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University of Law unveils BPTC LLM as it slashes cost of standard barrister course

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Those taking masters can apply for £10,000 of postgraduate funding

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The University of Law (ULaw) has revealed it’s launching a brand new Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) LLM and will also be slashing the cost of its normal vocational barrister course.

Launching in September 2017, ULaw will combine its traditional BPTC with an internationally recognised master’s degree. According to the law school, the new course — which like a standard BPTC takes just one year to complete — is “designed to boost students’ chances of securing pupillage and to prepare them for a career as a barrister”.

Interestingly, because of the addition of the LLM content, the course will now qualify for postgraduate student loan funding of up to £10,000 — something which is currently unavailable on the standard BPTC. According to ULaw, fees for the BPTC LLM will be revealed in February 2017.

Commenting on the announcement, Jacqueline Cheltenham, ULaw’s national programme and student affairs director for the BPTC, said:

Our new BPTC LLM programme has been devised with one main aim in mind: to provide our students with the best chances of securing a highly-coveted pupillage at the bar. The course is focused on real-life advocacy and litigation experience, with students working on actual legal cases with the support of our qualified supervisors, who are all professional lawyers. In such a highly competitive environment with pupillage increasingly difficult to secure, the new course provides our students with an additional edge.

The news comes at the same time ULaw announces it’s slashing the cost of its regular BPTC.

BPTC students starting the course this year at the university’s London Bloomsbury branch paid £19,040. Those opting to study in both Birmingham and Leeds handed over £15,480.

In 2017, however, these figures will be substantially less. Citing “the challenges” of pursuing a career as a barrister, ULaw has revealed next year’s aspiring barristers commencing the BPTC at the Bloomsbury site will pay £17,500, a saving of £1,540. Meanwhile, students further north in Birmingham and Leeds will part with £14,500, equating to a saving of £980.

According to the latest Bar Standards Board (BSB) statistics, applications to study the BPTC have steadily declined in recent years. In 2013/14 1,743 students successfully enrolled on the course. This figure dropped by over 240 to just 1,502 in 2014/15.