Bar Practice Course (BPC)

APPLICATIONS FOR OUR JULY AND SEPTEMBER 2020 COURSES ARE OPEN

At The University of Law, we pride ourselves in offering the best legal training, and our new Bar Practice Course (BPC)* is no exception.

Previously known as the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), our BPC is designed to help you secure pupillage and prepare you for life as a barrister. You can expect high standards of tutoring by qualified practitioners with unparalleled experience in delivering advocacy.

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 58% of our students secured a pupillage within one year of successfully completing their course.**

You can also add an internationally recognised Master's qualification to your CV and pupillage applications with our Bar Practice Course LLM, in which you could be eligible for a SLC Postgraduate Loan.

PLEASE NOTE: Arrangements for the transitional period between the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) and the introduction of new Bar training pathways have now been announced. Please read this Bar Standards Board statement for details on how it might affect you.

* Subject to approval and subject to Bar Standards Board (BSB) authorisation.

** 58% of our full-time UK/EEA Bar Practice Course students graduating in 2018 secured a pupillage within one year of successfully completing their course.  Previously the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).


Why choose our Bar Practice Course?

  • Excellent pupillage rates: 58% of our students secured pupillage within one year of successfully completing their course.**
  • Gain 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 organised by our Advocacy Committee and also at our mock trials in courts.
  • You’ll study in small classes alongside the brightest students. That’s why we require all students to undergo a live selection process before being offered a place.
  • All of our tutors have practised as Barristers or Solicitors with advocacy experience and can bring their experience of practice into the classroom.
  • Our blended learning delivery means you’ll have 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 a number of locations across the UK.
  • 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.
  • Choose from 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. You could also be eligible for a SLC Postgraduate Loan.
  • Exclusive access to our Synap learning and revision tool: complete multiple-choice questions to monitor and review your progress.

Our Bar Practice Course LLM

To ensure our students get the best legal training you can also complete a Master of Laws (LLM) as part of our BPC programme.

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

You can choose to complete your LLM 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 decide to study our Bar Practice Course LLM, there is an additional course fee, but you could be eligible for a Student Loans Company (SLC) Postgraduate Loan to help cover the cost. 

 


Our Selection Process

The University of Law is committed to producing exceptional advocates through our established selection process, which will take place throughout the year.

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 BPC at The University of Law you can guarantee that you will be studying alongside committed, focused and intelligent students, which in turn will push you to succeed.

How our Selection process can benefit you:

  1. Gain confidence in knowing whether a career at the Bar is right for you
  2. Practise your advocacy skills in a 5-minute "plea in mitigation"
  3. Apply early and secure your chance to compete for one of our Advocacy Scholarships before they're gone
  4. Get vital practice for pupillage interviews

If you choose to come along to one of our face-to-face Selection Events, you will also get the chance to meet tutors and network with current and future students.

Process

Those students who make it through the initial paper-sift will be invited to undertake an assessment at one of our BPC campuses. You will be asked to complete an oral advocacy test and a short interview with one of our BPC 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. To qualify for one of our scholarships, you must submit your application and complete our selection process before Monday 2 March 2020. 

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 BPC tutor

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 and who have shown organisational and leadership skills, particularly in relation to mooting. Led by the Master or Mistress of the Moots, they arrange entry into prestigious national and international advocacy competitions for BPC and GDL students. 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. 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 

 Information on Scholarships and Bursaries 

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). The Bar Qualification Manual gives you full information about these requirements.

  • You will be required to pass the Bar Course Aptitude Test by August of the year you commence your studies. The test opens in February 2020. 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 campuses.       

    * 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:
BPC
IELTS (academic) Score of 7.5 in all four areas
Pearsons (academic) Score of 73 in all four areas
  • UK or Republic of Ireland award:
    • Qualifying Law Degree - 1st or 2:1
    • GDL - distinction or commendation
    • Medical, dentistry, veterinary degree - pass

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 BPC, applicants will be required to attend a selection interview at one of our BPC campuses. 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
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 enrol on the course. The BCAT opens in February 2020.

We strongly recommend you sit the test as soon as possible and no later than the end of 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 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.

Inns of Court

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 course 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 

 

BPC 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 BPC.

Important information about the BPC

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.

Important notice

You are advised to make your own enquiries with any professional bodies to which you may seek admission, to determine whether you will meet all their requirements, including academic, character and suitability requirements. The University cannot be held responsible for any decisions subsequently taken by a professional body concerning these requirements.

