The Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) has applied to the Bar Standards Board (BSB) to be authorised to deliver a new Bar Course that will replace the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).
The ICCA said the new course “sets out to lower the cost of training and has been designed to reduce risk dramatically and increase flexibility for students through its innovative two-part delivery”.
If approved, the course will be delivered in two parts from Autumn 2020.
Part one will be knowledge-based and delivered online using cutting-edge digital tools, ICCA said. It will incorporate multimedia resources such as films, podcasts and quizzes to allow students to engage with the course material interactively. “It will also include a number of bespoke case studies, which will help to apply more abstract knowledge required within the curriculum to real-life scenarios.”
The ICCA added that Part one would have a guide time of between 12-16 weeks to complete and there would be an opportunity for students to exit the course after this point with no further financial commitment if they decide not to continue.
“The new course structure is flexible to enable students longer to complete part one should work, caring or other commitments require this, and they will be able to study this part of the course at any time of day and from any location,” it said.
Part two of the course will run for 20 weeks, with intake scheduled twice yearly, and will be undertaken in person within the precincts of the Inns of Court. Part two will be dedicated to skills teaching, preparing students for potential future pupillages and a career at the Bar. There will be practical advocacy courses including essential specialist sessions on vulnerable witness advocacy, youth justice proceedings and expert witness handling.
The ICCA said it would charge £12,225 overall which would be split between £1,000 for part one and £11,225 for part two. These fees include all teaching materials, required practitioner texts and assessment fees. Students will also need to cover the cost of the BSB’s ‘intake fee’ which has been set at £575 for part one and £295 for part two. The overall cost will therefore be £13,095.
Derek Wood QC, Chair of the ICCA Governors, said: “We are delighted to be announcing this new Bar Course, which will provide students with greater flexibility, high standards of teaching and less financial commitment upfront.”
The course will be offered on a ‘not-for-profit’ basis, he added.
Richard Atkins QC, Chair of the Bar, remarked, “As the Approved Regulator, the Bar Council welcomes greater competition in the market. The proposed ICCA course also seeks to drive down the cost to students of qualifying for the Bar and this is also something that the Bar Council encourages.”