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  1. Postgraduate
  2. 2020
Study at City

Postgrad Diploma / LLM Bar Vocational Studies (Full-time and Part-time)

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Entry Year:
Complete the vocational stage of training for practice at the Bar of England and Wales by undertaking a course which will offer you flexible options to unlock your potential and transform your skills from the classroom to the court room.

Key information

Start date

September 2020

Academic year dates

Duration

Full-time: one year
Part-time: two years

Our full-time and part-time programme has three exit points:

PGDip in Bar Vocational Studies

Full-time: September – April

Part-time: September – April (two years)

PGDip in Bar Vocational Studies (with specialism)

Full-time: September – June

Part-time: September – June (two years)

LLM in Bar Vocational Studies (with specialism)

Full-time: September – September

Part-time: September to September (two years)

See more about duration

UK/EU

Full-time: Postgraduate Diploma: £16,500

PG Diploma with Specialism: £18,500

LLM Bar Vocational Studies (with specialism): £19,500

Part-time: Postgraduate Diploma: £8,250

PG Diploma with Specialism: £9,250

LLM Bar Vocational Studies (with specialism): £9,750

Non-EU

Full-time: Postgraduate Diploma: £16,500

PG Diploma with Specialism: £18,500

LLM Bar Vocational Studies (with specialism): £19,500

Part-time: Postgraduate Diploma: £8,250

PG Diploma with Specialism: £9,250

LLM Bar Vocational Studies (with specialism): £9,750

Application period

Applications are now closed

Campus

Northampton Square

Who is it for?

Designed to replace the BPTC, the Bar Vocational Studies (Full-time and Part-time) programme allows you to complete the vocational stage of training for the Bar of England and Wales. The course is particularly suitable for students who want to develop their skills as advocates, and those who want to research and apply the law to help clients in presenting legal cases in court.

The programme helps you build your skills and acquire knowledge through interaction with professionals and peers. The course follows the standard academic timeline, which fits with pupillage recruitment and allows extended work placements during the summer break.

If you choose to study part-time your classes will take place one day per week, over two years, allowing you to work whilst you study.

This is the best option for you, if a regular class structure helps you achieve your goals and if you benefit from face-to-face learning. You will also receive support in small study groups.

Bar Vocational Studies programmes also available:

Bar Vocational Studies (Two-part)

See also: Bar Training at City

Objectives

We have combined our extensive expertise in teaching, research and course design with our real-world knowledge of legal practice today to bring you courses that are modern and innovative in their use of technology and teaching methods. Our suite of Bar courses also allows you to tailor a course to your interests and needs through our wide range of elective modules in specialist practice areas and our Dissertation module and (for full-time students only) our Clinical Legal Education module.

The Bar Vocational Studies (Full-time and Part-time) Programme is a rigorous course designed to reflect the modern working Bar. We aim to replicate life in chambers, so you learn how to represent a range of clients and to prepare for the demands of a career at the Bar.

We have an impressive record of students gaining pupillage and they are strongly supported by our award-winning Pupillage Advice Service (PAS) which has close links to the Bar.

You will have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of pro bono opportunities and this can include choosing a pro-bono module as part of your studies.

The know-how and experience of our staff, as practitioners and educators, ensures that our students get a high-quality education, supported by regular contact with personal tutors.

You will be based in the new, purpose-built home of The City Law School, with modern and outstanding facilities, including an extensive, specialist law library. Your classes will be taught in rooms specifically designed to accommodate Bar training, and you will have access to a new modern Moot Courtroom, with video link technology.

Whilst the programme is designed to allow you to complete the vocational stage of training for the Bar of England and Wales, it also enables students from jurisdictions outside the UK to acquire the skills required for pupillage at the Bar of England and Wales, thereby assisting them to undertake further training or practice in their home jurisdiction.

This course can be studied full-time over one academic year or part-time over two academic years, and you have a choice of three different routes:

  • Postgraduate Diploma in Bar Vocational Studies
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Bar Vocational Studies (with specialism)
  • LLM in Bar Vocational Studies (with specialism)

If you study part-time, you will cover the same material as those who are studying full-time, but the learning is spread over two years with teaching on one day per week during term-time.

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.