Visa requirements

If you are a non-EEA national who requires a visa to attend an assessment or study weekend, the University can provide you with a supporting letter to come to the UK as a Short-Term Student.  You can find further information about the Short-Term Study route on our Visa Requirements page.

Please note that you will not be eligible for Tier 4 sponsorship, as this is not permitted for online courses.

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

What will the course cover?

Knowledge areas
Core skills

Mock trials

Master of Laws (LLM)
(if chosen)

Knowledge areas and core skills
  • Civil litigation evidence and Resolution of Disputes Out of Court
  • Criminal litigation, evidence and sentencing
  • Professional ethics
  • Advocacy, including examination-in-chief, cross-examination and civil applications
  • Conferencing
  • Drafting
  • Opinion writing
  • 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 practising barristers
  • Visits to the High Court, Magistrate’s Court, Crown Court and County Courts
Master of Laws (LLM)

If you choose to study our Bar Practice Course LLM, you can choose from three routes:

  1. Complete real-life work experience and increase your chances of pupillage via our Pro Bono clinics.
  2. Study additional modules, and sit the exams once you’ve finished your Bar Practice Course.
  3. Write a dissertation.
Structure
BPC Full-time (48 hours of training & study per week)
  • Up to 8 hours of formal training face to face per week, including individual sessions of up to 2 hours
  • This course is organised across two days in most weeks and sometimes three, giving you time in your week to dedicate to consolidating your learning or undertaking a pro bono activity of your choice
  • You will expect to devote around 40 hours to private study every week
BPC 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 8 hours of formal training per study weekend
  • You will expect to devote around 14 hours private study every week, between each teaching weekend

BPC LLM: Full-time and Part-time weekend

Depending on the route you choose, the structure of the course will vary.

  • If you choose the Pro Bono route, you will need to anticipate working on cases for approximately 4 -5 hours a week, with more in some weeks e.g. where there is an initial interview or a hearing.
  • If you choose to study additional modules, you will need to anticipate classes for an extra 4 hours per week. This will be on top of the hours you are already doing on the Bar Practice Course, or additional hours after, depending on how you choose to study these additional modules. There will also be preparation and consolidation required for the classes you attend.
  • If you choose the dissertation route, you may choose to complete this after you’ve finished the main Bar Practice Course qualification.
Course 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.

BPC 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)

July 2020 course start dates
Location Full-time
Birmingham 1 July 2020
Leeds 1 July 2020
London Bloomsbury 1 July 2020
September 2020 course start dates
Location Full-time Part-time
Birmingham 14 September 2020 25 September 2020
Bristol 14 September 2020  
Leeds 14 September 2020 25 September 2020
London Bloomsbury 14 September 2020 25 September 2020
Manchester 14 September 2020  
Nottingham 14 September 2020  

BPTC 19-20 Full-Time Course Dates (PDF)
BPTC 19-20 Part-Time Course Dates (PDF)
More information on our locations

BPC July 2020 Course fees
Location Total Fees Payable (including BSB fee of £870)
Birmingham, Leeds £11,750
London Bloomsbury £13,000

Further information about course fees and instalment options.

BPC LLM July 2020 Course fees
Location Total Fees Payable (including BSB fee of £870)
Birmingham, Leeds £14,450
London Bloomsbury £16,000

Further information about course fees and instalment options.

BPC September 2020 Course fees
Location Total Fees Payable (including BSB fee of £870)
Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham £11,750
London Bloomsbury £13,000

Further information about course fees and instalment options.

BPC LLM September 2020 Course fees
Location Total Fees Payable (including BSB fee of £870)
Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham £14,450
London Bloomsbury £16,000

Further information about course fees and instalment options.


Nottingham Postgraduate Award

To celebrate our inaugural year in the city of Nottingham, we are offering the Nottingham Postgraduate Award to all postgraduate students studying in January 2020 or September 2020. The award will be for £1,000, to be offset against the course fee.

Nottingham Postgraduate Award Terms and Conditions

Come and meet us at one of our open days or at a number of our law experience events where you can take advantage of our excellent connections with firms and practising lawyers.

Book an open day or event here.

You can apply directly to The University of Law to study one of our BPC courses.

Applications for our 2020 courses are open.

Apply now

Our BPC director, specialist careers consultant and a BPC student share top tips on how to make your BPC 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-BPC employment, scholarships and further study
Events

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 campuses, which allows 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. These projects are separate from those undertaken on the BPC LLM. 

Enquire Now