Exclusive: The Inns of Court are looking for someone to help them design a more affordable BPTC

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Anticipated 2020 launch

The Inns of Court are looking to recruit a ‘bar course designer’ to help them create and launch a new Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).

The Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) — an education and training organisation made up of judges, lawyers and lecturers — is seeking an “experienced academic designer” to help it create a more “affordable” version of the BPTC ahead of an anticipated launch date in 2020. Legal Cheek‘s BPTC Most List shows aspiring barristers can pay in excess of £19,000 to secure a place on the vocational course.

Posted to the ICCA’s jobs board, the ad shows that the successful candidate will join a core team already engaged in the design and development of the new vocational course.

A screen shot of the ICCA job ad

Collectively, the four Inns — Lincoln’s Inn, Middle Temple, Gray’s Inn and Inner Temple — were the sole bar training providers courtesy of the Inns of Court School of Law. With other competitors entering the market in 1997, the Inns eventually stopped offering the BPTC (or the Bar Vocational Course (BVC) as it was known then) in 2001.

The 2019 BPTC Most List

The ICCA’s jobs page also reveals it’s looking to fill at least two more BPTC-focused vacancies. It is seeking a ‘deputy course leader’ who will, among other things, play a key role in raising the profile of the BPTC with wannabe barristers, while the ICCA’s new ‘head of online learning’ will oversee the design and development of online materials.

Commenting on the recruitment drive, the ICCA’s director, James Wakefield, told Legal Cheek:

“To look at this project seriously we have taken on a range of staff who are experienced at designing courses. There will be other posts advertised as the project builds up with a view to assisting the Inns make an informed decision as to whether to apply to the Bar Standards Board to run a bar course.”

News of the ICCA’s new roles come just over a year after we revealed it was looking to hire a “project manager” to help launch “a wholly new and radically innovative BPTC”. At the time, Wakefield told us it was “seriously considering” delivering a new version of the vocational course in collaboration with another organisation or on its own.

We reported yesterday that the BSB had approved a series of new training rules in a bid to make the route to qualification as a barrister more flexible and affordable.

As part of the shake-up, students may soon have the to the option to complete a new spilt version of the BPTC. The radical new idea — first put forward in 2016 by the Bar Council and the Council of the Inns of Court — would see students tackle knowledge-based learning, such as civil and criminal procedure, during stage one, before moving on to the more practical elements of the course, such as advocacy and conferencing, as part of stage two.

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Dead easy.

Module 1. Talking the talk.
In this two week module, candidates will be drilled to speak courtroom. Phrases like ‘At first blush’, ‘I may be pushing on a closed door’ and ‘If you will excuse my back’ will be trotting off the tongue with great fluency. The module concludes with a verbosity workshop to ensure that candidates will not refer to ‘The sister’s poverty’ but to ‘The sibling’s impecuniosity’. The opponent’s submissions are not unnecessary, they are otiose.

Module 2. Walking the walk.
In this three-lunchtime course, candidates will be trained to radiate a natural authority/calmness/air of misplaced superiority.

Module 3. Ethics.
A stern talking to regarding the requirement not to sleep with your pupil supervisor, your clients or their opponents. Cocaine should only be taken behind closed doors. If you are going to tup the junior fees clerk, first seek permission from the head of chambers. Oh, and don’t assault anybody, or steal from them.

I think that just about covers it. I reckon the whole thing could be done in six weeks for about £1,000.

And if you think I’m joking, I can introduce you to a criminal silk who, at the beginning of his career, found that he did not need a degree to enter the profession; a letter of recommendation from his house master at Eton was held to suffice.



Please introduce me.






It’s more lucrative to design the course than pass it and practice at the criminal bar!



So you can guess who is going to be applying for this coveted post.



I hope the Inns don’t recruit the clowns who are currently teaching/leading the BPTC at the current providers. A large part of the problem is the poor quality of teaching on the BPTC and the desire for the course leaders to make the course ludicrously long and convoluted to justify the extortionate fees.



Just replace it with a bar exam including both law and practical skills administered by the Inns. Anyone with a law degree or gdl can sit it – if they pass (or indeed get very competent or outstanding), they can go looking for pupillage with this market of quality (or lack thereof) on their cv.
One big advantage: a smart wc law student can self teach the bar exam during their llb, sit it immediately after completing their degree, and be in a position to seek pupillage without the disastrous financial consequences we have now


MA (Oxon)

Yes. Teach yourself the bar exam during your Jurisprudence degree. Good luck with that.


Anonymous from above who also has an oxford MA and who realises that it’s deceitful to pretend it isn’t just a BA

As of now, llb + bvtc is 4 years total.

Is it really beyond all belief that a bright person could cram that into 3?



The Inns of Court School of Law ceased to be in 2008, not 2001.


Heidi Smith

A two-year project and £110K? Why? I’ve just designed, created and published the online course which plugs the big gap in the current BPTC. I built the whole thing from scratch, me, just one person, and it only took three months, including testing. And it didn’t cost anything close to £110K….It’s called Junior Entrepreneur and is available at #Justsaying.



It is also sh*t.



The fact that you need to spam advertise your website in the comments section of a blog says all we need to know *eye roll*



This is an advertisement. A terrible one at that.


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