Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC)
If you’re set on becoming a barrister, BPP University College's Postgraduate Diploma in Bar Practice (BPTC) provides the best possible training. Thirty per cent more advocacy than the minimum Bar Standards Board requires, advocacy and conference sessions taught in groups of four, true-to-life mock trials and assessments, and the widest range of options of any provider. In addition, our Careers Service pulls out the stops to help you secure pupillage.
The Postgraduate Diploma in Bar Practice (BPTC) is awarded by BPP University College.
On successfully completing our BPTC, you'll be fully prepared for the demands of life as a barrister – and you'll be eligible to be called to the Bar of England and Wales (subject to meeting the dining requirements of your Inn of Court).
The legal profession can be demanding and being a barrister isn’t for everyone. It is recommended you read this important information issued by the Bar Standards Board for those wishing to study for the Bar of England and Wales.
- Small group sessions - all practical advocacy and conference sessions are taught in groups of 4
- Learn from experienced practitioners with a strong practical focus
- Practice your skills through mock trial and mooting events judged by members of the judiciary and practitioners
- Widest selection of options to choose from, more than any other provider
- Increase your knowledge with introductions to pupillage lectures and court visits , helping you target your applications to the most appropriate chambers for you
- Proactive careers support to give you the best possible chance of securing pupillage
- Gain vital work experience - by advising real clients through our award-winning Pro Bono Centre
- More advocacy – our programme includes 30% more advocacy teaching than required by the Bar Standards Board
- True-to-life assessments in advocacy and conference, using professional actors
- Value for money - all books and learning materials included in the fee
- Convert your BPP University College BPTC to a full BPP University College Masters degree by completing an additional 60 credits
- The Law Loan from Investec Bank is offered to both full-time and part-time BPTC students through their vocational training
World-class teaching with a highly practical focus
BPP University College's BPTC is a challenging and rewarding programme. The programme starts with an induction to the core nature of the profession and programme and legal research. You then study a number of compulsory modules that cover the key skills and knowledge areas required for the profession.
More details about the programme can be found in the programme specification handbook.
- Opinion Writing
- Criminal Litigation and Evidence
- Civil Litigation and Evidence
- Professional Ethics
- Resolution of Disputes out of Court
You will also need to choose two of the available eleven optional modules, depending on which areas of law you wish to specialise in. These include:
- Advanced Commercial Law
- Advanced Criminal Litigation
- Judicial Review
- International Trade
- Intellectual Property
- Public International Criminal Law
- Property and Chancery
- Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence
- Company Law
- Family Law
Please note that modules run subject to demand, therefore all modules may not run in all locations.
Closely linked to the profession
The focus of the Bar Professional Training Course is on practical experience and application, with particular emphasis placed on advocacy. Highly experienced tutors – some of whom are still practising or retain close links with the profession – run small group sessions that draw on real-life situations, and many of their own cases.
Innovative study tools
Learning materials include:
- online demonstrations
- suggested answers for written work
- live mock assessments with professional actors – for advocacy and conference
- DVD recordings to allow you to review your performance on a weekly basis
- Recorded revision lectures for all Civil and Criminal small group sessions
- The White Book and Blackstones Criminal Practice
Study dates and assessment
The full-time BPTC runs for a whole academic year – September to June. Alternatively, you can choose to study for the qualification part-time, one weekend per month, over two years.
For the full-time option, classes are held four days per week, with one day a week reserved for research and preparation. For the part-time option, there is a four-day induction programme followed by one weekend of classroom study per month.
You will be assessed by a combination of written and oral skills examinations throughout the year. For both full-time and part-time students most assessments will take place on weekdays.
At BPP University College students have the option to type their assessments as opposed to hand writing them.
Opportunity to gain a full Masters by studying an additional 60 credits
On completion of the BPP University College BPTC you will have gained 120 of the 180 credits required for a full Masters degree. We give you the opportunity to enhance your qualification by enabling you to study the remaining 60 credits with us. This means, depending on your subject choices, you can either graduate with a BPP University College awarded LLM (Professional Legal Practice) or MA (Law with Business).
