Regulator reveals law schools which offer best chance of passing bar course

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By William Holmes on


New BSB stats

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has revealed the law schools which offer aspiring barristers the best chance of passing their exams.

In order to become a practising barrister, the regulator requires candidates to complete three components: the academic study of the law (LLB or GDL), vocational study (the bar exam), and pupillage.

As of the end of December 2021, relative newcomer the Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) had the highest pass rate of 94%, with 35 of its 2021 cohort passing all all 10 modules.

The University of Law Birmingham and London branches both chalked up rates of 66% (58 and 131 passing students respectively), while it notched up an impressive 79% across its other sites (87 passing students).

City Law School narrowly missed out on silver, with a pass rate of 78% (277 students) for its 2021 cohort.

In total, 1,333 students passed the bar exam, equating to 65% of the total cohort of 2021.

Credit: BSB

BPP Manchester performed the best of the BPP sites with a 68% pass rate (94 students). BPP London scored 56% with 254 students passing.

The BSB report also separated out students by their degree classifications in their rankings, revealing a correlation between these classifications and the probability of passing the bar exams.

The average pass rates for those with first-class degrees across all law schools was 84% (367 passing students), compared to 65% for those with upper seconds (713) and 39% with lower seconds (253).

The BSB report does warn, however, that comparisons by degree class “represent a better comparative measure across providers, as provider’s student cohorts vary considerably by the proportion of students with different degree classifications”.

The BSB does not regulate the grading schemes awarded by each provider and further statistics on overall trends on a variety of issues including course fees, results, and progression to pupillage are due to be published in a separate report coming out next year.

The 2023 Legal Cheek Bar Course Providers List

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