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  1. Postgraduate
    1. 2020
Study at City

Postgrad Diploma Bar Vocational Studies (Two-part)

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Entry Year:
The City Law School has created a two-part course to allow you greater flexibility in the way you qualify for Call to the Bar of England and Wales.

Key information

Start date

July 2020 or March 2021 (Part One)
February 2021 or September 2021 (Part Two)

Academic year dates

Duration

Part One:

July registration: July - December
March registration: March - August

Part Two:

February registration: February – June
September registration: September - January

UK/EU

Full-time: £14,000 (£2,500 (Part One only - online); £11,500 (Part Two only)

Non-EU

Full-time: £14,000 (£2,500 (Part One only - online); £11,500 (Part Two only)

Application period

From Mid/late Autumn (expected)

Campus

Northampton Square

Who is it for?

This two-part programme option is designed for students who want to complete the vocational stage of training for the Bar, including the skills modules in the shortest time possible. This programme is best suited for students who are self-motivated and disciplined in their approach to their studies, have stamina, are able to perform well under tight time pressures. You will be confident in own ability to study for knowledge examinations with the assistance of a carefully designed online course but with no face-to-face classroom teaching.

Bar Vocational Studies programmes also available:

Objectives

Part One is an online course which has been carefully designed to enable you to study in your own time from any location and at times which suit you, but with the support of an experienced team of tutors. The focus is on the centrally-assessed modules of Civil Litigation, Evidence and Dispute Resolution, and Criminal Litigation, Evidence and Sentencing via our easy to use virtual learning platform.

Part Two brings you back to the classroom to transform your skills in the remaining compulsory modules required for Call to the Bar.

Accreditation

The Vocational Component is accredited by the Bar Standards Board.  The BSB sets out the education and training requirements for becoming a barrister, which means once you graduate, and provided you complete the Inns qualifying sessions, you are qualified for Call to the Bar.

Requirements and how to apply

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for Part One:

The minimum entry requirement is an undergraduate degree classified as not less than a lower-second class honours (2:2) or equivalent. This can be either a law degree or a non-law degree plus further graduate/postgraduate study in Law and in either case must cover the seven foundations of legal knowledge and satisfy the Professional Statement competence

The Bar Standards Board can advise on non-standard qualifications.

For admission to Part Two:

In addition to the entry requirements for Part One, you must have been accepted as a member of one of the Inns of Court by the time of registration on Part Two.

If you have successfully completed Part One at another institution you may apply for Part Two only. You will be required to provide evidence of having passed Part One as a condition of entry.

You do not need to have passed Part One in order to start Part Two.

Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT)

The Bar Course Aptitude Test is designed to assess your critical reasoning skills, which are an essential attribute to success as a barrister. It is taken before the Bar Vocational Studies programme, and is a pre-condition to starting on the course.

It is administered by the Bar Standards Board. Details of the opening and closing dates of the test are set by the Bar Standards Board and vary from year to year but please note that you must have passed it in order to start the course. Places to take the test also fill up so it is important to register to take it as early as possible.

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

Inn membership

Applicants to the Two-part Course must also apply for membership of one of the four Inns of Court prior to registration for Part Two. The Inns of Court have well-established scholarship schemes, with closing dates on the first Friday in November of the year preceding study. The deadlines for membership of the Inn and scholarships may be subject to change.

For further details please check the website of the Inn you wish to join.

English requirements

Applicants need to be able to demonstrate that their oral and written English ability is equivalent to at least one of the following:

  • IELTS: A minimum score of 7.5 in each section of the test.
  • Pearson Test of English: A minimum score of 73 in each part of the test.

If you are completing your qualifying law degree overseas (even if at a UK university) you will need to provide IELTS or Pearson results meeting the minimum scores required by the Bar Standards Board as proof of English language proficiency. If you are made an offer further details will be provided.

Visa requirements

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 six months
  • Students on courses of less than six months
  • Students on a pre-sessional English language course.

For more information see our main Visa page.

How to apply

Applications for this course are expected to open in late autumn 2019. Applications can be made via the University’s online postgraduate application system.

