The Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC)

The Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC)

barrister advocacy

The Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) is the course which must be completed by individuals who want to become a barrister.

Before 2011 it was called the Bar Professional Course (BVC). In 2010 2,657 students applied to take the course, only 1,793 were admitted and 1,432 passed.

The course focuses on the practical skills you need for life as a barrister. It aims to give you the skills you need to be useful as soon as you start your pupillage. In a similar way to the LPC the BPTC is provided by a mixture of universities and law colleges.

BPTC course content

Wherever you study the BPTC the course structure and content should be broadly the same due to the strict requirements set by the Bar Standards Board. Firstly you will need to study compulsory modules which cover the key skills and knowledge areas required for being a barrister. Next you will have the chance to specialise towards your future career by choosing optional modules of law. Two of these optional modules are usually studied.

Compulsory Modules

  • Advocacy
  • Civil Litigation and Evidence
  • Conference
  • Criminal Litigation and Evidence
  • Drafting
  • Opinion Writing
  • Professional Ethics
  • Resolution of Disputes out of Court

Optional Modules

  • Advanced Commercial Law
  • Advanced Criminal Litigation
  • Employment
  • Judicial Review
  • International Trade
  • Intellectual Property
  • Public International Criminal Law
  • Property and Chancery
  • Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence
  • Company Law
  • Family Law

Learning methods

The course will usually be taught by barristers who have practical experience, although this depends on the course provider. The learning will take place through a combination of lectures, group learning, mock trials, court visits and home based learning. Several kinds of learning resources will also be provided such as online video & notes, mock assessments with actors, and all the relevant text books. You can expect to put in 30 hours of work per week on the full time course.

Learning aims & objectives

The Bar Professional Training Course has several learning objectives as set out by the Bar Standards Board. They set out these objectives to promote excellence within the profession. The course should:

  • Bridge the gap between academic and practical law
  • Develop excellent advocacy
  • Promote an ethical approach to practice
  • Prepare students for the training to be received on their pupillage
  • Give the student the basic knowledge in order to perform well in practice
  • Promote the notion of students taking responsibility for their own professional development

Grading & assessment

There are three sorts of pass grade on the BPTC. These are:

  • Outstanding – All modules must be passed first time and the candidate needs a mark of at least 85% in 6 (or more) of the modules. The candidate may also achieve this grade by keeping their average mark above 85%.
  • Very Competent – The candidate must not have failed more than one module on the first attempt. The candidate needs a mark of at least 70% in 8 (or more) of the modules. The candidate may also achieve this grade by keeping their average mark above 70%.
  • Competent – The candidate must pass all modules (may include resits) and achieve 60% or higher.

There are quite a diverse range of assessments. Depending on the module you could be being tested by seen and unseen exams, recorded oral assessments with actors playing clients, or pieces of written coursework. These methods will differ depending on where you take the course so make sure you research your favourite institution fully to get a clearer picture.

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