• BPTC: Bar Professional Training Course
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    Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC)

    Exceptional pupillage rates

    At The University of Law, we pride ourselves in offering the best legal training - and our Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) is no exception.

    Our BPTC is designed to help you secure pupillage and prepare you for life as a barrister. In fact, 66% of full-time UK/EEA students who passed in 2016 had secured pupillage within 12 months of completing the course. Furthermore, for that year, 22% of our full-time graduates obtained an 'Outstanding' grade, which is considerably more than the national average of 13%.

    You can expect exceptionally high standards of tutoring and a wealth of pro bono opportunity. We’ll support you in preparing pupillage applications, with access to our specialist careers service from the moment you accept your place. 

    20 years of raising the Bar

    To celebrate 20 years of the BPTC at The University of Law, and in recognition of the challenges and costs of pursuing a career at the Bar, we’ve reduced this year’s BPTC fees.

    New for 2017: Our BPTC LLM

    We help our students get to the Bar by providing real life legal work experience opportunities. To support this, we’re now offering a new Master of Laws (LLM) as a part of our September 2017 BPTC programme.

    Choose to study this award and you will have the opportunity to add an internationally recognised LLM qualification and real legal work experience to your CV and pupillage applications.

    You will advise, manage and represent clients on a variety of cases in legal areas including family, housing and immigration law. As well as gaining valuable work and ‘on your feet’ advocacy experience, you will be paired with a Masters supervisor, who will guide you through a reflective learning process so that you can complete your reflective assessment and obtain your Masters award.

    If you decide to study our BPTC LLM, there will be an additional course fee, but you could be eligible for a Student Loans Company (SLC) Postgraduate Loan to help cover the cost.

    Why choose our BPTC?

    • Increase your chances of pupillage with our new BPTC LLM: gain an internationally recognised qualification with added legal work experience representing real clients
    • Our BPTC LLM is integrated into the Bar course so you’ll gain your Master's qualification at the same time as completing your BPTC studies
    • Study in a small class alongside the brightest students - we’re the only BPTC provider that requires all students to undergo a live selection process before being offered a place
    • Gain more advocacy than the Bar Standards Board (BSB)'s requirements so you’re fully prepared for the Bar
    • Study our BPTC LLM and you could be eligible for up to £10,280 with a SLC Postgraduate Loan
    • Learn from the best: our courses are taught by qualified practitioners with unparalleled experience in delivering advocacy training – many still practise, so you can learn from their insight into today’s legal world
    • Succeed 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
    • Test your advocacy skills in front of real barristers and judges at prestigious international and national mooting competitions, all organised by our dedicated Advocacy Committee
    • Benefit from our merit-based scholarships and academic prizes. We have one of the most comprehensive scholarship schemes in legal education and reward academic success with a series of prizes at the end of your BPTC year
    • Flexible study options: you can choose to study your BPTC full-time in Birmingham, Leeds or London Bloomsbury or part-time in Birmingham or London Bloomsbury
    • Gain a real insight into the profession and make a wealth of valuable connections at our networking practitioner events
    • Ede & Ravenscroft wigs are awarded to all our September 2017 BPTC students who obtain pupillage

    Follow the link below to discover more about how you'll benefit from our unique Selection Process and Advocacy Committee

    • Selection Process

      The University of Law is committed to producing exceptional advocates and so, since 2015, has been the only provider that requires all applicants to undergo an assessment before obtaining a place on the BPTC.

      We will only offer places to students that we think have a realistic chance of passing the course and going on to obtain pupillage. 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 the BPTC at The University of Law you can guarantee that you will be studying alongside the committed, focused and intelligent students, which in turn will push you to succeed.

      For 2017 entry, our selection interviews will take place 26 - 28 April at our BPTC centres.  


      Those students who make it through the initial paper-sift will be invited to undertake an assessment at the centre of your choice. You will be asked to complete a written exercise; an oral advocacy test and a short interview with one of our BPTC tutors. Entry onto the course will be based solely on candidates' performance on the day. Decisions on our Advocacy Scholarships will be based partly on the candidate’s performance during the oral advocacy test. 

      During an assessment you will undertake:

      • A 5 minute 'plea in mitigation' in the magistrates' court - you will be given 40 minutes to prepare
      • A 10 minute interview with a BPTC tutor
      • A 40 minute written exercise where you will be asked to write an opinion, the subject matter of which will be published nearer the time

      There is no preparation required and we do not expect you to know any law: this is a test of your raw skills and potential as an advocate.

      Advocacy Committee

      Our unique Advocacy Committee is made up of the students who excelled during our selection process. Led by the Master or Mistress of the Moots, they arrange entry into prestigious national and international advocacy competitions for BPTC and GDL students, (see below for a list of competitions entered this year). They also arrange numerous internal competitions and workshops in association with local chambers which provide an excellent opportunity to test the skills you’ve developed in the classroom and forge links with leading practitioners.

