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M Law Exempting Bar Course

For those considering a career as a barrister, this is the course for you. Across years three and four of the programme, you will complete both your qualifying law degree and the Bar Course.

On successful completion, you will be awarded the Masters in Law and may be called to the Bar by one of the four Inns of Court. It is the only undergraduate course of its kind in England and Wales and has the approval of the Bar Standards Board (BSB).

You will develop the core skills of a barrister including advocacy, conferencing and opinion writing. The majority of the Bar teaching team are qualified barristers. We provide many opportunities whilst on the course to gain work experience with barristers’ chambers (mini pupillage) and the judiciary (marshalling). Graduates of this course have secured pupillage and tenancy at both the independent and employed Bar and are also well suited to a range of careers in business, management and finance.

The only undergraduate course in England and Wales which incorporates the Bar Course

In Years 1 and 2, all students follow the same programme, before joining the M Law Exempting (Bar Course) in Year 3. In order to progress onto Year 3 and the remainder of the Bar Exempting programme, students must achieve a minimum 55% average following the Year 2 assessments. Additionally, please note that the Bar Standards Board has proposed other entrance criteria for the Bar Course, which will also apply to this route.

In Years 3 and 4, undergraduate subjects are combined with those from the stand alone Bar Course. Modules include optional subjects and a research dissertation plus the Bar Course knowledge and case skills modules. The latter include criminal and civil litigation, advocacy, conferencing, opinion writing, drafting and resolution of disputes out of court.

Overall, students will graduate with a law degree, exemption from the Bar Course and an integrated master’s. They will be eligible to enter pupillage or seek a number of other legal and non-legal careers.

Please note: Admission to this route is not guaranteed and is dealt with on a competitive basis. 


Module Information

Students will take the same modules as other M Law programmes as well as the following additional Bar modules:

  • Advocacy (Witness Handling)
  • Civil Advocacy
  • Civil Litigation, Evidence and Remedies
  • Conference Skills
  • Criminal Litigation, Evidence and Sentencing
  • Drafting
  • Ethics
  • Opinion Writing
  • Resolution of Disputes out of Court (REDOC)




Learn from the best

The majority of our academic staff are qualified solicitors or barristers, with considerable experience of legal practice. Our staff are active researchers, publishing on a number of legal topics. We have expertise in a range of areas, including an international reputation in the fields of evidence and criminal justice studies.

Our staff are committed to ensuring that you learn in a way that equips you for a professional career.  The practical expertise of our academic staff and the focus on excellence in teaching, ensures the course is of a consistently high standard, designed to meet the practical needs of our students. You will also benefit from our close links with the legal profession.

The quality and expertise of our teaching and staff has been recognised through a wide variety of awards and nominations including:

-          Attorney General’s Pro Bono Award

-          Law Teacher of the Year Award

-          Northern Law Awards

-          Student Led Teaching Awards


Teaching and Assessment

This course is focused on learning the law through a range of innovative approaches. The important feature of both LLB and MLaw in the first two common years is that the theory of law and practice are taught together. This approach enhances understanding of law. 

You will develop professional expertise by working in our multi award-winning Student Law Office. In this environment you will represent real clients under the supervision of our legally qualified staff, developing the legal and transferable skills needed to succeed in the workplace.

You will be able to tailor the programme to your interests by selecting from a range of legal options. You can choose to study a range of specialist legal areas taught by experts and will be able to develop customised knowledge and analytical skills through a dissertation or work/practice orientated project.

You will learn advanced analytical, intellectual and communication skills, essential for the modern workplace. This will be achieved through the use of innovative teaching methods with an emphasis on practical learning and interactive teaching approaches including lectures and small group sessions.  The use of technology, such as bespoke web-based materials, lecture recordings, electronic reading lists and online support enhances your learning experience.

The course embraces a variety of different assessment formats including open and closed book examinations, multiple choice tests, coursework, portfolios, presentations and a dissertation/work based project. You will be supported in preparing for assessments via feedback provided during teaching sessions, through opportunities to submit practice answers and by accessing technology such as recorded lectures and online practice tests.

Learning Environment

Northumbria Law School is based in City Campus East, located on a purpose built £70 million, multi-award winning development in central Newcastle. Our modern building has excellent teaching facilities, including lecture theatres, classrooms and IT hubs, which makes for an inviting workspace. There are a variety of collaborative working zones, where you can work with your fellow students on group projects.

Our Student Law Office has dedicated premises consisting of PCs, client interview rooms with full recording facilities, and space for over a hundred students to be working on real legal cases at any time.

We also have a realistic courtroom in which you can develop your practical advocacy skills and stage mock trials.  You will have access to our specialist Law Practice Library which contains practitioner materials, journals and law reports.

caption: University Library

Research-rich Learning

Northumbria Law School is one of the largest law schools in the UK and is ranked 7th amongst UK law schools for research power in REF 2021.  We have a national and international reputation for excellence in legal education, enriched by the research excellence and professional practice expertise of our staff. This enhances your learning experience, giving you the very latest understanding of key legal issues.

During the course you will be introduced to a variety of research techniques. For example you will be required to find, read and interpret a range of materials to understand what the law is and use it to solve problems. You will also be able to apply your skills in the practical setting of the Student Law Office, researching the law and advising clients on their legal rights. The course culminates in an in-depth specialist research project drawing on your legal interests.

caption: Department Research

Give your career an edge

On successful completion of the MLaw Exempting Bar course you will be fully prepared for the demands of practice, and will be eligible for call to the Bar of England and Wales (subject to meeting the qualifying requirements of your Inn of Court).

At Northumbria, we aim to ensure that you are prepared in every way for pupillage selection and life as a barrister. The course will equip you with the skills, knowledge and values necessary for practice as an effective and successful legal professional.

Northumbria Law School is internationally-recognised as delivering excellence in training for the Bar, and we are an integral part of the local legal community. Local firms and practitioners often sponsor prizes celebrating student success on the programme – evidence of the high esteem in which our graduates are held and a remarkable opportunity for you to gain recognition.

Previous graduates have gone on to positions as barristers in Newcastle and all over England and Wales, as well as in Commonwealth jurisdictions across the globe.


Your Future

Graduates from this course have secured pupillage with Chambers throughout the country, including Trinity Chambers, Enterprise Chambers, New Park Court Chambers, Landmark Chambers, St John’s Chambers and College Chambers. Graduates are also well suited to enter a range of careers in government, politics, business, management and finance.

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