New route to qualification “needs to be more flexible and affordable”, BSB tells Legal Cheek
The Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) could be combined with pupillage to create a new route to qualification as a barrister, if Bar Standards Board (BSB) proposals are given the green light.
Speaking to Legal Cheek, the BSB’s director of strategy and regulatory policy, Ewen Macleod, confirmed that the potential new super-BPTC — as we like to think of it — “is an option [the BSB] would consider providing if it met the professional standards”.
As part of the BSB’s consultation on the ‘Future of Training for the Bar’, Macleod said the new route would be reliant on “legal education providers and chambers coming together” and deciding on how such a course would be structured.
The new route to qualification — which “needs to be more flexible and affordable”, according to Macleod — is just one of a number of “preferred” options trumpeted by the bar’s regulator.
According to the report, the BSB is also considering combining the LLB and BPTC to create a new bar-focused law degree. Fusing general legal education with practical skills required for the bar (such as advocacy), the BSB hopes this could create “a cheaper route” to qualification as a barrister in England and Wales.
Other options — which are still very much on the table according to the BSB — include the “evolutionary” approach. This route keeps the “existing academic, vocational and pupillage sequences”, but hones in on “liberalising” training and increasing the “flexibility” of pupillage.
According Macleod, this equivalent means-style route to qualification could be an alternative to pupillage, with a greater focus placed on students gaining the practical skills required for life at the bar, away from a traditional chambers setting.
The BSB welcomes the views of law students, with the consultation period ending on 23 December.