Bar Professional Training Course
Why the City Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC)?
- Established worldwide reputation for excellence as the original provider of the bar course
- Dedicated Pupillage Advisory Service with a proven track record in helping students obtain pupillage
- Expert staff who are authors of leading practitioner and student texts, including the BPTC manuals used by most course providers
- More than three times the amount of Advocacy teaching than is required by the BSB regulations
- Largest selection of options of any provider, including three clinical Pro Bono based options
As the founding provider of the Bar Professional Training Course (formerly BVC) we give you the skills and knowledge that you need for life as a successful barrister and offer you the best possible chance of gaining pupillage.
Our course, designed and taught by qualified practitioners, teaches you how to think and act like a barrister from day one through realistic cases that replicate the demands and discipline of life in chambers. Advocacy is a vital skill for a barrister and we provide specialist training in a courtroom setting in groups of six and also one-to-one throughout the course.
Our renowned Pro Bono Programme gives you the opportunity to put your skills into practice by working with real-life clients. We have partnerships at local, national and international level including the: Free Representation Unit (FRU), London Innocence Project, and National Centre for Domestic Violence.
We have a strong history of our students successfully obtaining pupillage and we want you to be a part of it. As soon as you accept your place on the course you can access our dedicated Pupillage Advisory Service to receive one-to-one specialist careers guidance.
As a University Law School, we can also offer you full access to all the support and services you would expect from any major London institution, including extensive library service, IT facilities, postgraduate halls of residence, health care & counselling, sport & leisure facilities.
On successful completion of the course you will be awarded the City University London Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Legal Skills making you eligible to be called to the Bar and to take your first steps into practice.
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 UKVI's list of SELTs we are no longer able to accept TOEFL as evidence of English language for students who require a CAS as of April 2014.
Pearson Test of EnglishA minimum score of 73 in each part of the test
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 UKVI's list of SELTs we are no longer able to accept TOEFL as evidence of English language for students who require a CAS as of April 2014.
If you are not from the European Economic Area / Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK you may need to apply for a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK to study.
The way that you 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: If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK, you cannot undertake any City University London courses on a part-time basis.
For more information see our main Visa page.
- Start Date:
- September 2016
Full-time: one year
Part-time: two years
School office and library: 4 Gray's Inn Place, Gray's Inn, London, WC1R 5DX
Lecture theatre, student common room and teaching rooms: Atkin Building, Gray's Inn
Teaching rooms: Princeton Street, London WC1
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) are Pro Bono based, which gives you the opportunity to get real life experience as part of your course.
- 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:
- 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 range of options offered in any one year is subject to availability and demand. The content used on the part-time BPTC matches that of the full-time BPTC. Read the full programme specification.
Teaching and Assessment
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.
- 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.
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
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.
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
Mooting is a key part of studying at The City Law School and we believe it's one of the quickest and most effective ways for students to develop the skills they need to be successful lawyers. Mooting helps you to gain important legal skills, such as research and analysis, whilst also gaining experience of public speaking and argument.
We run several annual City Law School mooting competitions where you can act as counsel to argue a point of law before a senior practising judge. Our students also regularly participate in a variety of external national and international mooting competitions.
Read the full programme specification.
- Full-time EU: £18,000
- Part-time EU: £9,000 per year
- Full-time Non EU: £18,000
- Part-time Non EU: £9,000 per year
Please note that part-time fees are per year.
What your fee includes
Full-time and part-time fees are inclusive of:
- Course deposit
- Bar Standards Board fee
- Textbooks, including: Practitioner books in Civil Practice and Criminal Practice, The City Law School BPTC Manuals (published by OUP as the "bar series") and Textbooks in Civil Procedure, Evidence and Alternative Dispute Resolution.
For up-to-date information about tuition fees, living costs and financial support, visit Postgraduate Fees and Finance.
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.
Future Finance offers students loans of between £2,500 and £40,000 to help cover tuition fees and living expenses. All students and courses are considered. All loans are subject to credit checks and approval for further details please visit city.financemyfuture.co.uk.
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 prizesof up to £2,500 to our BPTC students based on academic performance.
Find out more about all of our Scholarships and Prizes.
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:
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.
Find out more about City University London
Applicants for both the full-time and part-time course must apply online at: www.barsas.com.
All BPTC applicants must also join one of the four Inns of Court before joining the course of their choice. To ensure that you are aware of when the membership application deadlines are please read our Inns Membership Notes (doc).