You will be asked to confirm whether you wish to take Parts 1 & 2, Part 1 only or Part 2 only as part of your application and when you wish to start each Part. However, it will be possible to change this when you accept your offer.

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 skills/experience
  • Commitment to the practice of the law
  • References.
  • English language proficiency

In addition to your written application and references, you may be asked to take part in an additional selection exercise.  Applications will be considered on a rolling basis throughout the year. We will consider applications either until the programme is full or until one month before the programme start date. If you require a Tier 4 (Student) Visa we would advise an earlier application to ensure you have sufficient time to obtain your visa.

In most cases we expect to be able to notify you of a decision within two weeks of references being submitted, and without the need to undertake a selection exercise.  A decision will only be taken upon receipt of references.

Please also note that scholarship applications will be considered on a rolling basis so you are encouraged to apply early to maximise your chances of obtaining one.

If you have any enquiries please contact The City Law School Programmes Office:

Tel.: +44 (0)20 7040 0332
Email: bvs@city.ac.uk

Apply for Part 1 only starting in July or Part 1 starting in July followed by Part 2

Apply for Part 1 only starting in March or Part 1 starting in March followed by Part 2

Apply for Part 2 only starting in February

Apply for Part 2 only starting in September

Highly Experienced
The confidence of studying a course that is delivered by practitioners with extensive experience of designing and delivering training for the Bar.
Pupillage Support
A Pupillage Advisory Service with an excellent track record of students gaining pupillage.
Established Success
Proven success in supporting students to successfully complete the centrally set assessments
During your course

More about fees

* Fees in each subsequent year of study (where applicable) will be subject to an annual increase of 2%. We will confirm any change to the annual tuition fee to you in writing prior to you commencing each subsequent year of study (where applicable).

What your fee includes

Fees are inclusive of:

  • Course deposit
  • Bar Standards Board fee
  • Textbooks, including: practitioner books in civil practice and criminal practice, and The City Law School BVS manuals.

You should consider the possible additional fees associated with the BVS:

  • Bar Course Aptitude Test – currently £150 to take the test within the UK/EU or £170 outside
  • Fee to join an Inn – this varies across Inns but is approximately £100
  • IELTS fee for those who are required to take the test – this is usually charged in local currency
  • Visa fees for those who require a visa.

Please note that there is an additional fee for assessment resits.

Ours is ethical Bar Vocational Studies Programmes: no fees are due until registration on your course, and there is a cooling off period until 31st October with full refund (less £400 deposit).

Funding

Explore up-to-date information about funding options, available financial support and typical living costs.

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 you are studying.

The City Law School Scholarships and Bursaries

We have a substantial scholarship programme including up to 10 full-fee scholarships and up to 100 partial fee scholarships (fee reductions) awarded on the basis of academic merit annually. These are available to those students who choose to complete both Parts 1 & 2 at City, University of London.  For this programme partial fee scholarships will take the form of a £3000 fee reduction from the Part 2 fee. We also have a generous programme of bursaries awarded on the basis of financial need

10% Loyalty Discount

If you have already completed a course at The City Law School you will be eligible for the 10% loyalty discount. All you need to do is meet the minimum entry requirements for your second course and we will automatically take 10% off of your tuition fees.

This can be received in addition to a scholarship.

Find out more about the scholarships offered by the City Law School.

Placements

Placements are not a part of the programme, but we encourage you to spend time in chambers doing mini-pupillages. We also encourage you to participate in Pro Bono work and get involved in Mooting.

Pro Bono is an opportunity to use your time and knowledge to provide legal advice to those who may otherwise not have access to such services. It provides you with invaluable experience and a chance to develop your legal skills further. We have an award-winning Pro Bono Unit, which offers you a wide range of opportunities to get involved in Pro Bono work.

Mooting is a great way to develop important legal skills such as research and analysis whilst also learning how to structure a legal argument. At The City Law School, we offer wide range of mooting competitions and run an annual internal mooting competition where students act as a counsel to argue a point of law before a judge.