Term dates 2013
The BPTC comprises an induction and a series of compulsory modules. You must also choose two of the optional modules – depending on the area you wish to specialise in. Our tutors and careers service can provide guidance if required.
The introductory lecture for each compulsory module includes an overview of the programme, details of the method of assessment and an introduction to key concepts.
The Professional Ethics module is designed to introduce you to the Code of Conduct of the Bar of England and Wales and to help you understand how it applies. By the end of the programme, you will be able to identify and address the sorts of common ethical problems that arise in practice.
Professional Ethics will be assessed by the Bar Standards Board in the same way as Civil Litigation and Criminal using a combination of multiple choice questions (MCQs) and short answer questions (SAQs).
This module covers Civil Litigation, Civil Evidence and Remedies. You will be provided with the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) which govern the conduct of the Civil Courts of England and Wales and supporting textbooks on procedure and evidence.
Some of the briefs used on the Civil module are also used later in the Advocacy and Written Skills modules, so you can put what you have learnt into practice. This module will be assessed centrally by the Bar Standards Board by means of multiple choice questions (MCQs) and short answer questions (SAQs).
Advocacy is the core skill for any barrister. In recognition of this our programme provides 30% more advocacy training than the minimum required by the Bar Standards Board.
The main areas covered by our Advocacy module are Applications, Submissions and Witness Handling. You will have the opportunity of practising and receiving feedback on your advocacy skills in weekly one and a half hour sessions. Each advocacy session will only have four students in the group.
Our advocacy sessions are designed to prepare you for the work of a barrister in practice and we have adopted an integrated approach to teaching this skill. For example, an advocacy exercise based on a witness handling case may be the same case you have studied elsewhere on the BPTC, such as in the Civil Litigation module. Your skills in advocacy will be developed in both civil and criminal cases.
Criminal Litigation, Evidence and Sentencing is taught through a series of weekly small group sessions with the aid of mock briefs and case studies. All aspects of criminal procedure are covered, ranging from arrest and charge through to appeals against conviction and sentence.
The admissibility of a different types of evidence is considered including confessions, hearsay, illegally obtained evidence and public interest immunity. By the end of the module you will be fully familiar with the practices and procedures involved in cases heard in the magistrates, youth and crown courts. This module is centrally assessed by the Bar Standards Board in the same way as Civil Litigation; by means of multiple choice questions (MCQs) and short answer questions (SAQs).
Drafting is an important skill for a barrister and is an essential part of the litigation process. At each stage of the litigation process both sides are required to set out their position in writing in formal court documents. These 'statements of case' or 'pleadings' will inform the issues to be decided at trial. Good drafting can make or break a case.
Your drafting skills will be developed progressively with the aim of enabling you to draft pleadings without relying on precedents. We aim to provide a strong foundation which can be built upon and developed in practice.
Opinion writing is an essential skill for any barrister. Opinions are the barrister's written advice on the best way to handle a case, prepared in response to instructions from a solicitor.
We adopt a very practical approach to developing opinion writing skills. The starting point for writing a good opinion is to have sound legal research skills which are developed throughout the BPTC. The opinion writing module will then develop your ability to present a legal opinion, based on your research, which is clear, balanced, and takes account of the strengths and weaknesses of the case for both sides.
Counsel are increasingly required to advise and assist their clients in order to resolve disputes out of court and avoid the costs, time and possible adverse publicity of a trial. Knowledge and understanding of mediation, negotiation and arbitration are fundamental for any barrister, irrespective of his or her specialisations.
These skills are particularly important to those practising at the commercial and family Bar. This module develops your knowledge and skills in a variety of contexts including contract, negligence and nuisance cases.
Legal research is an essential skill for lawyers and is necessary to succeed in all of your other modules. We provide small group sessions on the use of hard copy and electronic sources, and on case preparation.
This module is not compulsory and will not be assessed.
The aim of the module is to provide you with a general, basic overview of the main aspects of company law within a practical framework. We will prepare you for the kind of demands you might encounter once you enter pupillage and practice.
You will be assessed on your ability to write an opinion and, settle appropriate paperwork in a matter involving one or more company law issues.
