Bar Professional Training Course

City University London
Course summary
2-3 years
17,500 GBP
Full time/part time

Course description

Bar Professional Training Course

Bar Professional Training Course - a City University degree programme

The course gives important lessons in discipline of life in chambers for barristers. One of the important skills such as advocacy will be provided in specialist training.

You will  get an opportunity to work with real-life clients and partnerships at local, national and international levels including Free Representation Unit (FRU), London Innocence Project, and National Centre for Domestic Violence.

Suitability - Who should attend?

The BPTC is a postgraduate course with basic entry requirements prescribed by the Bar Standards Board. Most applicants should have a UK honours degree in law, normally with a minimum standard upper Second Class. However, it is possible to apply with a degree in another subject and a further qualification in law, such as the Common Professional Examination, the Graduate Diploma in Law, or the Graduate Entry LLB. The Bar Standards Board can advise on non-standard qualifications.

Additional requirements laid down by the professional regulator are:

  • Lower second class honours degree
  • Online application for the BPTC by the first week in January 2015
  • Passing the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT)
  • Applying for membership of one of the four Inns of Court by 31st May 2015

Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT)

The Bar Course Aptitude Test is intended to ensure that students on the BPTC have the required skills to succeed. It is therefore taken before the BPTC, and is a pre-condition to starting the BPTC.

It is administered by the Bar Standards Board and must by passed to start the BPTC in September 2015.

For further details and to sign-up for the BCAT, please visit the Bar Standards Board Bar Course Aptitude Test.

English Language Requirements

One of the entry requirements for the BPTC is that students are fluent in English. Applicants need to be able to demonstrate that their oral and written English ability is equivalent to one of the following:

A minimum score of 7.5 in each section of the test

Please note that due to changes in the UK Visas andImmigration Secure English LanguageTest we are no longer able to accept Test ofEnglish as a Foreign Language TOEFL as evidence of English language for students who require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Study as of April 2014.

Pearson Test of English

A minimum score of 73 in each part of the test

Inn membership

Applicants to the BPTC must also apply for membership of one of the four Inns of Court by 31st May 2015. The Inns of Court have well-established scholarship schemes, with closing dates on the first Friday in November 2014.

How do we make our decision?

In reaching selection decisions we will take account of the following:

  • Degree performance (actual or predicted)
  • Evidence of intellectual ability
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Advocacy and public speaking
  • Personal organisational skills
  • Your references

Please note that due to changes in the UK Visas and Immigration Secure English Langauge Test as evidence of English language for students who require a as of April 2014.

Citizens from states other than Europe/Switzerland are may need to go for entry or visa applications

The way to apply may vary depending on the length of your course; there are different rules for:

  • Students on courses of more than 6 months
  • Students on courses of less than 6 months
  • Students on a pre-sessional English Language course

Please note: Those requiring a Tier 4 student visa for studying in the UK, cannot undertake any City University London courses on a part-time basis.

Outcome / Qualification etc.

On successful completion of the course you will receive the City University London Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Legal Skills, which is required in order for you to be called to the Bar and to take your first steps into practice.

We have a strong success rate of our BPTC students gaining pupillage year upon year. As soon as you accept your place on the City BPTC you can get individual guidance from our dedicated Pupillage Advisory Service to give you the best possible chance of entering the bar. The service offers tailored advice about:

  • building links with the profession
  • applying for mini-pupillages
  • completing pupillage applications
  • preparing for interviews (including offering mock interviews)
  • getting ready for pupillage.

If you decide the Bar isn't for you, you can receive expert advice about your chosen career from your personal tutor and the University's Career and Skills Development Service. The service can provide support for interviews, mock interviews and job searching techniques.

Training Course Content

The City BPTC consists of a 11 core subjects and two option subjects from a choice of 11. The course has been developed to deliver the relevant legal skills and knowledge that all newly-qualified barristers need, along with the detailed knowledge required for your chosen specialist areas/subjects. Three of the option subjects (FRU, Domestic Violence and Social Security) arePro Bono

based, which gives you the opportunity to get real life experience as part of your course.