      This year’s competitions include:

      • The International Criminal Court Moot, The Hague
      • Francis Taylor Buildings Kingsland Moot Cup
      • IASLA Space Law Moot Court Competition
      • Insurance Law Moot at Southampton University
      • LSE-Featherstone Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Moot
      • Oxford International IP Law Moot
      • Southampton Inns of Court Mooting Competition
      • UK Mediation Competition
      • University of Bristol Intervarsity Moot
      • Imperial Novices Debating Competition
      • ESU Debating Competition

      More information on the Advocacy Scholarships

    • To be eligible to take up your place, you must comply with the requirements for commencing a Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) set out by the Bar Standards Board (BSB). The Academic Stage Handbook gives you full information about these requirements.

      • You will be required to pass the Bar Standards Board aptitude test by 14 August 2017 (known as the Bar Course Aptitude Test - BCAT). The exact date will be published soon. 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 
      • Applicants who meet the basic eligibility criteria may then be invited to attend a  selection interview at one of our centres.       

        * For non QLD applicants with a 2:2, offers based on predicted GDL grade will be conditional upon achieving distinction or commendation
      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 TOEFL English Language test as a proof of students' English proficiency until further notice due to Home Office investigation.

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

      Selection event

      In order to be considered for a place on the BPTC, applicants will be required to attend a selection interview on 26 - 28 April 2017 at our BPTC centres. At the interview you will undertake:

      • A 5 minute 'plea in mitigation' in the magistrates' court - you will be given 40 minutes to prepare
      • A 10 minute interview
      • A 40 minute written exercise where you will be asked to write an opinion, the subject matter of which will be published nearer the time
      Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT)

      Candidates seeking entry to the BPTC are required to pass the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) before being allowed to enrol on the course. The BCAT opens in April each year.

      We strongly recommend you sit the test as soon as possible and no later than 14 August. We will guarantee to hold your offer open until you have successfully passed the test. Should you fail to pass, you are able to re-sit the test after 30 days. As you must successfully pass the test before you can enrol on the BPTC 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.

      Inns of Court

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

      Again, you must fulfil 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 on 0800 289997 (UK), +44 (0)1483 216000 (international) or e-mail bptcadmissions@law.ac.uk 

      BPTC selection criteria
      • Academic profile and achievement
      • Demonstrated fluency in English language
      • Oral and written communication skills 
      • Demonstrated commitment to a career as a barrister 
      • Demonstrated commitment to studying with The University of Law 
      • Any special circumstances revealed in your application 
      • Academic or other references

      The criteria for admission onto the Master of Laws (LLM) is the same as for the BPTC.

      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.

    • Visa requirements

      Further information for visa students 

      Non-EEA students requiring a visa to study should refer to the UKVI Policy Guidance, which can be found on their website: https://www.gov.uk/tier-4-general-visa. Please note that immigration regulations are subject to change at any time. Specific enquiries regarding University sponsorship of students under Tier 4 of the Points Based System can be e-mailed to visaoffice@law.ac.uk 

      It is the responsibility of all students from outside the EU to ensure that they have a visa covering the full duration of their course.

    • With its unique combination of face-to-face teaching and online training, the BPTC structure has been designed to reflect the litigation process that practising barristers encounter every day. 

      What will the course cover?

      Knowledge areas
      Core skills

      Study options

      Mock trials

      Master of Laws (LLM)

      Knowledge areas
      • Civil litigation, evidence and remedies
      • Criminal litigation, evidence and sentencing
      • Professional ethics
      Core skills
      • Advocacy, including examination-in-chief, cross-examination and civil applications
      • Conferencing
      • Drafting
      • Opinion writing
      • Resolution of disputes out of court
      Study options

      In your final term, you’ll choose to study two options from a list that includes:

      • Advanced criminal litigation
      • Alternative dispute resolution: mediation
      • Chancery
      • International commercial practice
      • Employment tribunal practice
      • Family practice
      • Immigration practice and asylum
      • Judicial review
      • Personal injury and clinical negligence
      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 practising barristers
      • Visits to the High Court, Magistrate’s Court, Crown Court and County Courts
      Master of Laws (LLM)

      If you study our BPTC LLM, you will undertake pro bono legal cases under the Legal Advice Clinic at your centre. You will take part in the Full Representation Service which includes representing lay clients in courts and tribunals. You will meet regularly with your supervisor and work with your student partner(s) on the cases - meeting clients, writing letters of advice, pleadings and representing the clients at hearings.

