As the original provider of the Bar training course, we have over 50 years of expertise in designing and delivering Bar training.
Developed to replace the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), all our Bar Vocational Studies (BVS) programmes qualify you to be Called to the Bar of England and Wales.
Our full-time, part-time and two-part programmes offer you a choice of learning methods and routes depending on your requirements and learning style. You can also choose elective modules and LLM routes which are both practice-focused and academically rigorous.
At City, we teach some 2,500 students every year at all stages of legal education. There are numerous opportunities for staff and students teaching and learning on our different programmes to collaborate across a range of academic and co-curricular activities.
These include the City Law Review, mooting and advocacy competitions, and the law clinic in the City Law School’s new building, which provides opportunities for students to use their legal knowledge and skills for the benefit of the local community.
Why choose our Bar training courses?
Our established reputation
- We have the proven track record. You will be studying in the Law School where the original Bar course was developed. We have been designing and delivering Bar training for a very long time, first as the Inns of Court Law School then as part of City, University of London.
- We produce the best results. From the Bar Standards Board’s Central Examinations Board Chair’s Report for Spring 2019: City Law School students comprised 25.6% of the Bar students taking the centrally-set assessments but our students achieved 28.6% of the Very Competent grades and 35.5% of the Outstanding grades.
- More of our students obtain pupillage. The Bar Standards Board Key Statistics for 2019 (p.93) shows that City Law School Bar graduates on the BTPC* were more successful in obtaining pupillage than those of any other London provider (students commencing pupillage between October 2013 and March 2019)
*from 2020, our Bar Vocational Studies (BVS) programmes replace the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC)
- Close links with the Inns of Court, chambers and the legal profession. We have a very long history of educating lawyers, judges, policymakers, and businesspeople, dating back to the nineteenth century in the form of the Inns of Court Law School, which together with the Centre for Legal Studies formed The City Law School. Alumni include four former British and overseas Prime Ministers, and many of the City of London’s most prominent barristers and judges.
- From The City Law School’s proximity to the courts and leading barristers’ chambers and law firms allows you will benefit from visiting guest lectures by distinguished judges, barristers, solicitors and alumni and from a programme of events, functions and seminars at the Inns of Court. Chambers sponsor vocational, elective and dissertation modules and the Clinical Legal Education module.
Our unrivalled expertise
- Taught by the experts. Our staff are experienced and qualified teachers as well as having extensive experience of legal professional practice. Many of our staff remain in practice and some are also qualified arbitrators or mediators and some hold part-time judicial appointments.
- Many of our staff are also authors of key texts used by practitioners, including Blackstone’s Civil Practice, Blackstone’s Criminal Practice, the Jackson ADR Handbook and The Modern Law of Evidence and student texts including A Practical Approach to Civil Litigation, A Practical Approach to Effective Litigation and A Practical Approach to Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Our pupillage and career support
- Extensive pupillage and careers support. You can access support from our award-winning Pupillage Advisory Service (PAS) as soon as you accept an offer. We provide a comprehensive and thorough preparation for pupillage applications and pupillage itself. PAS has extensive links with chambers and you will have the opportunity to attend a range of networking events, as well as advice from both staff and practitioners on completing pupillage applications and preparation for pupillage interviews, including mock interviews.
- You also have access to the University’s Careers Service, which organises a range of employer and networking events and offers assistance with obtaining work experience placements and employment in the wider legal services market.
Our flexible study options
- Flexible study options. We offer two Bar Vocational Studies (BVS) programmes, giving you flexibility in choosing a programme to best suit your needs. You can choose to study full or part-time, or to separate the course into knowledge and skills training on the two-part programme. You can also select one of three qualifications to study towards, the Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) in Bar Vocational Studies, the PG Dip in Bar Vocational Studies (with specialism), and the LLM in Bar Vocational Studies (with specialism).
- There are a wide range of electives and pathways. You can choose elective modules and LLM pathways that are both practice-focused and academically rigorous, and you can choose elective modules in a broad range of specialist practice areas, enabling you to broaden and deepen your knowledge and skills in areas in which you wish to gain pupillage or legal employment.
- Pro bono opportunities. You have the opportunity to enhance your CV by taking part in a wide range of pro bono opportunities (including as part of your studies) through our Pro Bono Advice Clinic, which enables you to gain experience of representing real clients. Our portfolio of pro bono initiatives is wide ranging, from immigration and asylum cases to housing disputes; from employment law to advising start-up businesses to addressing miscarriages of justice.
Our uniquely supportive environment
- Small group teaching and learning. Regardless of what route or programme you choose, you will receive teaching in small groups of 6 students for advocacy and conference skills. All other modules, including elective modules, are taught predominantly in groups of 12.
- Individualised feedback and online support. Individual formative feedback exercises in all modules will typically occur on a one-to-one basis. Teaching on all modules is supported by a range of carefully designed, innovative and interactive online resources delivered via our easy-to-use Virtual Learning Environment.
- Real-life simulations. Teaching on all modules, including elective modules, takes place in the context of realistic scenarios or case papers that simulate the sort of instructions and briefs you will encounter in practice.
- State of the art facilities. You will be based in a brand new purpose-built Law School building and will be taught in rooms that are equipped with the latest modern technology and that have been specifically designed to accommodate Bar training.
- The benefits of belonging to City, University of London. You will have access to the modern facilities available at City and the University of London as a whole. These include a dedicated new Law Library, a modern Sports Centre, the Student Union, Academic Success and Student Health Services as well as assistance with student accommodation.
Our generous financial support
- Scholarships and financial support. Offer holders can apply for the Dean’s Scholarships for Academic Excellence and The City Law School Scholarships for Academic Excellence, which provide full fee and partial fee scholarships respectively. All other students awarded a first class degree from their undergraduate universities will receive a City Law School Bar Vocational Studies Scholarship worth £3000. Students on the two-part BVS programme will receive a 10% discount on the fees for the second part.
Scholarships offered by The City Law School can be found on our funding options page.
- You may be eligible for a Postgraduate Student Loan if you choose the LLM route.
From recent graduates to doctors and front bench MPs, our BVS programmes cater both for those who have always been dedicated to a professional legal career as well as people seeking a career change, and those who are able to make use of the training together with a professional legal qualification in business, management or administration.
Explore your options
Bar Vocational Studies (BVS) - Full-time and Part-time
This face-to-face learning option offers you a high level of interaction with tutors, professionals and peers and the choice of either studying full-time or part-time.
You will have the benefit of working in small study groups, simulated courtroom environments and you will have a choice of three different routes (a Postgraduate Diploma in Bar Vocational Studies, a Postgraduate Diploma with Specialism, or an LLM).
Scholarships and funding
We offer a range of academic merit-based scholarships and a 10% loyalty discount for continuing students.
This support is open to all our students wherever they are from the UK, the EU or overseas and on all our Bar Vocational Studies (BVS) programmes and study options.
BVS Online Information Sessions
The sessions are hosted by BVS Course Director, Professor Julie Browne. They are a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the BVS courses and The City Law School.
To register and access the chat, visit our online events page.