Postgraduate Diploma
Bar Professional Training Course (full-time)

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About this course

Introduction

The UWE Bristol Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) provides the foundation of your career as a barrister. It is a demanding course, but at the same time stimulating and rewarding. We aim to be as supportive of your pastoral care as we are of your academic progression, and the course will equip you with the skills and knowledge to excel at the Bar and beyond.

We not only provide a BPTC of national and international repute but crucially, provide a number of opportunities to enhance your CV and thereby increase your chances of obtaining pupillage and improving your employability generally.

We offer:

  • First class tuition by a small dedicated and professional team of barristers and solicitors
  • Extensive oral and written tutor feedback
  • High levels of student satisfaction
  • Practice assessments for all skills and knowledge subjects
  • Teaching in excess of the Bar Standards Board (BSB) requirements
  • Student allocated base group rooms described as impressive by the BSB
  • Dedicated base rooms available during university open hours
  • 'Impressive court rooms' (quoted from the BSB) for advocacy tuition
  • Dedicate resource room and common rooms
  • Fridays kept free of teaching for reflection, consolidation and pro bono work
  • Careers guidance and support including CV clinics and mock pupillage interviews
  • Opportunity to qualify as a commercial mediator at no extra cost
  • Opportunity to qualify as a family mediator at a discounted rate
  • Opportunities to participate in our Bristol Chambers' advocacy competitions
  • Participation in our award winning pro bono Community Legal Advice and Representation Service 
  • Opportunities to participate in our Bristol Chambers sponsored mooting competition
  • Opportunities to teach legal skills to LLB undergraduates
  • A top up LLM supervised by a specialist within the School of Law
  • A competitively priced fee of £12,965 including all texts, course materials, base room facilities, extra-curricular activities and the Commercial Mediation training and Assessment

See our video following Sophie's Journey since studying Professional Law at UWE.

Find out more about the law events and taster sessions we run throughout the year.

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Structure

Content

The full-time course is of 32 weeks duration, commencing in mid September each year. Enrolment is followed by the compulsory subjects in terms 1 and 2 and a choice of two module options in term 3. The compulsory knowledge subjects (civil litigation, criminal litigation and professional conduct) are built upon in your compulsory skills sessions (advocacy, conferencing, REDOC, opinion writing and drafting), which are in turn enhanced through your options.

Up to 16 hours a week (usually over three days) will be dedicated to formal training and students are then expected to study independently for approximately 20 hours a week to reinforce their learning.

The course takes you from the initial stages in civil and criminal proceedings through to trial. During the course, you will firstly master the compulsory subjects within the criminal and civil areas, before moving on to two specialist options of your choice.

The BPTC comprises the following compulsory elements:

The Knowledge Areas:

  • Civil litigation, remedies and evidence
  • Criminal litigation, sentencing and evidence
  • Professional Conduct

The Core Skills:

  • Advocacy (civil and criminal)
  • Conferencing skills
  • Drafting
  • Fact management
  • Legal Research Methods
  • Opinion writing
  • Resolution of disputes out of court (REDOC)

Options:

The teaching of optional modules takes place after the compulsory subjects. They are not intended to teach you substantive law, but to provide you with an opportunity to develop the skills you have acquired. We offer a wide choice of optional modules to assist you in specialising in the area of law that you are most interested in or would like to practice.

You are required to pursue a combination of two of the following options:

  • Clinical negligence
  • Criminal law
  • Commercial law
  • Employment law
  • Environmental law
  • Family
  • International trade
  • Landlord and tenant
  • Refugee and asylum law

Learning and Teaching

Weekly skills sessions with written and verbal feedback enable you to continually develop your written skills and skills in advocacy and conferencing. These skill sessions are recorded for your reflection and improvement.

All advocacy tutors are ATC accredited and all REDOC (Resolution of Disputes out of Court) tutors are accredited mediators to ensure our teaching quality is of the highest standard.

You will have the opportunity to participate in mock trials and other court applications with professional actors, participating in conferencing and criminal advocacy assessments to ensure realism at every stage of the course.

For more details see our glossary of teaching and learning terms.

Study time

Dedicated Support

We pride ourselves on the student experience we offer and our students are given the highest level of support both during their studies and after they have graduated. Highly experienced and supportive tutors, drawn from the academic side of law, as well as experienced practitioners, enable you to develop your knowledge quickly on the course. The majority of the course is taught through small group sessions, meaning you will benefit from substantial face to face contact with your tutors.

Every student is allocated a personal tutor, who they can meet with to discuss all aspects of the course and to give you one-to-one guidance on career development. We recognise that each student is different and all personal tutors are available by telephone and e-mail, as well as face-to-face. There is also a dedicated law careers support member of staff, as well as "Ask the Experts" careers events, CV writing, clinics and mock pupillage interviews to help you further your career after completion of the course and to allow you to put questions to experts in a diverse range of legal careers.

A dedicated careers booklet is available at the start of the course to assist you in thinking about how to develop your career and to give you advice on attending interviews or in filling in your pupillage application form. The Bristol BPTC also offers three court visit weeks.