Award

You will have a choice of three different awards:

Postgraduate Diploma in Bar Vocational Studies

  • This is the compulsory vocational qualification required to be eligible for Call to the Bar of England and Wales.
  • There are modules in Advocacy, Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Criminal Litigation, Evidence and Sentencing, Professional Ethics, Opinion Writing, Legal Research, Drafting and Conference Skills.
  • This course runs from September to April

Postgraduate Diploma in Bar Vocational Studies (with specialism)

  • This is the compulsory vocational component plus a Specialist Practice Component
  • You choose two elective modules from a Specialist Practice area of your choice.
  • Successfully complete the Specialist Practice Component, and you will be awarded a PGDip in Bar Vocational Studies with the relevant specialist area of practice you selected named in the award.
  • This award includes the qualification for Call to the Bar of England and Wales.

LLM in Bar Vocational Studies (with specialism)

In addition to the Vocational Component and the Specialist Practice Component, you can choose to complete either:

  • A practice-focussed dissertation, or a clinical legal project with a real client
  • Completion of the dissertation or clinical legal project in addition to the vocational and specialist practice components, allows you to achieve a master’s degree.
  • This entitles you to the award of LLM in Bar Vocational Studies (with specialism).
  • This award includes the qualification for Call to the Bar of England and Wales and the Specialist Practice Component.

Requirements and how to apply

Entry requirements

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.

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 lawyer. It is taken before the Bar Vocational Studies Course, and is a pre-condition to starting 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 the final opportunity to take the test before the full-time course is usually in late August and 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 Bar Vocational Studies Course must also apply for membership of one of the four Inns of Court by the last working day of May. The Inns of Court have well-established scholarship schemes, with closing dates on the first Friday in November of the year preceding study. These deadlines 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
  • TOEFL IBT Special Home Edition – with minimum scores of 24 in Listening, 26 in Reading, 27 in Speaking and 26 in Writing

If you are completing your qualifying law degree overseas (even if at a UK university) you will need to provide IELTS, Pearson or TOEFL 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

International Students (EEA and Non EEA) coming to study in the UK, 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:

  • EEA nationals joining the programme in 2020 and EEA nationals joining from January 2021
  • 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 2020 are now closed.

Applications can be made via the University’s online postgraduate application system. Applications will open in autumn each year.

You will be asked to confirm which route you wish to undertake as part of your application. 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

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 are 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.

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.

UK Postgraduate Loans

UK students who choose to take the LLM in Bar Vocational Studies with specialism will be eligible for the government’s Postgraduate Loan (subject to meeting the personal conditions). The Post Graduate Diploma routes (Bar Vocational Studies or the Bar Vocational Studies with specialism) alone are not eligible for this funding. Students who obtain such a loan will need to complete the full LLM programme (they will not be able to switch to the PGDip route) or they may breach the terms of their loan agreement.

Disclosure for US students

As part of US Loan regulations, City is 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

Scholarships

The City Law School Scholarships

The City Law School is firmly committed to a generous programme of scholarships awarded on the basis of academic excellence. Our scholarships range in value and include both partial and full fee waiver awards.

Find out more about other scholarships offered to City Law School Students.

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.

We offer two clinical (pro bono) based options, if you undertake the Postgraduate Diploma with Specialism or LLM routes. Additionally, if you choose the LLM route and are studying full-time you will have the option of undertaking a clinical legal project based on supervised clinical legal 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.

Ask a student

Chat to our current students and read their blogs to gain an insight into studying at City and learn more about our undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Course content and assessment

To make sure that you can begin or continue your studies with us during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have reviewed and adapted our courses to ensure a safe learning environment for our students and staff. We have modified the way some of our courses are delivered, with many programmes being made available online.

Contact us to find out more about how our programmes will be delivered.

Teaching and learning

Teaching

Our programmes are delivered by practitioners with extensive experience of designing and delivering training for the Bar. You will benefit from a supportive environment with you at its heart. You will have all the advantages of studying at a University, a dedicated personal tutor, and develop independent study skills. Our teaching staff are professionally qualified experts and internationally renowned authors, who are specialists in their fields, all offering you access to an extensive range of expertise.

