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LPC and BPTC students urge regulators not to delay exams amid virus pandemic

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Petitions demand that wannabe lawyers be allowed to take assessments at home

Law students are protesting against coronavirus-induced exam postponements, urging regulators to relax supervision requirements instead.

A petition organised by students on the Legal Practice Course (LPC) asks the solicitors’ regulator to reconsider its decision not to allow exams to be taken at home rather than in person. That is likely to mean law schools postponing exams for months to comply with government advice for the entire country to avoid “non-essential” travel and contact with others.

Meanwhile, the organisation that oversees barrister training has postponed the centralised exams on the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) until at least August 2020. Another petition, organised by BPTC students, calls this “inadequate” and demands that the regulator “make adjustments to the format of the exam” instead.

Hundreds of students have so far signed the two missives, addressed respectively to the heads of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and Bar Standards Board (BSB).

The LPC petition says that the SRA’s “duty of care towards those who it regulates” should be prioritised over its regulatory obligations. It notes that effectively expanding the length of the LPC course will be a massive blow to international students, carers and those expecting to work summer jobs.

It also points out that the government’s scientific advice is that restrictive social distancing could be needed for 18 months or more — meaning there’s no guarantee that the exams can take place any time soon. If the situation isn’t resolved by the autumn, LPC students due to join firms in August/September could have to sit their exams during their training contracts.

The 2019 Legal Cheek LPC Most List

The LPC-ers want the regulator to consider allowing law schools to arrange remote exams with the aid of existing software programmes, accompanied by declarations that it’s all their own work.

A spokesperson for the SRA referred Legal Cheek to its previous statement, emphasising that “it’s important that [exam] supervision is in place to ensure integrity and security”.

The BPTC petition is similarly drafted and records the same sorts of concerns. It tells the BSB:

“Given the very significant knock-on consequences of delaying the exams (potentially indeterminately), it is clear that it is the format of the exams, not their timing, which must be changed.”

That way, the barrister hopefuls say, “the assessments could take place in line with the original timetable and be finished by the end of May 2020”.

A spokesperson for the BSB told us: “We are very conscious that this is an uncertain and worrying time for students but, at the current time, we have nothing further to add to the statement which we published yesterday [Tuesday].”

The 2019 Legal Cheek BPTC Most List

27 Comments

Partridge

And they say nurses have it tough

(8)(8)

Sensible

I think its a good thing that alot of useless pricks will be delayed by this and give up.

This will allow talent to matriculate a few months later.

No harm done

(4)(8)

Anon

I have a great deal of sympathy for students who are feeling very uncertain about their future at this time. BPTC Students who have pupillage, remember you do not need to be called before starting pupillage. You only need to be called by your second six. I do hope this awful situation is resolved by August. If, however, your exams need to be further delayed, I am sure that chambers would be very accommodating.

(21)(3)

Dark Destroyer

Oh calm down, you’ve been give a life rope to revise more and prepare better. Maybe you’ll have to wait longer but would you not rather that? Than a competent grade/fail at the end.

(23)(29)

Ramo

It would make a mockery of the exams

(9)(14)

Advocate

Everything happens for a reason. I agree this gives you more time to revise better with exams spaced out. The full time Bptc would realise this as the exams would have been scheduled back to back and they wouldn’t have had time to revise everything unless they started revising since January this year which is very rare as classes and workshop preps had to be done. Instead of petitioning why don’t you all spend more time organising your notes and revising (LPC &BPTC)

Your health and others health is more important than anything. Remember life takes over. Such law firms and chambers understand and will not withdraw their offers. Everyone is adapting to the circumstances.

(19)(4)

Future trainee

Sign the petition here!
The links are: http://tiny.cc/LPCStudentLetterSRA and http://tiny.cc/LPCStudentForm

(9)(11)

Errol

Where is the petition for BPTC

(0)(1)

BPTC Student

(2)(1)

Tamryn Jones

I think delaying exams will be difficult for international students. Most of the student visas expired on August, and they aren’t allowed to take exams with an expired visa. Plus, international students still have to worry about whether they have a place to stay until August, or until their call. Travelling back and forth between their home country and uk doesn’t seem to be a solution given the current situation.

Regardless, more time to revise centralise exams do sound tempting!

(14)(1)

Anon

Visas last a year plus 4 months which means they should expire in Jan 2021. Not sure what you’re talking about.

(4)(4)

Anon

Not true visas expire August 2020 for 2019 September.

(1)(0)

Anon

Even if visa last till Jan 2021, where are the international students supposed to stay beyond their tenancy period?

I know many who have their accomodation tenancies end in July. Who will accommodate them for an extra month or two?

