support of the Inns of Court. These barristers' clubs provided approximately £4million each year to BPTC students. A few barristers' chambers also offered money towards the cost of the BPTC.

You could also fund yourself or take advantage of the scholarships and bursaries that were offered by universities. Search for funding opportunities and find out more about funding postgraduate study.

Find out more

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