Bristol Law School at UWE (BTC)
The Legal Cheek View
The “main thing” that attracts future BTCers to the University of the West of England (UWE) is price. At £15,750 it’s “amongst the cheapest of the providers” and “better value for money than most”, report recent graduates. If you feel the BTC is little more than the next stepping stone, you may as well “save your money and do it with nice people at low cost”, says a UWE aspiring barrister.
Despite being “cheap compared to others”, the BTC at UWE is “fit for purpose” reports a student insider. The lecturers are “knowledgeable”, “highly competent” and “for the most part approachable”. Students also appreciate the “good teaching support”, including “very helpful feedback” that’s given. Most tutors are practicing barristers.
You’ve still got to “work hard”, warns another BTCer. It’s a rigorous course, with some of the highest levels of contact time of any BTC, and puts a heavy focus on academics as well as bar practice. Most of it is taught through small group sessions, so while help is at hand, you’ll be more exposed in class and that means you’ve got to put the work in. A broad choice of electives will keep you going though. Aside from the usual modules such as criminal, commercial and family law, BTCers can also choose from international trade, refugee and asylum law as well as clinical negligence.
The active careers service at UWE also appeals to BTCers. The Law Court Clinic, which operates at the Civil Justice Centre in Bristol, sparks a lot of student interest. BTCers get the chance to experience life at the main civil court in Bristol, and represent clients primarily in relation to domestic violence issues, children residence and housing evictions. The pro bono opportunities are pretty good and will increase your chances of obtaining pupillage. You can also sign up to family, criminal and commercial advocacy competitions, or teach legal skills to LLB undergrads.
You’ll need all the experience you can get if you want to practise in Bristol – compared to London, the Western Circuit only hands out a select few pupillages each year. But the Bristol law school does have good links to the local bar and chambers, and the capital isn’t too far away.