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Information for Applicants of the Bar Courses

How to apply

Applications for our Bar Courses should be made online on the individual course page for the course you are applying for.

Please read the information on this information page carefully before you submit your application as it details deadlines that you need to be aware of and information about what to include in your application.

Once you are ready to apply - Click the ‘Apply Now’ button on the relevant Course page and follow the onscreen advice on how to start your application.

You should upload any documents when prompted to do so, such as your transcripts and certificates or English language qualifications. Failure to provide documents at the point of application may result in delays in processing your application.

Application Deadlines

Applications Open Soon

Deadline for applications 30th June 2020*.

*We still review applications after this date however you will be more likely be considered if you apply before this date.

Selection Criteria - what to include in your application

As well as academic achievements, we are also looking for applicants to demonstrate the following in their application:

  • Why do you want to be a Barrister? Please describe any experience that has led you to choose a career at the Bar.
  • Why do you want to study the Bar Course at Northumbria?
  • Legal work experience – please give details of legal work experience undertaken so far and please state why that experience has confirmed your determination to qualify as a Barrister.
  • Public speaking – Please give an example of when you have used your oral communication skills to communicate with an audience (e.g. mooting; debating; work/school/university presentations).
  • Working with others – Please give an example of an occasion where you have used your interpersonal skills to resolve an issue with others and describe how you resolved the issue.
  • About you – If you have not met the minimum academic requirements for entry to the Bar Course, please take this opportunity to give details of any personal extenuating circumstances that you feel adversely impacted on your academic performance.

You should cover these topics in the Personal Statement and Experience sections on the application form.

Entry requirements/Offer conditions

Applicants for the Bar Course at Northumbria should have achieved:

Academic Requirements

A minimum of a 2.1 in a Qualifying Law Degree. or A Graduate Diploma in Law with a Commendation* For applicant holding an International degree you will need a Certificate of Academics Standing (CoAS) before commencing the Graduate Diploma in law.

Please visit the Bar Standards Board for further information.

Information for applicants who do not hold the standard Academic Qualifications 

Exceptionally, applicants with an undergraduate law degree of 2:2 classification or a ‘Pass’ on the GDL will be considered if they can demonstrate:

(a) that their overall performance demonstrates that they were capable of achieving an upper second class degree (or Commendation, if they have taken the GDL) but that there is clear evidence of extenuating circumstances which adversely affected their performance; and/or

(b) Evidence of excellent academic performance subsequent to completion of the undergraduate law degree/GDL eg. ‘Commendation’ / ‘Merit’ or above at Master’s level; and

(c) Strength in other areas of the candidate’s application, such as mooting; debating; relevant work experience.

Candidates who have achieved a 2:2 at undergraduate law degree level or a ‘Pass’ on the GDL but who have strengths in other areas of their application may be invited to participate in an interview with academic staff, where the applicant’s application can be fully discussed and staff can better assess the applicant’s suitability for Bar training.

English Language Qualifications 

Applicants must exercise good English language skills. All applicants must have an effective command of the language and be able to use it appropriately, accurately and fluently so as to handle complex and detailed argumentation. Applicants must use correct English grammar, spelling and punctuation. 

Applicants must demonstrate that their English language ability is at least equivalent to: 

(a) a minimum score of 7.5 in each section of the IELTS academic test, or

(b) a minimum score of 73 in each part of the Pearson Test of English (academic).

All international applicants will be interviewed in order to establish fluency in English. Prior to interview applicants will be provided with a document setting out a topic or area on which they will be required to deliver a short presentation and engage in discussion.

This interview is in addition to the English Language Requirements for VISA purposes. Details of acceptable tests and exemptions for this purpose can be found here

If at any point during your studies the faculty feel your level of English Language is not at the required standard, you may be asked to take an IELTS or other recognised English Language test as per the English Language Declaration Form you will receive when you apply. 

