PGDip Bar Training Course (Two-Part)

Entry year
2021/22
Course code
M30U13
Application
University
Level
Postgraduate
Department
Bristol Law School
Campus
Frenchay
Duration
Part one - August to December; Part two - February to June.
Delivery
Full-time
Programme leader
Karen Thorpe-Williams

This course is open for applications.

Page last updated 16 October 2020

Introduction

Undertaking this training in two separate parts gives you added flexibility. You can manage your financial commitment, as you pay the tuition fee to complete part one first then, if successful, decide whether to continue. You can also test your abilities before committing to it fully.

Accreditations and partnerships:

By undertaking and successfully completing the UWE Bristol Bar Training Course (BTC), you will develop, and be able to demonstrate, the competencies required to be called to the Bar, as set out by the Bar Standards Board (BSB).

Flexible and accessible modes of study

  • Part one of the training is delivered one day a week (on a Friday), from August to December, providing opportunities for you to work or undertake pro bono activities alongside your studies, or to study around your family commitments
  • Part two is delivered over two days a week (Thursday and Friday), from February to June. Applicants are welcomed to join part two of our course, if they have studied and passed part one at another institution.

Having successfully completed parts one and two, you will have the option to transfer onto our Bar Training Course (BTC), undertake extra options, project or dissertation modules, and graduate with an LLM. These modules are designed to reinforce your development as a reflective practitioner with responsibility for your own self-development.

Why study the Bar Training Course (Two-Part)?

The Bar Training Course provides the foundation to your career as a barrister. Part of the vocational stage of training for the Bar of England and Wales, it covers the advocacy skills, and detailed knowledge of the law, required to be able to confidently work with clients and present legal cases in court.

Why UWE Bristol?

Choosing to undertake your BTC (Two-Part) at UWE Bristol offers you the assurance of studying with a well-established education provider.

Part one of the two-part course is not delivered online, but in face-to-face workshops. With the exception of occasional online lectures, you will benefit from the same quality of face-to-face tuition as students undertaking our BTC.

You will be taught by highly experienced tutors, who are all qualified barristers or solicitors, and we will use substantial face-to-face teaching, feedback and formative assessments, to embed your learning, hone your skills and give you the strongest foundation for your legal career.

Choosing this mode of study also means you can test your abilities to study at this level in stages, before committing to the full fees and course. You will first study the part one knowledge subjects; at which point you can decide whether to continue with the course. Both parts are taught face to face, to maximise your potential to succeed.

We place a strong emphasis on personal and academic support, giving you regular contact with your personal tutor at all stages, to support you with the rigorous demands of the course, alongside access to extensive university-wide resources.

Our well-established links to the local and national Chambers and Bar also open the door to significant career-enhancing opportunities, such as competitions, mock pupillage interviews, career talks, guest lectures and pro bono work, all designed to help you gain maximum value from your training.

Where can it take me?

The BTC prepares you for a successful career as a barrister, giving you the necessary skills, knowledge and network to maximise your chances of securing pupillage.

Many of our graduates go on to work as barristers, while others take this sought-after qualification into careers as legal associates, managers or legal advisers, or into other sectors.

Structure

Content

You will study:

Part one - PG Certificate in Legal Knowledge:

  • Criminal Litigation, Evidence and Sentencing
  • Civil Litigation and Evidence.

Part two - PG Certificate in Legal Skills:

  • Civil Advocacy
  • Drafting, Opinion Writing and Legal Research
  • Criminal Advocacy
  • Conferencing  
  • Professional Ethics.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you. 

Learning and Teaching

Highly experienced and supportive tutors, drawn from legal practice and the academic side of law, will help you develop your knowledge quickly.

Most of the course is taught face to face through small group sessions, providing substantial contact and opportunities for discussion, with your tutors and peers.

Studying the two-part course means that Criminal Litigation and Civil Litigation are taught first in part one, before moving onto Professional Ethics and the other skills subjects in part two.   

Weekly skills sessions in part two, with no more than six students (for Conferencing Skills and Advocacy), will support you to develop the skills you will need to practise law and advise clients effectively. You will take part in workshops, extended practice activities and role-play activities, and receive regular written and oral feedback on your skills. The sessions are recorded to allow for subsequent reflection and analysis.

Developing your skills under the supervision of experienced tutors, you will be supported to progress to the level expected of a pupil barrister.

Guest lectures; mock trials with professional actors; and extensive online resources, such as recorded lectures, podcasts, blogs and demos, will further embed your learning and skills.

If you transfer onto the LLM, you will undertake further taught modules on specialist subjects (such as working with refugees), and complete a dissertation or project, to work towards your master's award.

See our glossary of teaching and learning terms.

Different awards

On successful completion of the BTC, you will graduate with a PG Diploma or you can top this up to an LLM award.

Students undertaking the LLM course will receive their transcript of results in the seven compulsory modules required for Call while they are still undertaking their option, project or dissertation modules.

If you do not successfully complete the whole course, you would still potentially be eligible for:

  • a PG Certificate in Legal Knowledge, if you pass Criminal Litigation and Civil Litigation
  • a PG Certificate in Legal Skills, if you pass Conferencing, Advocacy, Opinion Writing (to include Legal Research), Drafting and Ethics.

The certificates would evidence your attainment of particular competencies and would be of value to you in pursuing another legal or non-legal career.

Study time

PGDip part one (Legal knowledge): the course runs from September to December, with up to six hours of face-to-face tutorial group teaching one-day a week. You will be required to spend approximately 15-20 hours a week on independent study, on top of your taught contact hours.