Not to mention that there is no guarantee that the situation will be better in August. If it turns out that the situation is still the same, if not worst, then surely the BSB would have to make alternative arrangements.

(5)(4)

"Kim theres people that are dying"

The bloody government has not got a clear policy with things changing everyday so I really don’t expected the already incompetent SRA to.

Future Trainees will need to liaise with their firms for clarity on expected start dates and final year international students should rest assured knowing student visas wont expire until 2021.

(7)(0)

Bar Stuart

The letter to the BSB has so many holes in it, it could be a piece of swiss cheese.

Whatever the circumstances, it would be completely wrong to allow one group of students to sit a significantly different exam to everyone else taking the bar course. Examplify lets you do an exam at home but it would be open book not closed book.

International students can take the exams in their own country. Lots of resitters in my year did that.

Even though the results of the august exams aren’t out until after most pupillages start, you can still start your pupillage conditional on passing the exams. Two of my mates did this when they failed ethics.

You can’t bang on about a lack of a resit opportunity and then say you had other plans in august. If you had to resit from april, that would be august. Pick one argument

Tell you what, let’s organise a special sitting for the 200 who signed the letter using the original exam format. Then everyone else can do it as an open book exam on their computer in august? No, not so keen on everyone else having it easier than you? Shock. Horror.

(7)(3)

Corona Court

I’m a current BPTC student and I agree with this.

(3)(5)

Anon

Will you be paying for the venue fees for international students sitting for the exams in their home country?

It’s not free, you know?

(4)(1)

x

I think the suggestions are moronic, especially with regards to the visa thing? Sure, students can apply to extend it and look for different accomodation.
MORE IMPORTANTLY, if the bsb agrees to this after having issued a statement that exams have been cancelled, then it will come across as cheap, unpredictable, uncertain and a coward for succumbing to student pressure and a non-independent body!

(4)(4)

Anon

So you’re acknowledging that international students will be the hardest hit by the BSB’s decision – and their statements did not once mention anything about international students’ visa issues or accommodation issues.

You do know that almost half of the annual BPTC cohort are international students?

“just extend your visa and look for other accommodation” So poor international students should just give up and go back home since they don’t have the extra money to pay to extend their visa and secure extra accommodation?

(5)(2)

Bar Stu

How did you get from that to an acknowledgement that international students will be hardest hit?

As set out above, you can do the exam abroad. Yes it costs money to do so but if that’s the impediment, then petition the BSB/Uni to pay that for you?

What’s that? You didn’t do so because what you really want is an easier exam?

Ah, makes sense.

(3)(0)

Anon

And if they won’t pay for it?

I’ve literally just said that there are poor international students who can’t afford to pay the extra money to extend their visas or secure extra accomodation.

The BSB places the responsibility on providers to arrange exams overseas. And you think for-profit institutions like BPP etc would pay for it?

(3)(1)

x

Totally agree with Bar Stu! How did you think that my comment was an acknowledgment that international students will be hit the most? Great anaysis! Just admit that you are using international students to solve your pupillage and other problems caused by the postponment.

And, manifold times exams have taken place abroad. Money is not a justifiable reason as to why this cannot happen this year. By saying this, you are really undermining BPP’s and other providers’ credibility!

Kiran

One word ti describe those petitioners – Selfish!! The entire world is at grips with fear of health and safety, and these ‘so called intellectual and wannabes’ can only think of their training contracts and summer jobs? Get real guys – at the rate the Covid-19 is happening globally – you may not even have a training contract or summer job as people are getting laid off. Think of the human race and not just your personal interest. Hasn’t Professional Ethics taught you anything?

(4)(8)

Future trainee living on a grant and reducing savings

It seems that either you have a permanent job or someone else is paying your bills.

Many LPC students like myself were looking forward to starting working and earning once the course is finished. Now this is in jeopardy.

(7)(3)

BPTC Student

Paragraph 2 of the letter: “We wish to acknowledge at the outset what a terrible impact COVID-19 is having on people’s lives. It is an extremely dangerous disease for certain categories of people, and is likely to wreak havoc on people’s livelihoods. In sending this letter, we do not seek to prioritise our concerns over those of others, but to explain clearly what our concerns are and to urge that, where the BSB can make reasonable adjustments to mitigate them, it should.”

(5)(1)

Mr Pooey Bum QC

Covid -ysteria is to be ignored, less people have died from it than annually die from flu. The testing regimes are highly flawed, picking up many false negatives. Most of those who catch it have NO symptoms.

Stop watching fake news (the mainstream media), and you’ll recover from Covid-hysteria in around 24 hours. Then go out and enjoy your life again.

(0)(1)

John Aked

Are you still think the same thoughs, as there is not much point of a job for a corpse!

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.

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