Amid all the debate about rising Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) fees and the new pricier-than-expected Bar aptitude test, two obvious points keep being ignored. 1) There has always been a Bar aptitude test (it’s called the Inns of Court scholarship application process) – and 2) training to be a barrister is free for those who pass it (via a full Inns of Court scholarship)…
There are no statistics on the correlation between Inns awards (which total almost £5m annually) and pupillages, but anyone who has done the BPTC knows the reality: fail to get a scholarship and chances are that you’re career as a “barrister” will be limited to eating a few fancy Inns of Court dinners.
Oddly, despite figuring highly in the minds of chambers pupillage committees, this extremely valuable piece of information remains something of a secret among students at the LLB and GDL stages. OK, so it’s hinted at via the regular pronouncements about the tricky nature of gaining pupillage, but I’ve never heard it said – or seen it written – directly.
So, for the record: don’t do the BPTC unless you get an Inns of Court scholarship.
Wouldn’t a campaign to more widely disseminate this message be more effective than schlepping about with an expensive Bar aptitude test that doesn’t seem to satisfy anyone?