This option is designed for those who are interested in private international trade law. The module is taught using realistic briefs and provides you with an insight into a number of areas of international trade law and the practices of the admiralty and commercial courts.
The module covers the following areas:
- International Sale of Goods – the contracts and terms found in sale contracts involving an international element
- Letters of Credit – the method of financing the sale contract and the obligations on the banks and parties
- Carriage of Goods by Sea – who has a right to sue the sea carrier of the goods, the obligations on the sea carrier of the goods and whether the sea carrier can sue anyone for their losses
- Jurisdiction and Law – in which country a claim can be brought and which law will be applied to the claim
- Arbitration – the procedures that apply to an arbitration of a claim
The module is designed to make you research and use case law, statute law and international conventions. It is taught in a practical way and requires students to think of commercial solutions to problems. Please note that International Trade is only available in London and is timetabled on weekdays.
This module is assessed by way of opinion.
This option covers chancery procedure, landlord and tenant disputes, mortgage possession proceedings, equitable remedies, property disputes, contentious probate, and trusts disputes. The module involves advocacy, advice and drafting for residential possession proceedings, and advice and/or drafting on the legislation protecting business tenants, disputes over restrictive covenants, rights of way and boundaries, the challenging of a will, the interpretation of a trust and a claim for breach of trust.
This module is suitable for those students who are interested in going into traditional property-based chancery sets, or sets specialising in landlord, tenant and broader property law.
This module is assessed by way of opinion.
In this module you will study areas of IP law you are most likely to come across in practice. Copyright looks at the protection of artistic works, from the traditional books, paintings and sculptures, to the more contemporary films, sound recordings, computer software and web sites. Trademarks law is about the protection of business reputations through the use of brands and logos. Passing off is an alternative way of protecting business reputations, and breach of confidence looks at privacy and confidentiality in UK law.
Classroom activities include running conferences and advising a client biographer, negotiating a business settlement regarding trademark infringement, making an application for an interim injunction in court, and drafting opinions advising on tricky issues of IP law.
This module is assessed by way of opinion.
The personal injury and clinical negligence option covers the essential areas for a pupil embarking on personal injury practice at the Bar. It looks in detail at road traffic accidents, trips and slips and accidents at work. This is both in terms of ordinary claims and those by dependants in respect of fatal accidents such as death from asbestosis, as considered by the House of Lords in Fairchild v Glenhaven Funeral Services. The intricacies of quantum and assessing future losses using Ogden tables are considered in detail. The module is also an introduction to clinical negligence including understanding medical jargon and the difficulties of proving causation.
The aim of this module is to provide you with a general overview of the main aspects of Employment Law within a practical framework, which will prepare you for the kind of demands you might encounter once you enter pupillage and practice.
We cover key aspects of employment law including wrongful dismissal, unfair dismissal, redundancy and discrimination. The focus is on giving practical advice to your client and the assessment is by way of a conference with a professional actor playing the client.
Family law is a dynamic area with constant changes either through statute or case law. The BPTC Family Law option focuses on Ancillary Relief – the financial provision parties receive on divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership.
We examine how the courts approach financial relief and how to settle at a reasonable level. The module also looks at domestic violence in a practical context, how to gain an injunction and how to draft orders and undertakings. We also deal with private and public child law through conference and drafting of consent orders reached by agreement between the parties.
This is a practical module aimed at putting a student in a position where they can start their pupillage with a good grounding in the law. It will also give you the tools you will regularly need at the junior Bar.
This option provides you with an opportunity to tackle a range of public law and human rights cases – and deal with the practical and legal issues which arise. The subject matter is fairly wide with a bias towards homelessness and social welfare law. Areas of law covered include prison law; homelessness; and the law affecting refugees and their entitlement to support.
The assessment takes the form of a brief and instructions to counsel, requiring you to draft grounds and the accompanying claim form in a judicial review case.
The Criminal Courts are amongst the fastest moving courts in the country and Criminal Barristers are expected to be fully prepared and efficient at every turn.
