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Politics & Law Series: Announcements

City Law School to deliver three Bar Vocational Studies programmes from September 2020

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has approved The City Law School as an Authorised Education and Training Organisation (AETO) for the provision of vocational training for the Bar.
by John Stevenson (Senior Communications Officer)

The City Law School has been given unconditional authorisation by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) to offer three different Bar Vocational Studies programmes from the 2020/2021 academic year.

The new programmes will replace the current Bar Professional Training programme (BPTC), and each programme provides the Vocational Component of training required for students to be called to the Bar. 

Authorised courses

Under the new Bar Qualification Rules which came into force earlier this year, all Bar training providers are required to apply to the BSB for authorisation in order to provide Bar training. 
The City Law School has become an Authorised Education and Training Organisation (AETO) for the provision of vocational training for the Bar, subject to their entering into a contract with the BSB, as all AETOs must do, in relation to the provision of the authorised courses.

The City Law School’s new programmes are:

  • A one-year full-time programme which gives students a choice of three routes, each separately priced and each leading to a different award: (i) the Bar Vocational Studies Postgraduate Diploma route, comprising the Vocational Component; (ii) the Postgraduate Diploma (with specialism) route, comprising the Vocational Component and two elective modules in a specialist area of practice; and (iii) the LLM in Bar Vocational Studies route, comprising the Vocational Component and the specialist practice electives, together with the completion of a dissertation or a Clinical Legal Education (‘live client’) Project;
  • A two-year part-time programme, requiring attendance one day each fortnight during term-time, leading to the Postgraduate Diploma which comprises the Vocational Component, the Postgraduate Diploma (with specialism), or (by completing a dissertation) the LLM in Bar Vocational Studies;
  • A Two-Part Bar Vocational Studies programme, consisting only of the Vocational Component required to be eligible for Call to the Bar. In Part One, students will study for the two centrally-set examinations (Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution; and Criminal Litigation, Evidence and Sentencing); Part One will be delivered entirely online. Part Two consists of the remaining modules in the Vocational Component. This will be taught in the same way as our full-time and part-time programmes. Parts One and Two will both have two entry points in each academic year; Part Two entry points have been chosen so that students can obtain the results of the centrally-set examinations before starting Part Two.

Professor Peter Hungerford-Welch, Assistant Dean and Head of Professional Programmes, said:

“City, University of London has a proud tradition of commitment to academic excellence for business and the professions, and Bar training is an important part of the portfolio of the City Law School. Staff from the School designed the original Bar Vocational Course in 1989, and are proud to be designing new training programmes to equip students with the skills and knowledge they need to be Barristers”.


Director of Future Bar Training at the City Law School, Associate Professor Julie Browne, said:

All three programmes will make best use of technology-enhanced learning and have been designed following consultation with a range of stakeholders including practitioners, students and alumni, educational technology specialists and instructional designers. The suite of programmes offers students more variety in content, structure, pricing and modes of study than the current BPTC, so that they can choose the programme which best suits their needs.

The process of authorisation for any potential AETO involves consideration by a BSB panel of detailed information provided by the AETO against the requirements of the Authorisation Framework. 

Details of all those who are currently in the process of seeking authorisation to provide vocational training are also published on the regulator’s website.

A BSB spokesperson said:

“We are pleased to confirm that The City Law School, City, University of London, has met the requirements to become an Authorised and Education Training Organisation. Following recent authorisation announcements, there are still a number of other potential training providers in the process of seeking authorisation from us, so we hope that there will be lots of choice available when new courses begin in 2020.”

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