Assessment

Civil Litigation, Criminal Litigation and Professional Conduct assessments are all centrally set by the Bar Standards Board and are examined by way of multiple choice and short answer questions. Opinion writing and drafting are locally set, unseen assessments in controlled conditions. All other assessments are locally set and are either completely seen or partially seen in that advanced information is made available to enable you to research the relevant areas of law.

Mock assessments with generic and individual feedback will also be given throughout the course in all subjects to provide you with the opportunity to continuously monitor and improve your performance. This may be in the form of written or verbal feedback and helps you to develop the skills and techniques to deal effectively with all forms of assessment.

For more detail see our full glossary of assessment terms.

Special Features

Study facilities

Bristol Institute of Legal Practice has:

  • Excellent, state-of-the-art facilities, including "impressive" (as quoted by the BSB) and dedicated base rooms and mock law courtrooms, which you can use for group or private study.
  • The base rooms are used exclusively by our BPTC students and are allocated on the basis of 1 base room per 12 students. These rooms are available to BPTC students at any time during normal University opening hours.
  • The courtrooms are also equipped with the latest recording equipment to record the advocacy sessions for later analysis and actors are used, as well as briefs that are based on real cases, to ensure realism throughout the session.
  • Our 24-hour dedicated chambers library, together with the University law library and computer rooms allow you to access a wide range of legal resources at any time of the day/night, including Justcite, LexisNexis, Westlaw and iLaw.
  • Our innovative and nationally recognised online learning support (commended by the Bar Standards Board), will also enhance and support your learning in the skills and knowledge subjects. This can be accessed 24/7 to provide interactive support and create a virtual learning environment on demand, including online video demonstrations, narrated PowerPoint slides, video demonstrations of criminal advocacy applications and online multiple choice questions to self-test knowledge areas.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE has to offer.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

At UWE we recognise the skills required in the increasingly competitive environment of pupillage. We have teamed up with ADRg, a leading provider of Alternative Dispute Resolution services and training. Together, we offer all UWE BPTC students the opportunity to qualify as an ADRg Accredited Mediator at the end of the BPTC course for no additional cost.

In a ground-breaking initiative ADRg has been contracted to deliver mediation services training for students studying the BPTC at UWE, Bristol. It is part of ADRg's mission to educate and work alongside the next generation of leading dispute resolvers.Although many professionals come to mediation in the latter part of a professional career,there is merit in educating young professionals and capturing their enthusiasm and interest as early as possible. They will then be more informed and aware of the process, its benefits,how and when to use it and its overall role within the broader dispute resolution framework.

Michael Lind, Managing Director, ADR Group

We are not alone in believing this is important for aspiring barristers. Lord Neuberger, Master of the Rolls, speaking at a Civil Mediation Conference previously said the culture of mediation "if it is to be litigation's twin should be embedded from the very beginning of alawyers training".

Pro Bono Unit

The Bristol Law School Pro Bono Unit has developed a comprehensive programme to provide opportunities for you to undertake legal Pro Bono work in and around Bristol in all areas of law, particularly advising and representing victims of domestic violence. This service won the Best New Pro Bono Activity at the Attorney-General's Pro Bono Awards 2011.

Careers/further study

The BPTC prepares you for a successful career as a barrister and aims to give you the necessary skills and knowledge to secure a pupillage. Many of our graduates have gone on to successfully work as a Barrister after completion of the BPTC, with others working as Legal Associates, Managers and Legal Advisers.

We offer CV clinics, careers talks and mock pupillage interviews to enhance your chances of success at obtaining pupillage.

There is also the opportunity to take a top-up LLM in Advanced Legal Practice after successfully completing the course by submitting a 15,000 word dissertation (course fees apply).

Fees

Fee information

Please refer to the professional law courses fees page for specific fee information.

Entry

Entry requirements

Applicants must have joined an Inn of Court by 31 May of the intended year of entry and should have completed the academic stage of study by having either:

  • A qualifying law degree of second class honours or above

Or;

  • A qualifying non-law degree of second class honours or above AND to have achieved a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).

If English is not your first language, you will also need to demonstrate your English Language proficiency. For example, you should have:

  • A minimum grade of 7.5 in each element of the British Council International English Language Test (IELTS)

See further details of our English Language requirements.

In determining whether to accept an application, we take into account a number of factors, including:

  • Your actual or predicted academic record
  • Your statement in support of your application
  • Commitment to the profession as evidenced by attempts, successful or otherwise, to obtain placements, mini-pupillage or any other experience in a legal setting
  • Your reference

For those seeking entry to the BPTC from 2013, applicants will be required to pass the Bar Course Aptitude Test before an offer of a place on the course can be confirmed.

How to apply

Applications for both the full-time and part-time BPTC must be made via the central online applications system. Applications open in mid-October of the intended year of entry and the first round closes in mid-January.

For Home students: you are required to pay £500 deposit within 30 days of your offer, followed by an additional £2,000 by 1 August, to secure your place.  If you are an Overseas student we will send you more specific details about the deposit needed as a part of your VISA application. For more information please see our paying your fees pages.

For further assistance on the course and/or how to apply, please contact the relevant course director:

Full time: Delyth James Tel: 0117 32 82270.

Delyth.James@uwe.ac.uk

Part time: Joanne Stringer Tel: 0117 32 83472.

Joanne.Stringer@uwe.ac.uk

For further information

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