Inn Membership

The Bar Standards Board mandate that applicants MUST have been admitted to an Inn of Court before commencing the Bar Course. Applicants can apply for the programme prior to joining an inn but will not receive an unconditional offer to join the Bar Course unless they can provide evidence of membership of an Inn of Court. 

Inn Membership becomes invalid if the Bar Course is not commenced within 5 years from date of admission to the Inn.

For more information on joining an inn, please visit Inn Membership.

Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) 

Applicants must take and pass the BCAT before commencing the Bar Course. Applicants may apply for the programme prior to passing the BCAT but will not receive an unconditional offer to study on the Bar Course until they have provided evidence they have passed.  Applicants should note that the BCAT result is valid for a period of 5 years from the date of receiving the BCAT result.

A fee will be required by the Bar Standards Board for this test. For more information please visit Bar Standards Board. 

Submitting evidence that you have met the conditions

You should upload evidence to the applicant portal that you have met the relevant conditions as soon as possible by the deadlines below:

10th June 2020

• Inn of Court Membership proof.

• IELTS or recognised equivalent and/or English Language Declaration Form*.

• BPTC Aptitude test.

31st July 2020

Proof of Qualifying Law Degree OR Graduate Diploma in Law. 

If you are due to receive your academic results after the 31st July you should inform the admissions team as soon as possible.

Applicants who are applying via Agents 

If you are applying via an education agent you should indicate this on your application form, in the Agent Section. 

If you have an agent, and have not specified this on your application form please download the agent nomination form, and send back the completed form to fc.agent@northumbria.ac.uk.

Scholarships for Bar Course Applicants

Details of scholarships open to Bar Course applicants can be found here soon.

Visa information for Bar Applicants

If you are currently studying an LLM in the UK on a Tier 4 Visa and your qualification will not be awarded until after the Bar Course has commenced please read this section carefully.

UKVI visa regulations require applicants to successfully complete their previous course of study in order to demonstrate academic progression. UKVI provides allowances for applicants who will not be awarded their qualification prior to commencing their next programme. Please note, this section only applies to LLM’s and not LLB’s. Please note you cannot use this to fulfil the English Language requirement whilst still uncompleted.

UKVI require applicants to provide:

5.26 Formal written confirmation from the current sponsor should state that, based on the student’s performance throughout the course, the sponsor deems that the student is highly likely to complete their course successfully.

Therefore, in order for Northumbria University to issue you with a CAS before your LLM is awarded we require the following:

  • Fulfilment of all conditions stated on offer letter and payment of deposit
  • Official LLM transcript that shows you have passed all modules other than your LLM. Please note if you require any resists in your LLM we will not issue you with a CAS to study the BPTC / LLM Bar Practice programme
  • Original letter from your current institution on letter headed paper, signed and bearing the university stamp, which confirms that based on the your performance throughout the LLM course, the sponsor deems that the you are highly likely to complete their course successfully. Please note that you must keep the original letter as you will require this for your visa application.

M Law Bar Courses

Northumbria offers its current LLB students the opportunity to apply for the Bar Course (Exempting) in their second year of their undergraduate law degree at Northumbria University.

Inn Membership

Applicants for the M Law Bar Course (Exempting) MUST have been admitted to an Inn of Court before commencing the third year of their degree. Applicants should note that the usual deadline for applying for Inn membership is 31st May in the second year of their degree (though this date is subject to change).

Academic requirements

Applicants for the M Law Bar Course (Exempting) degree should have achieved:

(a) An average of a 2:2 in the second year of their degree;

(b) A ‘Pass’ in the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT).

Language requirements

In order to gain admission to the Bar Course (Exempting) degree, applicants must be fluent in English regardless of their first language by the time of application for entry to the Bar Course aspect of the M Law degree (i.e. by the second year of their degree). According to the Bar Standard Board, a candidate will be fluent in English if they have achieved:

(a) a minimum score of 7.5 in each section of the IELTS academic test,

or

(b) a minimum score of 73 in each part of the Pearson Test of English (academic).


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