    • Structure
      BPTC Full-time (48 hours of training & study per week)
      • Up to 12 hours of formal training per week, including individual sessions of up to 1.5 hours
      • This course is organised across four days, giving you one day a week to dedicate to consolidating your learning or undertaking a pro bono activity of your choice
      • You will expect to devote around 30 hours to private study every week

      BPTC Part-time weekend (24 hours of training & study per week)
      • Up to 14 study weekends per year spread evenly over the academic year – Saturday and Sunday
      • This will include 12 hours of formal training per study weekend
      • You will expect to devote around 10 hours private study every week, between each teaching weekend

      BPTC LLM: Full-time and Part-time weekend

      If you choose the BPTC LLM, you will need to anticipate working on LLM cases approximately 4 -5 hours a week with more in some weeks e.g. where there is an initial interview or a hearing.

      • Full time students: you have a private study day most weeks and have classes in either the morning or afternoon so can use the other part of the day to work on your LLM.
      • Part-time students: please ensure that you can be available in the week on occasion for appointments that cannot be scheduled at other times such as court hearings.
      Course assessment

      There are 12 assessments in total with practice assessments held for every module spread across the course. Prizes, sponsored by chambers, are available for the highest-scoring student in each subject.

      BPTC LLM assessment

      You will keep a reflective journal throughout the year about your pro bono work, and then submit your Critical Reflective Report at the end of the course.

      BPTC Full-time Programme Demands (PDF)
      BPTC Part-time Programme Demands (PDF)

    • Course start dates
      Centre Full-time Part-time
      Birmingham w/c 11 September 2017 15 - 17 September 2017
      Leeds w/c 11 September 2017
      London Bloomsbury w/c 4 September 2017 15 - 17 September 2017

    • BPTC fees for September 2017 start

      To celebrate 20 years of the BPTC at The University of Law, and in recognition of the challenges and costs of pursuing a career at the Bar, we’ve reduced this year’s BPTC fees. Fees are the same for both full-time and part-time programmes:

      Centre Total BPTC fees payable (exclusive of BSB fee) Total BPTC fees payable (inclusive of £550 BSB fee)Total BPTC LLM fees payable (exclusive of BSB fee)Total BPTC LLM fees payable (inclusive of £550 BSB fee) 
      Birmingham, Leeds £13,950 £14,500  £15,200£15,750 
      London Bloomsbury £16,950 £17,500 £18,200 £18,750 

      Further information on course fees and instalment options.

    • Applications are closed for our 2017 BPTC.

      If you wish to apply for our 2018 BPTC, applications will open in December 2017.

    • Our BPTC director, specialist careers consultant and a current BPTC student share top tips on how to make your BPTC application stand out.

    • At The University of Law, we recognise that your ultimate goal is to obtain pupillage, progress onto tenancy and hone all the skills and experience you need to develop your practice. That’s why we ensure that every step of the way, you have dedicated careers support and a wealth of opportunities to progress.

      A personal careers service

      The University of Law has the UK’s largest law careers and employability service, with more than 30 experts providing support as soon as you accept your place. Through one-on-one careers appointments, live and virtual workshops, the careers team advise on:

      • CVs and cover letters
      • Mini-pupillage applications
      • Which sets to apply to based on your interests and profile
      • Pupillage applications: drafting and review
      • Interview preparation, including spotting and debating current affairs and relevant legal topics
      • Mock interviews
      • Deciding between pupillage offers
      • Post-BPTC employment, scholarships and further study

      As well as bespoke advice and assistance, our careers team are able to organise a wide-range of events and presentations thanks to our excellent links with chambers across the country. 

      Typical events include:

      • Inviting the barristers on pupillage committees to discuss and answer questions about the pupillage application process
      • Specialist panels and external speakers discussing the nuances of specific practice areas e.g. Commercial & Chancery and Family
      • Presentations by external speakers including specialist practitioners and representatives from the Inns of Court
      • Discussion on the non-legal aspects of being a barrister including talks from a chambers’ client care manager and a tax consultant
      • A small number of evenings hosted by specific chambers, reserved for ULaw students only
      Pro bono opportunities

      The University runs a varied pro bono programme at all of our centres, which allow our students to gain experience in dealing with real cases while helping the local community. You’ll get valuable first-hand experience of client relationships, legal research and drafting, whilst helping those who may not otherwise have access to legal support and advice.

      Current projects include: Legal Advice Centre, Streetlaw, Royal Courts of Justice Personal Support Unit, Family Law Advice Clinic, Environmental Law Foundation, Communities Empowerment Network and County Court Runner Scheme.

  • Enquire now
  • Thank you for registering your interest in our BPTC programme. We will be in touch over the next couple of days with all the information you’ll need to know about the course.

    In the meantime, why not order a prospectus or book an open day at one of our eight centres?

    If you have any other questions feel free to call us on 0800 289 997

  • Study our BPTC LLM and you could be eligible for a £10,280 student loan

  • I chose ULaw because of the excellent reputation it has for the training of students for the Bar

    Sam Frost, BPTC Student, Bloomsbury