Harbouring dreams of becoming a barrister, are we? See yourself as the next Amal Clooney? Well before you stroll around Gray’s Inn in your best Ede and Ravenscroft, and even before you begin your pupillage, you’ll have to undertake the BPTC.
What does the BPTC involve?
The BPTC must be completed by every aspiring barrister, and the course usually takes one year full-time. On the course, you’ll participate in mock trials (like mooting, but a bit more big time) and focus on debating. In fact, about 60% of the BPTC focuses on developing the practical skills required to be a barrister. These include casework skills, legal research and drafting and advocacy.
Where can I do the BPTC?
Sound like your cup of herbal tea? Awesome. You’ll need to apply for the BPTC through the Bar Standards Board Application system as early as possible in your final year or in the year of your GDL, if you didn’t study law at university. But where is the best place to study?
There’s only a select number of BPTC providers to choose from:
- Nottingham Law School
- The University of Law
- The University of West England
- Cardiff University
- Manchester Metropolitan University
- The City Law School
- Northumbria University.
- BPP Law School - (Manchester, Leeds, London)
Which BPTC provider is right for me?
So, how should you decide which BPTC provider is the best one for you?
Cost is a big consideration. Not only will the BPTC set you back up to £15,000 (!), if you decide to study in London your living costs will be significantly higher than if you study in Nottingham. If you’re fortunate to have family in London, ask if you can crash with them or arrange a cheaper rate of rent.
“So you’re saying that London is more ideal than other locations?” We’re not saying that, but we do know that students based in London benefit from being close to the Inns of Court and is easier when it comes to pupillage interviews. Having said that, regional providers usually have stronger links to the local Bar. Swings and roundabouts, eh?
If you study the BPTC at a university, you’ll benefit from all the library and technological resources, whereas a specialist provider may be able to offer a more intimate teaching experience. You should also bear in mind option modules, as popular choices such as judicial review and immigration may not be offered everywhere.
At the end of the day, choosing a BPTC provider will be a personal choice. It may be the case that studying at one institution may make more sense than others, or that one institution may “feel right”. Just be sure to consider all the factors before you make a decision.