PGDip part two (Legal skills): the course runs from February to May, with two days of face-to-face tutorial group teaching a week. You will be required to spend approximately 15-20 hours a week on independent study, on top of your taught contact hours.

LLM: you will study further modules to complete the master's award. Taught option modules can be undertaken immediately after completing the compulsory modules, and account for up to 30 credits, with up to 20 hours of contact time per module a week. Alongside this, you will undertake project or dissertation modules which are predominantly self-study.  

Assessment

Civil Litigation and Criminal Litigation assessments are set by the Central Examination Board, on behalf of the Bar Standards Board, and examined using multiple choice questions.

Professional Ethics is set by UWE Bristol as an unseen assessment in controlled conditions.

All other assessments are also set locally and are either completely seen or partially seen, in that you will receive information in advance to research the relevant areas of law.

In most assessments, you will be graded as either Outstanding, Very Competent, Competent, or Not Yet Competent.

We use mock assessments with feedback to help you monitor and improve your performance, and prepare effectively. Our tutors have extensive experience of the centralised assessments, so are well placed to support you.

For added flexibility, there is some choice about when you take your assessments, although we structure the teaching to allow you to complete them at the earliest opportunity.

For more detail, see our full glossary of assessment terms.

Features

Professional accreditation

This course is accredited by the Bar Standards Board.

Study facilities

You'll be based in the Bristol Law School, on our Frenchay Campus, with access to extensive facilities to support your learning, including:

  • Well-equipped classrooms, with IT equipment and whiteboards
  • Mock courtrooms, with equipment to record advocacy sessions for later analysis
  • Comprehensive resources online through our Blackboard system, including exam-style multiple choice tests, podcasts, pre-recorded lectures and demonstrations of oral skills by experienced practitioners.

The Law School sits within our £55m Bristol Business School building, which includes learning spaces for individual and group study plus conference rooms you can book.

You'll also have access to all the other facilities on our Frenchay Campus, including 24-hour access to our library, and a wide range of academic support, wellbeing and careers services.

Your tuition fee includes all the books and resources you need for the course (which will be provided to you). You'll also receive membership to the BSB.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources

Careers

Careers / Further study

The BTC prepares you for a successful career as a barrister, giving you the necessary skills, knowledge and network to maximise your chances of securing  pupillage.

Many of our graduates go on to work as barristers, working either as self employed or inhouse counsel, or for the Government Legal Profession or Crown Prosecution Service.  

Other graduates take their BTC into careers as legal associates, managers or legal advisers, or into other sectors.

Alongside support from our award-winning university careers services, you'll receive careers advice and support specific to this course, including access to CV clinics, careers talks, 'ask the experts' events and mock interviews, to enhance your chances of obtaining pupillage and help you plan your career path. We can also help with planning for a career overseas through our international careers service.

After completing the PGDip, you have the option of undertaking further taught, dissertation or project modules and graduating with an LLM Bar Training Course (Two Part).

Career-enhancing opportunities

Through our strong links with Chambers in Bristol and nationally, you will have regular opportunities to connect with practice, and take part in:

  • Chambers-sponsored advocacy and mooting competitions, and national and international mediation and arbitration competitions
  • 'Ask the experts' events
  • Mentoring, careers advice and talks
  • Advocacy master classes
  • Mock pupillage interviews
  • CV writing clinics
  • Judicial marshalling
  • The UWE Bristol Law Fair
  • The Bristol Bar Students Dinner.

As well as working with charities such as Support Through Court, we have our own Business Law Advice Clinic, where you can tap into diverse work experience opportunities, to give back to the community and enhance your employability at the same time.

At an additional, but highly reduced cost, we also offer students the opportunity to become a civil commercial mediator through an internationally respected mediation training provider.

Fees

Supplementary fee information

See our funding pages for more information.

Entry

Entry requirements

As stipulated by the BSB, you will need:

  • to hold a law degree/conversion course, which meets the requirements for study of the foundations of legal knowledge subjects
  • a degree classification (minimum 2:2)
  • a pass in the Bar Course Aptitude Test
  • membership of an Inn of Court
  • English language ability (see below).

Where students are offered a place on the BTC courses, this offer will be conditional on having satisfied these thresholds at the time of registering onto the courses.

All students who apply for a place on the UWE BTC courses will be considered for the offer of a place by reference to the extent their application form demonstrates:

  • the potential to fulfil the BSB Professional Statement Competences
  • a commitment to a career at the Bar/in law
  • a record of legal work experience or other law related activity during their studies.

These criteria will be assessed by reference to a prospective student's answers on the online application form.

We won't be able to accept your application for this course if you require a Tier 4 visa. Please apply for the full-time route instead.

English Language Requirement

All prospective barristers must be able to demonstrate that their English language ability is at least equivalent to:

  • 7.5 in the IELTS academic test
  • 73 in the Pearson test of English (academic).

All applicants should have an effective command of the language and be able to use it appropriately, accurately and fluently so as to handle complex and detailed argumentation.

Barristers should:

  • Use correct and appropriate vocabulary, English grammar, spelling and punctuation in all communications
  • Speak fluent English.

The method for verifying that a prospective barrister has met this requirement will be determined by UWE Bristol.

Potential exemptions

Applicants have the opportunity to apply for an exemption and self-certify their English language skills, provided they meet the following criteria:

  • Have completed a full degree through the medium of English
  • Have graduated with good honours (second upper class honours or above) within a three year period prior to applying for the UWE Bristol Bar Training Course

UWE Bristol reserves the right to require any candidates who successfully self-certify to undertake the IELTS academic test or Pearson test if they do not subsequently demonstrate the English language requirement set out above.

How to apply

Read more about postgraduate applications.

For further information

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