Dec 02, 2019

Written By Maudie Powell-Tuck and Becky Kells

What is the BPTC?

Dec 02, 2019

Written By Maudie Powell-Tuck and Becky Kells

The Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) is a one year course that introduces participants to the first part of vocational training. The purpose of the BPTC is to equip you with the relevant skills to begin a pupillage.

N.B. This article describes the BPTC, but due to changes designed to provide more flexibility from 2020, each provider now has its own name and pathway. You can find out more here.

During the BPTC you will hone your skills in a variety of areas, such as advocacy, case preparation, conferencing, negotiations, and legal research.

As part of the course, you will also have to join one of the four Inns of Court prior to starting the course (by the 31 May). It is possible to join an Inn at an even earlier stage to get involved with its social events and use its facilities. During the BPTC year, you are required to attend 12 sessions at your Inn in order to be called to the Bar.

What will I learn during the BPTC?

There are the obvious things, such as advocacy skills and professional ethics and conduct, as well as knowledge areas and core skills that you’ll have to cover.

The required knowledge areas are civil litigation, criminal litigation and sentencing, and evidence. You’ll also be picking up core skills, such as conferencing, advocacy, drafting, legal research skills, opinion writing, fact management, and dispute resolution.

Who is eligible for the BPTC?

By the time you embark on the BPTC you will either need to hold a law degree, or have a non-law degree and have successfully completed the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), otherwise known as the law conversion course.

You will also need to have a minimum of a 2.2 law degree. The barrister profession is extremely competitive; you will need top academics and a real drive and determination to succeed. The BPTC is a very expensive course and pupillages are limited, so make sure that this is the right career for you.

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How is the BPTC graded?

There are three levels of grading on the BPTC: Outstanding, Very Competent and Competent. These will be awarded based on your performance in the twelve assessments.


A candidate must pass all assessments on the first attempt achieving outstanding in at least half of the 12 assessments. It is a difficult feat to achieve such high grades throughout the course and will need sustained commitment.

Very Competent

A candidate may only fail one assessment on the first attempt achieving outstanding or very competent in at least eight of the assessments.


A candidate must pass all assessments and this may include re-sits.


How much will the BPTC cost?

The Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) will set you back between £13,000-£19,040. This does not include living costs. How you are going to fund the BPTC is definitely something you will need to think about.

Where can I do the BPTC?

The Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) is offered by several providers. The largest two providers are BPP and the College of Law. You can find details about various providers in our law school section.       

How do I apply for the BPTC?

You can apply right here.

Apply early: first-round applications open in winter (November or December) and close in January, with the exact dates changing year on year. Offers are sent out in March, with first-round applicants having until April to accept their place. After this, the application system is then reopened for clearing applicants in April, with the deadline for this falling in September. 

Candidates have to complete the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) as part of their BPTC application, and join an Inn of Court by 31 May.