There is also an exciting programme of additional lectures given by senior members of the legal profession, and other opportunities to network with practitioners.

Academic facilities

Our students have access to City’s extensive library and IT Facilities (including a dedicated law library), accommodation (including three dedicated Postgraduate Halls of Residence), health care and counselling, sport and leisure facilities; you also have access to some of the facilities of the University of London.

The Bar Vocational Studies programmes will be taught in our brand new facilities in Sebastian Street, Northampton Square Campus, from September 2020.

The City Law School has its own dedicated administration team and its own online legal resource portal - Lawbore.

Your course fee also includes copies of the textbooks used on the course. These include:

  • Practitioner books in civil practice and criminal practice
  • Textbooks in civil procedure, evidence and alternative dispute resolution

Accommodation

We offer a variety of accommodation options and support services for postgraduate students.

Read more about our postgraduate halls.

Our Accommodation Service can also help you find private accommodation.

Find out more about private accommodation.

Learn a language for free

We offer a free language course for City, University of London students.

Find out how to apply

Timetables

Course timetables are normally available from July and can be accessed from our timetabling pages. These pages also provide timetables for the current academic year, though this information should be viewed as indicative and details may vary from year to year.

View academic timetables

Please note that all academic timetables are subject to change.

Student support

We offer an extensive support network during your time here at City, University of London – from Learning Support (including disability support) and counselling to financial and career advice – leaving you free to enjoy every opportunity campus life has to offer.

Find out more about the different types of student support available.

Course content and assessment

Teaching and learning

Teaching

The Bar Vocational Studies Two-part programme is delivered by practitioners with experience of delivering and designing training for the Bar, they are qualified experts who are specialists in their fields and with a wide range of expertise. Teaching for the course takes the following format:

Part One is taught wholly online using an innovative, interactive virtual learning platform that includes: test banks of questions with feedback, a module progress tracker, a discussion board, learning activities, and live tutor support.

Part Two is an exciting blend of interactive face-to-face small groups and workshops and online resources.

Assessment

The programme is assessed by 10 summative (final) assessments, each of which is designed to suit the skill or subject being assessed.

Please note that it is not necessary to pass Part One (Centrally-Set Assessments) in order to progress to Part Two (Remaining assessments), although you may choose not to progress to Part Two until you have successfully passed Part One.

Activities

  • Interactive small groups and workshops
  • Online resources: video, audio, graphical and text based
  • One-to-one feedback sessions
  • Workshops and mock interviews with practising barristers and Pupillage Committees
  • One-to-one advice sessions with pupillage application experts
  • Practitioner panel events
  • Access to all The City Law School and City, University of London facilities
  • An exciting mooting calendar including international events
  • Option to type your unseen invigilated written skills assessment
  • Become a qualified mediator
  • Mock trials

Part One and the CEB examinations

  • Civil Litigation & Dispute Resolution - one assessment in two parts, sat on separate days. Part One will be a closed book examination comprising multiple choice and single best answer questions and Part Two will be an open book examination comprising multiple choice questions and single best answer questions and rolling case scenarios. All areas of the syllabus can be assessed in each part. You are permitted to bring a copy of the White Book into the Part Two assessment. Both parts of the assessment contribute to the whole, therefore you cannot bank a pass in one part because the two parts together form a single whole assessment.
  • Criminal Litigation, Sentencing and Evidence – one closed-book examination of three hours, comprising 75 multiple choice questions and single best answer questions.

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) will offer three sittings of these assessments in each academic year, namely in April, August and December (the dates in each academic year will be published by the BSB on their website). All of the remaining assessments take place in Part Two of the programme.

