Should the Number of Law School Places be Reduced?
- 06th June 2012
The chairman of the Bar Council, Michael Todd QC, has spoken out criticising the number of BPTC places available at law school.
At the moment, more students are recruited on the course, which can cost as much as £15,000, than there are pupillages available. 1,600 students take the BPTC at British law schools, whilst there were only 446 pupillages available last year.
Michael Todd QC commented, “too many students are emerging from law schools with £50,000-£60,000 of debt and no realistic prospect of pupillage. Law schools which are not giving those students an accurate picture of their chances are letting them down.”
Others have leapt to law schools’ defence arguing that the figures paint an unrealistic picture. For example, a fifth of BPTC students fail the course and numbers include international students who take the course with no intention of becoming a barrister in the UK.
What has become evident is that taking the BPTC is a gamble as there is no guaranteed pupillage at the end of it. The risky nature (and the expense) of the BPTC has further implications for social mobility. Some argue that students from more affluent backgrounds can afford the risk of taking the BPTC whilst those from low income households simply can’t.