Core subjects:

  • Alternative dispute resolution
  • Case preparation and analysis
  • Civil advocacy
  • Civil litigation, civil evidence and remedies
  • Conference skills
  • Criminal advocacy
  • Criminal litigation, sentencing and criminal evidence
  • Drafting skills
  • Legal research
  • Opinion writing skills
  • Professional ethics

Other important areas covered within the context of the main subjects:

  • Costs
  • Human rights
  • Risk analysis

Option subjects include:

  • Advanced Criminal Litigation
  • Commercial Law
  • Company Law
  • Employment Law
  • Family Law
  • Fraud and Financial Crime
  • Landlord & Tenant
  • 'Clinical' options: FRU (Free Representation Unit) employment, social security and domestic violence


The course is designed to replicate the demands and discipline of life in chambers with an emphasis on learning by doing.

Teaching is delivered in the following ways:

  • Advocacy is taught in a courtroom setting in groups of six and one-to-one
  • Small group sessions are held in groups of twelve
  • Interactive large group sessions are also held frequently

Our unique training programme is written and developed in consultation with practitioners to ensure that it meets the needs of the modern-day Bar. You will use a number of sets of instructions and briefs based on realistic cases.

You are taught by professionally-qualified experts who bring a range of experience and specialist knowledge to the course. Our teaching staff are directly involved in practice and a number of staff sit, or have sat, in a part-time judicial capacity and maintain door tenancies.

As the founding provider of the BPTC (formerly BVC), our bar team at Gray's Inn lead the market in assessing and developing the way in which future barristers are trained. Working closely with the Oxford University Press (OUP) our academics, including BPTC Course Director Stuart Sime, even write the text books that are used by most providers in teaching the Bar Professional Training Course.

Find out more about the texts written by our BPTC staff.


Advocacy is a key subject on the BPTC at City. We can offer you:

  • Three times the amount of advocacy training as required by the BSB
  • Advocacy training that follows the system used in the training of pupils and junior barristers by the Inns' Advocacy Training Committee (ATC)
  • Opportunity to participate in full mock Civil and Criminal trials
  • One-to-one advice on how to improve at various points in the year
  • Regular feedback in your advocacy classes of six


We believe feedback is central to your professional and personal development. Each member of staff is fully trained in providing effective feedback and throughout the course you are encouraged to assess your own development as well as that of your peers. Regular practice with fellow students and the feedback you are given ensures that you develop your skills to their full potential.

To make sure that our feedback is useful to you:

  • The criteria for all skills areas are highlighted for students in the introductory stages
  • All skills-based small group sessions focus on key aspects of the relevant skill
  • Feedback is aimed at improving your performance, and is based on the assessment criteria


There are eight skills assessments and four multiple choice/short answer question tests. The assessments are a combination of 'unseen' and 'take away' papers. Skills assessments are based on realistic exercises reproducing the demands of practice and reflecting the work done on the course.

Advocacy and conference assessments are recorded with actors playing the role of client and/or witness. Written skills assessments require you to write an opinion or prepare a piece of drafting.

Multiple choice tests/short answer questions will also be used to assess your competence level in Criminal Litigation, Sentencing and Evidence; Civil Litigation, Civil Evidence and Remedies; ADR; and Professional Ethics.

Full-time Timetable

  • Three days teaching each week (12-14 hours class contact time)
  • Two days for preparation, professional development and research each week
  • A recommended twenty-plus hours of private study and preparation work each week

Part-time BPTC Timetable

  • Delivered over two years
  • Teaching takes place on Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday evenings depending on the year in which you start the course
  • Classes are usually from 6.00pm - 9.00pm (three hours)
  • 10 hours of private study a week during term time and further periods during vacations preparing
  • Some daytime attendance will be required for assessments (notice will be given to you in advance)
  • Teaching and assessments are divided over the two years to produce a balanced programme

As with the full-time route, attendance at all classes is mandatory and is a requirement of the Bar Standards Board. Final term dates will be set prior to the start of each year.

Do consider the effects this effort will have on your time and energy before embarking on the course as gaining a professional qualification requires considerable commitment.