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

Assessment

Postgraduate Diploma in Bar Vocational Studies

The Vocational Component is assessed by 11 summative (final) assessments, each of which is designed to suit the skill or subject being assessed.

Eight of the 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 duration
  • 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 2.5 hours comprising 50 multiple choice and single best answer questions

The remaining assessments are centrally set and marked by the Bar Standards Board. This means that all students studying the Vocational Component at the various Authorised Education and Training Providers throughout the country do the same assessment at the same time. These are the assessments in:-

  • Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution - one assessment in two parts, sat on separate days. Part 1 will be a closed book examination comprising multiple choice and single best answer questions and Part 2 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 2 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 electives (students on the PGDip with specialism or LLM routes only)

The elective modules (other than for the two “clinical” electives described below) will be assessed in the context of a professional skill such as opinion writing, drafting, conference skills, negotiation or mediation advocacy skills or written or oral advocacy. You will be given your papers some days in advance of the hand-in date. You will be expected to work on your own, do the necessary legal research, and complete the required work.

Two of the electives, the “Clinical Options” (namely  Free Representation Unit (Employment Law) and Free Representation Unit (Social Security)) are real client pro bono options. The assessments for these options take the form of files you produce detailing the work you have done for your clients. These electives include required training provided by or in conjunction with the relevant pro bono organisation, which starts in the first term of the programme. Numbers taking these options are limited and you may be required to pass a test in order to undertake the option.

The Dissertation/CLE project

If you choose to complete the LLM you will also be required to complete either a 30 credit research based dissertation (7,500-10,000 words in length) or (for full-time students only) a clinical legal project based on supervised clinical legal work undertaken with one of our partner organisations.

Modules

There are 3 different exit routes to this course therefore you will have a choice of 3 different awards:

Postgraduate Diploma in Bar Vocational Studies

The teaching year runs from September to April. If you choose to study full-time you will have your classes timetabled over 3 days in a normal week, allowing two clear days for preparation and professional development.  If you choose to study part-time your classes will take place on one day a week and you will be able to express a preference as to which day.

During this time, you will study and take assessments in the compulsory modules.

Knowledge subjects are based around complex factual and authentic case studies or problem questions and we use our wealth of experience to provide you with extensive revision resources, including a bank of multiple choice questions to prepare you effectively for the centrally-set assessments.

Skills classes are based around authentic simulated case papers which reflect issues you will encounter in practice at the Bar.

Classes are supported by a range of materials, including practitioner texts and a series of skills and subject manuals which are written by senior members of staff and members of the practising Bar, and which are published by Oxford University Press. These manuals have been widely recognised as leading and innovative texts on teaching legal skills

Each module is carefully structured and broken down into discrete learning units, with carefully designed online and accessible resources designed to give you as much flexibility as possible in relation to when, where and how you learn. These resources typically include video, audio, graphical and text-based resources, and they will enable you to master the basic elements of each topic or skill, test your knowledge and understanding and prepare effectively for classes.

You will have face-to-face teaching in small group classes (normally in groups of 6 or 12), workshops (normally in groups of 24) and some one-to-one feedback sessions.

For those studying full-time there is typically around 10 to 12 hours of face-to-face teaching each week and asynchronous online teaching of around 4 to 6 hours per week. You will also be expected to do about 25 hours of personal study each week, engaging in reading and research, online activities, writing opinions and drafts and preparing for classes. Part-time students will have 4-6 hours of face-to-face teaching each week and will be required to do 12-15 hours personal study. Most classes are timetabled between 9am and 6pm.

Postgraduate Diploma in Bar Vocational Studies (with specialism)

  • Make your CV even more impressive by completing a Specialist Practice Component made up of two elective modules in addition to the compulsory vocational qualification.
  • Taught over seven weeks from May to June after the compulsory Vocational Component has concluded.(Part-time students take the electives at the end of their second year.)
  • Choose from an exciting range of specialisms, such as International Dispute Resolution or Corporate Law and Practice.*
  • The relevant specialist area of practice will be named in the award you receive.

*The range of options offered in any one year is subject to availability and demand.

This is your opportunity to create a specialist niche for yourself and tailor your CV to a national or international audience.

If you choose the PG Dip (with specialism) route, you will be required to complete two additional elective modules.