Part Two and the remaining assessments

The remaining eight assessments are set by The City Law School, with the papers being approved by an External Examiner appointed by the Bar Standards Board and The City Law School. These assessments are as follows:

  • Advocacy Examination-in-Chief – a recorded performance. You will be provided with your Brief before the assessment, and you will need to prepare as if you were dealing with the case in court. Actors will play the role of the witness.
  • Advocacy Cross-Examination – a recorded performance. You will be provided with your Brief before the assessment, and you will need to prepare as if you were dealing with the case in court. Actors will play the role of the witness.
  • Advocacy: Submissions – a recorded performance with a written element (the drafting of a skeleton argument). This assessment takes the form of a submission to a judge. You receive your Brief some days before the initial hand-in date, at which point you need to hand-in a written skeleton argument. Some days later you will have an appointment where you will make a time-limited submission to an assessor taking the part of the judge.
  • Opinion Writing – a seen written assessment.
  • Legal Research – a seen written assessment which uses the same papers as the Opinion Writing Assessment. You will be given one calendar week in which to complete the assessment, and both the Legal Research and the Opinion Writing components of the assessment must be submitted at the same time.
  • Drafting – a unseen written examination of 3.5 hours
  • Conference Skills – a recorded performance. The Conference Skills assessment takes the form of a time-limited filmed performance, with an actor taking the role of your client. You will be provided with your papers a number of days in advance of the assessment.
  • Professional Ethics – an unseen examination of 2 hours comprising 40 multiple choice and single best answer questions.

Modules

Part 1

In Part One, you will study Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution and Criminal Litigation, Sentencing and Evidence. These modules are taught online rather than by face-to-face teaching. You will be able to study for these modules in your own time, and at your own pace, and access them from any location.

Part 2

Part Two is a taught course, in which you will study and be assessed in the remaining eight compulsory modules

Part One (online)

You will study the following compulsory modules, the assessments for which are centrally-set by the Bar Standards Board:

  • Civil Litigation & Dispute Resolution
  • Criminal Litigation, Evidence and Sentencing

Part-two (taught)

  • Advocacy Cross Examination
  • Advocacy Examination in Chief
  • Advocacy: Submissions
  • Conference Skills
  • Drafting Skills
  • Professional Ethics
  • Opinion Writing
  • Legal Research

The programme specification contains more information on how the course is organised, the requirements for progression for each part and credits required for awards.

After you graduate

Career prospects

The primary purpose of the Vocational Component is to enable you to progress to pupillage and thereafter to a career as a Barrister. Competition for pupillages is intense.

Other possible careers might include:

  • Employed lawyers
  • Government Legal Service
  • Crown Prosecution Service
  • Local Government lawyers
  • Regulators
  • Transfer to the Solicitors' profession
  • Academic lawyers
  • Legal publishing
  • Finance industry and banking
  • Commerce and business

The City Law School runs an award-winning Pupillage Advisory Service which is staffed by members of the teaching team, with experience of pupillage selection. The service offers a wide range of opportunities, from CV advice, to panel events with speakers from a range of chambers and mock interviews.

Application Deadline


Applications for this course are expected to open in late autumn 2019. Applications can be made via the University’s online postgraduate application system.

You will be asked to confirm whether you wish to take Parts 1 & 2, Part 1 only or Part 2 only as part of your application and when you wish to start each Part. However, it will be possible to change this when you accept your offer.

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 skills/experience
  • Commitment to the practice of the law
  • References.
  • English language proficiency

In addition to your written application and references, you may be asked to take part in an additional selection exercise.  Applications will be considered on a rolling basis throughout the year. We will consider applications either until the programme is full or until one month before the programme start date. If you require a Tier 4 (Student) Visa we would advise an earlier application to ensure you have sufficient time to obtain your visa.

In most cases we expect to be able to notify you of a decision within two weeks of references being submitted, and without the need to undertake a selection exercise.  A decision will only be taken upon receipt of references.

Please also note that scholarship applications will be considered on a rolling basis so you are encouraged to apply early to maximise your chances of obtaining one.

If you have any enquiries please contact The City Law School Programmes Office:

Tel.: +44 (0)20 7040 0332
Email: bvs@city.ac.uk

Apply for Part 1 only starting in July or Part 1 starting in July followed by Part 2

Apply for Part 1 only starting in March or Part 1 starting in March followed by Part 2

Apply for Part 2 only starting in February

Apply for Part 2 only starting in September

Contact details

The City Law School Programmes Office

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