This module is designed to introduce you to a representative sample of the hearings and applications you might find yourself dealing with in your second six months of pupillage and the first few years of practice. Over the course of lectures and corresponding small group sessions, you could (for example) fight for Public Interest Immunity in a drugs case, argue for an abuse of process, defend an ASBO or attempt to exclude unfairly obtained evidence.
The emphasis is on the practical application of the law, and the assessment reflects this with advocacy and conference.
The BPP University College Postgraduate Diploma in Bar Practice (BPTC) entry requirements are:
- Qualifying Law Degree or non Law Degree plus CPE/GDL (minimum 2:2)
- Membership of an Inn of Court
- Pass the BCAT
a. a minimum score of 7.5 in each section of the IELTS academic test;
b. a minimum score of 28 in each part of the internet based TOEFL test; or
c. a minimum score of 73 in each part of the Pearson Test of English (academic)
On entry to the programme students will be required to sign a statement that they are aware that this standard is required of all students who enter the BPTC, and that they consider that they have met it. For those with any doubt as to the level of their English skills, they are strongly advised to undertake one of the above tests before enrolling on the programme.
Certificates issued by a test provider verifying the score achieved by a candidate in one of the above tests must be current and valid by reference to the rules of that test provider as at the date the candidate commences the BPTC.
Subsequent to being admitted to the BPTC, should BPP University College consider that a student's language ability is unsatisfactory or there is question as to whether any aspect of it is at the required level, it will require the student to take one of the above language tests at any stage in the course (at the student’s cost) and achieve the required score. This right is unrestricted regardless of the students’ first language.
Should the student then fail to achieve a required minimum score in one of the tests specified above, BPP University College may require the student to:
a. withdraw from the programme; or
b. intermit and improve their score prior to being re-admitted in a subsequent year. This will be dependent on how much of the programme has been undertaken.
In all cases the student is wholly liable for any costs incurred.
The Bar Standards Board believes that compliance with one of the standards identified above is the absolute minimum necessary to successfully complete the Bar Professional Training Course.
New for 2013: Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) An Aptitude Test has been introduced from 2013, following its approval by the Legal Services Board in July 2012. This will mean that applicants seeking entry to the BPTC from 2013, are required to pass the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) before an offer of a place on the course can be confirmed. For further details regarding the BCAT please visit the Bar Standards Boards website on: barstandardsboard.org.uk
BPTC selection criteria
- Strong academic profile and achievement
- Evidence of good written communication skills
- Demonstrated commitment to a career as a barrister
- Demonstrated commitment to studying with BPP
- Any special circumstances revealed in your application
- Academic or other references
Please see important information issued by the Bar Standards Board for those wishing to study for the Bar of England and Wales.
How to apply
You apply to the Bar Professional Training course via the central admissions system run by the Bar Standards Board.
If you wish to discuss your application to the BPP BPTC programme, call us on 0845 077 5566 or email email@example.com
For more information:
Tel: +44 (0)207 430 7065
BPTC key dates
If you haven’t already applied for the BPTC, you will need to apply through the clearing system via the Bar Standards Board. Offers will be made subject to availability.
You can study the BPTC in either London, Leeds or Manchester full or part-time.
For the full-time option, classes are held four days per week, with one day a week reserved for research and preparation.
For the part-time option, there is a four-day induction programme followed by one weekend of classroom study per month.
For both full-time and part-time students most assessments will take place on weekdays.
View BPTC start dates and locations.
Awards & Scholarships
There are a number of awards & scholarships available to BPTC students for September 2013. To find out more about the latest awards and how to apply please click here.
Paying for your BPTC
UK and EU students can study part or full-time, and we offer several interest free instalment plans to spread the cost of your BPTC. Download a full list of fees and payment plans for 2013(PDF, 222KB). View further information for international student payment plans (PDF, 68KB).
In addition to the flexible payment plans, we offer the Law Loan with Investec, to support both full-time and part-time BPTC students through their vocational training.
BPTC - September 2013 start
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Funding your studies
You can contact the Student Finance Office for more information:
BPP University College of Professional Studies
236-240 Pentonville Road
Tel: +44 020 7061 1301
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7404 1389