Although the electives will enable you to develop a critical understanding of the law and demonstrate high-quality legal research skills, the focus will be on developing in the context of that specialist area of practice your professional legal skills and competences that you gained in the core modules.

You will undertake the elective modules between the end of April and early June. During this period, you will have face-to-face classes of approximately 4 to 6 hours per week and asynchronous online activities of around 4 hours per week which are designed to assist you to gain the relevant knowledge for the classes and to prepare for them effectively. You will also be expected to do about 15 hours of private study per week researching, reading and preparing for classes. Part-time students should note that their teaching may be spread over two half days rather than a single day during this period, in order to accommodate the range of subjects available.

The classes will be a combination of workshops (approximately 24 students) and small groups (approximately 12 students). Most teaching will take place in small groups.

LLM in Bar Vocational Studies (with specialism)

  • Turn your qualification into a full Master’s degree.
  • Students who take this option will be eligible for the government’s Postgraduate Loan (subject to meeting the personal conditions).
  • n addition to the Vocational Component and the Specialist Practice Component, complete an additional practice-focussed dissertation or (for full-time students only) a clinical legal education project (based on supervised clinical legal work).
  • Build on the skills and knowledge developed during the taught modules to gain real expertise in a particular area or enhance your skills by putting them into practice while gaining real-world experience.
  • You will have one-to-one supervision sessions from a supervisor selected for you from a specialist team and full training for the clinical project.

The dissertation module will support you further in achieving high standards in entering the legal profession. As is appropriate at this level, there is a strong emphasis on independent work in carrying out research, analysis and writing up.

If you choose the LLM route, in addition to the Vocational and Specialist Practice Components, you will be required to complete a practice-focussed dissertation or (full-time students only) a clinical legal work project.

You will need to undertake work on your dissertation or clinical legal work project throughout the academic year and will submit the assessment in September.

Please see module list below for each award:

PG Diploma in Bar Vocational Studies - modules

To be certified as completing the Vocational Component and be awarded the Postgraduate Diploma you will be required to complete 10 compulsory modules described below.

  • Advocacy: Cross Examination (10 credits)
  • Advocacy: Examination in Chief (10 credits)
  • Advocacy: Submissions (10 credits)
  • Civil Litigation & Dispute Resolution (20 credits)
  • Conference Skills (10 credits)
  • Criminal Litigation, Evidence & Sentencing (15 credits)
  • Drafting Skills (15 credits)
  • Professional Ethics (10 credits)
  • Opinion Writing (15 credits)
  • Legal Research (5 credits)

PG Diploma in Bar Vocational Studies - with specialism modules

If you choose to complete the LLM or PG Dip (with specialism) you will need to complete two additional electives that are drawn from the following specialist areas of practice. Please note that specialisms/modules will only run if sufficient numbers of students choose them. Where there are a number of electives within a specialism, you may only select two electives. Please also note that you may only undertake one clinical module, indicated with an * in the list below.

Advanced Advocacy Skills

  • Advanced Criminal Advocacy (15 credits)
  • Advanced Civil Advocacy (15 credits)
  • Family Law (15 credits)
  • Free Representation Unit: Employment* (15 credits)
  • Free Representation Unit: Social Security* (15 credits)

Advanced Criminal Practice

  • Crown Court Practice (15 credits)
  • Fraud & Economic Crime (15 credits)
  • Advanced Criminal Advocacy (15 credits)

Corporate Law and Practice

  • Company & Insolvency (15 credits)
  • Fraud & Economic Crime (15 credits)

Employment Law and Practice

  • Employment Law & Practice (15 credits)
  • Employment Tribunal Advocacy & Practice (15 credits)
  • Free Representation Unit: Employment* (15 credits)

International Dispute Resolution

  • International Commercial Arbitration (15 credits)
  • International ADR (15 credits)

International Commercial Trade and Dispute Resolution

  • International Commercial Trade (15 credits)
  • International Commercial Arbitration (15 credits)

Advanced Civil Practice

  • Clinical & Professional Negligence (15 credits)
  • Advanced Civil Advocacy (15 credits)
  • Family Law (15 credits)

Social Justice and Public Law

  • Mental Capacity & the Court of Protection (15 credits)
  • Judicial Review (15 credits)
  • Employment Law & Practice (15 credits)
  • Free Representation Unit: Employment* (15 credits)
  • Free Representation Unit: Social Security* (15 credits

LLM in Bar Vocational Studies (with specialism) - Dissertation/Clinical Legal Education Component (LLM)

In addition to the two electives, you will be required to complete a dissertation or (if studying full-time) the clinical legal education project. You are not required to complete the other components successfully before progressing to the dissertation or clinical legal education project.

