Bar Vocational Course

Bar Vocational Course

The Bar Vocational Course (usually termed the BVC) is a graduate course that is completed by those wishing to be called to the Bar, i.e. to practise as a barrister in England and Wales. The ten institutes that run the BVC along with the four Inns of Court are often collectively referred to as 'Bar School'.

This vocational stage is the second of the three stages of legal education, the first being the academic stage and the third being the practical stage, i.e. pupillage. No person can practise as a barrister unless he has successfully completed this course. [citebook|title=Bewigged and Bewildered: Pupillage and a Career at the Bar |author= Adam Kramer|year=2007|publisher=Hart Publishing|id=ISBN 1841136514]

Entry requirements

Although the minimum entry requirements for the BVC is a qualifying law degree with no less than lower second class (2:2) honours, or a degree in another subject with no less than 2:2 honours in addition to a pass in the in the Common Professional Examination (CPE), applicants for the BVC should demonstrate a strong academic profile (preferably upper Second Class Honours degree and above from a leading university and excellent extracurricular activities). Additionally, a suitable candidate should provide strong evidence of a commitment to the English Bar.

In 2006: [ [ Statistics ] ]
*3,227 students applied for the BVC,
*1,932 got a place,
*1,425 passed the BVC,
*598 got pupillage,
*544 got tenancy.

As a result of the apparent over-supply of barristers, the Bar Standards Board recently considered four controversial proposals:

* Capping the number of BVC places
* Deferring call till the completion of pupillage
* Raising the minimum entry standards to a 2:1 degree (implemented into some BVC offering institutions)
* Mandating a minimum IELTS score of 7.5/9 for foreign students (implemented into some BVC offering institutions)

As of 2008, only two of these proposals have been able to find enough support to be implemented.

Course options

The course bridges the gap between academic study and the practical work of a barrister by teaching subjects with which a practising barrister will need to be familiar with. Core modules include:

* Criminal Advocacy
* Civil Advocacy
* Drafting
* Opinion Writing
* Client Conferencing
* Negotiation
* Criminal Litigation and Sentencing
* Civil Litigation and Evidence
* Legal Research
* Case Preparation and Analysis
* Professional Conduct and Ethics
* Two optional modules (these vary from institute to institute)


Students successfully completing the course may be awarded the overall grade of “Outstanding”, “Very Competent” or “Competent”.

* To gain the award of “Outstanding” a candidate must have passed all assessments at the first attempt and must achieve either an overall mark of 85% or above, or six or more grades in the outstanding category.

* To gain the award of “Very Competent” a candidate must have failed no more than one assessment at the first attempt and must achieve either an overall mark 70% or eight or more grades in the very competent or outstanding categories.

* To gain the award of “Competent” a candidate must pass each assessment subject to the rules governing the opportunity to re-sit.



See also

*Law Society of England and Wales
*Bar Council
*List of areas of law

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