Inns of Court College of Advocacy makes it easier to get a top grade on Bar Course after discovering some rival law schools have lower grade boundaries

Avatar photo

By Thomas Connelly on


85% to 80% = Outstanding

The Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) has made it easier for aspiring barristers to achieve top marks on its Bar Course.

The bar training provider confirmed last week it had taken the decision to drop the overall percentage mark required to obtain an ‘Outstanding’ from 85% to 80%. The move came after it “discovered that some Bar Training Providers have lower grade boundaries”, according to an email sent to former students and seen by Legal Cheek.

There are three types of pass grade on the bar course — Pass, Very Competent and Outstanding — but no standardised approach across providers as to the percentage mark required to achieve them. So we find ourselves in the strange situation where it’s possible for two bar students at different providers to achieve different final grades despite achieving the same overall percentage score.

The London-based provider said it “hoped that there would be a common template for the transcripts for final outcomes under the new Bar training regime, but this has not come to pass.”

The 2022 Legal Cheek Bar Course Providers List

Although the ICCA said the adjustment was to ensure its pupillage seekers were not disadvantaged, it confirmed it could not “retrospectively adjust any previous outcomes which were governed by a previous set of Academic Regulations”. This includes the unlucky group of bar hopefuls who are set to receive their final marks later this month.

In a bid to appease former students who feel hard done by, the ICCA has offered to “contextualise” the final grades in any pupillage applications by writing a letter to chambers. This, it added, will “explain the change we have recently made and the different basis upon which you were assessed”.

The Legal Cheek Bar Course Providers Most List shows the ICCA is a not-for-profit education and training organisation connected to the four ancient Inns of Court — Lincoln’s Inn, Inner Temple, Middle Temple and Gray’s Inn — of which all barristers in England and Wales must be members. It welcomed its first budding barristers in September 2020.

For the latest news, commercial awareness insight, careers advice and events:

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Newsletter

Related Stories

Bar exams: BSB stats reveal widely differing pass rates among providers

New figures -- focusing on centralised assessments only -- show average pass rates ranging between 92% and 18%

Sep 2 2021 9:33am

BSB reveals bar exam pass rates following summer proctoring problems

Scores consistent with previous years, says regulator -- if you don't count students who encountered IT issues

Oct 15 2020 1:15pm

Inns of Court strike bar course deal with King’s College London

First cohort of budding barristers start this September

Feb 6 2020 8:58am