The Dissertation (Research Project) (30 credits)

The research project is the research, analysis and the writing up of a 10,000 word dissertation.

If you choose the dissertation, you will need to do research and preparatory work for your research project alongside the taught part of the course. This will mean an additional work requirement of around 70-100 hours between September and May although most of the work will be undertaken between June - August. Part-time students will spread the work on the dissertation across the two years of the course.

You will receive group and one-to-one supervision on your dissertation. We provide you with a clear structure for supervision,and there is a clear timeline. You will be expected to submit your dissertation in September following the end of teaching. Please note that empirical research will not be possible on the dissertation module.

Undertaking a research project will show employers that you have a commitment to a practice area, that you can work alone, that you can manage a project, that you can juggle more than one task and that you have excellent legal research skills. It will develop the skills you are learning on the BVS and allow you to focus on an area of interest and develop expertise.

The Clinical Legal Education project (30 credits) – full-time students only

The Clinical Legal Education Project is an opportunity to work with a professional partner, undertaking clinical legal work and writing a 10,000 word reflective and analytical project on your experience and development.   This is a unique opportunity to develop clinical legal skills, which chambers will be looking for when you apply for Pupillage. If you are selected for a project on the CLE, you may be representing clients at tribunals, taking witness statements or giving advice in Law Centres, with the support and guidance of a dedicated supervisor. You will work in an area of Clinical Legal Education activity with which the City Law School has established links

This option allows you to complete an analytical report reflecting on your supervised Clinical Legal Education work.

Work for this module will be expected to take around 300 hours, which will be a combination of training, volunteering, supervision, court or tribunal visits and the writing of your analytical report. The proportion of time on each area may vary.

Should you choose to take the Clinical Legal Education project, you will be required to volunteer during the taught element of the course. There may be a regular client-based day-time commitment for all or part of the course.

Some of the volunteering element of the work will be undertaken in the summer period after the taught part of the course finishes. You will also independently write the analytical report of your work and this will include some independent research on the relevant area of law.

The learning and teaching requirements will vary depending on the project you are undertaking but will include training through online resources and materials and the support of a supervisor during your work and in relation to completion of your analytical report. You will be required to submit the analytical report in September.

We work with Reprieve, Appeal, The Free Representation Unit and others.

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

Recommended reading

You are advised to refresh your knowledge of crime, contract and tort and the essentials of land law. In addition we advise you to read a book on evidence in advance of registration because it is one of the most technical aspects of the course.

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    There is wide range of opportunities on offer to Bar students. I was invited to a Residential Weekend by The Honourable Society of Inner Temple.
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After you graduate

Career prospects

The Postgraduate Diploma in Bar Vocational Studies (Vocational Component)

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.

Postgraduate Diploma in Bar Vocational Studies (with specialism)

Study of a specialist area of practice will demonstrate that you have developed your understanding of particular aspects of the work of a barrister, and gained insights into specialist practice. This should provide a useful addition to your CV.

LLM (with specialism)

You will find completing the LLM of help to you in a number of different careers. The focus on a particular area of legal practice will stand you in good stead to apply for pupillage or employment in that particular field. The fact that you have undertaken independent research and written a 7,500 – 10,000 word dissertation or undertaken a clinical legal research project based on clinical legal experience will be evidence of significant additional development of your legal skills. It may also provide you with the basis for later doctoral research and an academic career.

If you would like more information on the Careers support available at City, please go to our careers page.

Application Deadline


Applications for 2020 are now closed.

Applications can be made via the University’s online postgraduate application system. Applications will open in autumn each year.

You will be asked to confirm which route you wish to undertake as part of your application. 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

Contact details

The City Law School Programmes Office

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