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  • Our Bar Professional Training Course

    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. You can expect exceptionally high standards of tutoring, a bespoke level of careers support and a wealth of pro bono projects giving you invaluable experience.

    Why choose our BPTC?
    • We’re the only BPTC provider that requires all students undergo a selection process before being offered a place on our course. This means you’ll study in small classes alongside carefully selected students

    • We offer four times the advocacy required by the Bar Standards Board (BSB), all taught by qualified practitioners with unparalleled experience in delivering advocacy training

    • Benefit from our unique Advocacy Committee: enter prestigious international and national competitions and test your advocacy skills in front of real barristers and judges

    • Succeed in pupillage applications and beyond and be supported from the moment you accept - with support from our award-winning Careers and Employability Service

    • Gain a real insight into the profession and make a wealth of valuable connections at our networking practitioner events

    • Benefit from our scholarships and 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 or part-time in Birmingham or London Bloomsbury, or full-time in Leeds

    Follow the link below to discover more about how you'll benefit from our 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 2016 entry, our selection interviews will take place between 15 - 20 February 2016 in Birmingham, Leeds and London Bloomsbury.


      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. We will also base decisions on our Advocacy Scholars in part 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
      • The European Law Moot Court
      • Francis Taylor Buildings Kingsland Moot Cup
      • Human Rights Lawyers Association: Judicial Review Moot
      • ICC Commercial Mediation Competition
      • Insurance Law Moot
      • Southampton Inns of Court Mooting Competition
      • UK Mediation Competition
      • University of Bristol Intervarsity Moot
      • Imperial Novices Debating Competition
      • John Smith Memorial Mace
      • National Student Law Society Moot
      • WCA Mediation
      • Leicester Medical Law Moot

      More information on the Advocacy Scholarships

    • Eligibility

      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 at www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/qualifying-as-a-barrister/academic-stage/ gives you full information about these requirements.

      • You will be required to pass the Bar Standards Board aptitude test by 7 September 2016 (known as the Bar Course Aptitude Test - BCAT). 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 centres at Birmingham, Leeds or London Bloomsbury during the week commencing 15 February 2016

        * For non QLD applicants with a 2:2, offers based on predicted GDL grade will be conditional upon achieving distinction or commendation
      Selection interview

      Applicants meeting the eligibility criteria will be required to attend a selection interview at one of our centres at Birmingham, Leeds or London Bloomsbury between 15 - 20 February 2016.

      It is your responsibility to ensure you fulfil 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 TOEFL English Language test as a proof of students' English proficiency until further notice due to Home Office investigation.

      • 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: 
      • 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 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 admissions@law.ac.uk  

      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 on Monday 4 April 2016. 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 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

      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. 

      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
      • Advocacy skill demonstrations with feedback from practising barristers
      • Visits to the High Court, Magistrate’s Court, Crown Court and County Courts

    • Structure
      BPTC Full-time (48 hours 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 Full-time Programme Demands (pdf)

      BPTC Part-time weekend (24 hours 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 Part-time Programme Demands (pdf)

      Course assessment

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

    • Course start dates
      Full-time   Part-time Weekend
      Birmingham w/c 5 September 2016  16 September 2016
      Leeds w/c 5 September 2016
      London w/c 5 September 2016 16 September 2016

    • BPTC fees for September 2016 start

      Course fees are the same for the full-time and part-time BPTC programme.

      Centre  Total Fees Payable 
      (including £550 BSB
      registration fee)
      Birmingham £15,480 
      Leeds  £15,480 
      London Bloomsbury  £19,040 

      Further information about course fees and instalment options.

    • Applications for our full-time and part-time BPTC are now open.

      Apply now

    • 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’ marketing manager and a tax consultant
      • A small number of evenings hosted by specific chambers, reserved for 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, Own-It (Intellectual Property), Royal Courts of Justice Personal Support Unit, Family Law Advice Clinic, Social Welfare Legal Advice, Environmental Law Foundation and Streetlaw.

  • 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

  • the ULaw staff are polished, proficient, accessible and patient.

    Christine Troughton, BPTC Student, London Bloomsbury