Training Materials

You will receive free copies of the main textbooks used on the course. These include:

  • Practitioner books in Civil Practice and Criminal Practice
  • The City Law School BPTC Manuals (published by OUP as the "bar series")
  • Textbooks in Civil Procedure, Evidence and Alternative Dispute Resolution

Online learning

Our online learning environment, Moodle, gives you instant access to course materials and communication tools from any computer, at any time. It enables you to:

  • Further your legal knowledge and study by accessing your course and lecture notes, revision aids, tests and assessments
  • Connect and communicate with your lecturers online through video collaboration tools and tutorial bookings
  • Share and work online with your fellow students and peers
  • Listen to podcasts
  • View and participate in online interactive lectures
  • Book places online for social, educational and mooting events
  • View audio visual recorded lectures

We also provide a module on Moodle called Epigeum: Research Skills Online. This offers invaluable online training in research skills.

Library and Information Services

We are one of a few Universities in the country to have two law libraries: one at our Gray's Inn Campus and one our Northampton Square campus. A dedicated team of professional staff, qualified in law librarianship and trained in legal research are available at both campuses to assist you with sourcing legal materials, researching the law and answering your queries.

Lawbore and Lawbore Pro

The City Law School has its own legal resource portals, Lawbore and Lawbore Professional. These portals give you quick and easy access to the latest research materials, legislative updates, library services and study news.


Pro Bono

We place a strong emphasis on the individual professional development of every one of our students and offer you numerous opportunities to participate in "live client" work through our Pro Bono Programme.

Our Pro Bono Programme gives you the opportunity to interview and provide written advice to a range of clients. Over the past decade, the programme has grown to include an ever increasing number of partnership programmes at local, national and international level. We encourage you to take an active role in running these projects and in the development of both new and existing projects.

Our partnerships include:

  • Amnesty International Letter Writing Clinic
  • Blackfriars Settlement Clinic
  • Free Representation Unit (FRU)
  • Golden Lane Legal Advice Clinic
  • Islington People's Rights
  • Liberty Letter Writing Clinic
  • London Innocence Project
  • National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV)
  • McKenzie Friends
  • Street Law


The cost of the programme is:

  • Full-time EU: £17,500
  • Part-time EU: £8,750 per year
  • Full-time Non EU: £17,500
  • Part-time Non EU: £8,750 per year

Investing in your future through education and training is important and at The City Law School we understand how difficult it can be to make ends meet whilst studying.

We offer more dedicated scholarships for Bar Professional Training Course students than any other provider. Our range of scholarships, prizes and gifts are there to make things just that little bit easier for you.


The City Law School Excellence Awards

Our Future Lawyer Excellence Award gives you the opportunity to apply for one full fee scholarship (100%) and six part fee scholarships (50%) when you accept a place on our Bar Professional Training Course.

Future Lawyer Advancement Reward - £1,750 off your fees!

Once you have studied at City we are sure you will want to stay with us to progress to the next stage of your legal training.

As an added incentive, we offer City students a loyalty reward upon enrolling on a second course here at the School (Taught LLMs, PhD/MPhil).

All you need to do is meet the minimum entry requirements for your second course and we will automatically take £1,750 off of your tuition fees.

The Rosie Keane Memorial Scholarships

The two Rosie Keane Memorial Scholarships are worth £5,000 each. The scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic achievement, educational background, contribution to the wider community, financial need and being the first lawyer in the family. They are only open to female students.


If you choose to study at City we'll award you for your hard work. Each year we award a variety ofschool and externally funded prizes

of up to £2,500 to our BPTC students based on academic performance.

Find out more about all of our Scholarships and Prizes.

Inn Scholarships

Each Inn offers and administers its own scholarships for intending barristers. Full details of these awards can be found on the website of each Inn:

  • The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn
  • The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple
  • The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn
  • The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple

Disclosure for US students

As part of US Loan regulations, City University are required to give Gainful Employment disclosures as part of our contract with the US Department of Education. Please refer to the following document for more information:

  • Gainful Employment reporting

About provider

City University London

City University London

City, University of London is a special place. With skill and dedication, we have been using education, research and enterprise to transform the lives of our students, our community and the world for a hundred years. We are proud of...

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EC1V 0HB London

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