Bar regulator issues worldwide ban on online exams following allegations of ‘malpractice’

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From August 2023 💻❌

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has issued a worldwide ban on aspiring barristers sitting their exams online.

The regulator said the move followed the temporary suspension of the civil and criminal litigation assessments in Bangladesh and Pakistan amid allegations of “malpractice”. It confirmed an investigation had been launched but declined to provide further details.

The ban impacts students sitting all bar exams in every country, including the UK. It comes into effect from August 2023.

In a statement today the BSB said:

“These are high stakes, professional exams that are the gateway to practice at the Bar and it is critical that the assessment process is secure and robust. We have therefore taken the decision to cease to permit the use of online assessment delivery platforms by Bar training providers in any country from August 2023.”

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It continued: “We have informed Bar Training Providers and they will take the necessary steps to put that decision into action. We have not taken this decision lightly, we understand the benefits of a more flexible approach to assessment delivery, nevertheless, we are taking this precautionary measure because we cannot compromise on the integrity of the exams.”

Some, but not all, UK bar training providers allow students to sit assessments at overseas venues, according to the BSB’s website. It is the responsibility of the provider to make the relevant arrangements with the venue, pending regulatory approval.

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Progress often means going back to what was there before

Good. Roll that across generally. In person, no books, across the board. Separate the wheat from the chaff.



Barristers are full of excuses. Technological innovation is progress. If one centre cheats, ban that centre and tighten up standards. It seems like barristers live in a bye-gone era that they’re desperately trying to cling onto. Bundles and bundles of physical paper (and only white males who’re straight and old). Moreover, what about students who need online exams because of financial commitments or disability? Seems like an emotional reaction to an easily workable solution. The BSB and the Bar, in general, are out of touch. If I was younger i.e. 30 or below, I would pursue the Solicitors Advocate route instead, this to me, seems like the future of courtroom advocacy. The Bar with decisions such as these only has itself to blame.



Do you want some vinegar or salt for the chip on your shoulder? Talk about out of touch bitter prejudice.



I like the critical comment by “Progressivetradtionalman”, it has an oxymoron nature to it. Like a guy who tries to be “woke” or “liberal” but gets it all wrong despite their best efforts. Very Alan Patridge. The comment is ageist, awkward and absolutely awful. The comment that describes young as “30” and below is very 1990s.


An On E Mouse

As the average age is increasing, if young meant 30 and under in the 90s presumably it means what 35 and older now? You are the one that seems to reek of prejudice and ageism while attempting to call someone out for it. You lack of self-awareness is noted.



Haha. How is the ICCA Bar course going to work now? The BSB have shot themself in the foot. And remember, ALLEGATIONS of malpractice are very different from EVIDENCE of malpractice. That would be my argument if I was a provider that relies on online exams. The BSB does not want the profession to be accessible and modern. They want to keep it in the dark ages.


Are you a failed barrister then?

So we let lots of people cheat their way in in the meantime? What tripe! This is not a court of law, is there is a suspicion of malpractice or even a perceived risk of future malpractice then that should be enough to close down online professional exams as they have done. It is far far too easy to qualify these days and far far too many providers are in the market.


Five Hours for the Opinion Writing Paper

When I was on the BPTC, the staff were concerned by the huge numbers of students relying on reports written when they were aged 10 to allow them to have lots of extra time in exams when they were now aged 25.



To E An On Mouse. You kind of proof the second posters point i.e. that BSB is emotional. It’s totally disproportionate to ban all online exams because of mere allegations. You would make a very bad lawyer. Maybe this should go to court. Providers would stand a decent chance.



Meanwhile, in the real world, solicitors are trying to make the profession accessible to all regardless of background but on the criterion of ability and potential. Funny that.


It's May

Criterion is singular. You were referring to “ability and potential” so the plural, criteria, should be used. That is a red flag in my book for any applicant, trainee or aspiring solicitor. Basic stuff matters.



All that matters is my degree, my training contract, and my LPC grades. Cheers and drink on that!


Beasts are there to be made to work or be eaten

No prizes? No US scholarship? Are you just a basic fungible hours grinder?



To Beasts are there to be made to work or be eaten:

You sound like a soft public school boy who thinks the world of work is still about prizes and scholarships. The real world is about graft and knowing how to seal a deal. I’ll take the grafter any day of the week over the spoonfed simpleton. Perhaps, you should consider a profession at the English Bar with that pretentious attitude.


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