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  • Want to be a top flight barrister? Manchester Law School will give you the best preparation possible.

    Highly successful, practising lawyers, and our very own district judges. As one of the best law schools in the UK, Manchester Law School’s BPTC boasts an excellent teaching team too.

  • 120% more advocacy than BSB advise. Accredited mediator training programme. Great Pro Bono opportunities. The widest choice of specialist ‘options.’

    Manchester Law School’s BPTC prepares you for the Bar from the outset.

  • BPTC part-time day release option.

    Study for your BPTC part-time; gain all the advantages of attending Manchester Law School and working at the same time.

Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC)

If you have ambitions of becoming a successful barrister then the BPTC at Manchester Law School is definitely the course for you.

Led by a highly experienced team of practising barristers, who enjoy privileged links with the Northern Circuit and some of the region’s most esteemed law firms, our connections alone are a distinct advantage. Our state-of-the-art facilities at the heart of the UK’s second largest legal hub – part of Manchester Metropolitan’s recent £75 million investment – also give the BPTC at Manchester Law School the edge. However, it’s our unique and innovative approach to teaching which really sets our course apart from other UK BPTC  providers.

Equipping you with the rigorous practical skills, and knowledge you’ll need to excel, our leading BPTC course offers the best possible training for future barristers:

  • Approximately 120% more advocacy than the minimum set by the Bar Standards Board
  • Real-life ‘mini chamber groups’ which mirror practice
  • Voice projection training
  • Guest ‘Judge’ speakers and endless career enhancing opportunities
  • An integral accredited mediation qualification at no additional cost

Choose a study option to suit your lifestyle

At Manchester Law School we offer the full-time study option but understand that this is not an ideal route for everyone. Therefore we are now offering the BPTC as a part-time course too.*

  • Study one day a fortnight for two years
  • Spread payment acoss the two years
  • Enjoy the same benefits as full-time students
  • The only validated part-time BPTC course in Manchester

From day one, we’re focused on helping you achieve your ambitions.

When it comes to securing your pupillage, we’re just as focused.  Our dedicated law careers adviser and employability team will go out of their way to ensure you have all the support you need to flourish.

Studying your BPTC in Manchester could be considered a much more attractive proposition than studying BPTC courses in London. In Manchester you can look forward to an extremely affordable lifestyle. Travel, accommodation and food are all very reasonably priced.  Find out more about the attractive costs of living in Manchester, and why Manchester is considered a better place to live than London, here.

*subject to number of course applications

Prepare for the Bar...

The BPTC’s innovative ‘mini – chambers’ approach to learning enables you to practice your skills and ‘perform’ in front of your fellow students. Not only will this style of learning mirror practice, it will also boost your confidence and help enhance your oral skills.

The Bar Standards Board lays down the minimum specification for advocacy exercises, Manchester Law School offers 120% more than the advised 12.

Qualifying for the Bar

In order to be called to the Bar, you will need to complete

12 qualifying units, which are “educational and collegiate activities arranged by or on behalf of the Inn(s)” all designed to prepare you for practice. As well as the obvious networking opportunities we’ve mentioned, you can also look forward to practical training and workshops. Though qualifying sessions are in London, there are numerous activities, and education days outside of London for you to look forward to. If you think about the cost of living in London, compared to studying in law in Manchester and travelling to London for your qualifying units – there is no comparison!

Here are all the ways you can qualify:

  • Attendance at weekends either in the Inn or at a residential centre such as Cumberland Lodge (3 units)
  • Education Days
  • Education Dinners (with lectures or talks)
  • Domus Dinners (when students and seniors dine together)
  • Social Dinners (such as Grand Night/student guest nights/dinners at the providers)

The weekends count as 3 units, the days count as 2 units and dinners and Call Night count as 1 unit.

Study the Mediator Training Programme

Manchester Law School is now offering anyone who studies the BPTC the chance to obtain an additional independent professional qualification in mediation, at no extra cost!

The programme is practically orientated and focused on equipping you with the skills you need to perform well at mediation – either as a representative or as a mediator – and leads to ADR Group Accredited Mediator Status.

How does the educational programme work?

The educational programmes are skill based and intensely practical with over 70% of your time spent in hands-on observed mediation sessions. The programme is presented by highly experienced tutors and mediation practitioners who give comprehensive feedback and guidance throughout.

Give yourself a real competitive advantage

Clients are increasingly conscious of the cost benefits of mediation and expect their lawyers to offer it as a viable alternative to traditional litigation. Law firms are actively recruiting people who can offer mediation and mediation advocacy skills.

Qualifiying as an Accredited Mediator with ADR Group would usually cost you £2,750 + VAT, however Manchester Law School is offering the programme completely free with the BPTC and is the only provider of this programme in the North West.

“It gives a lawyer the ‘x-factor'”
Thomas, previous BPTC student 

Inns & Events

As you will already know, having researched what it takes to become a barrister… joining an Inn, is a fundamental requirement of your qualification process. The Inns experience is truly exhilarating, not only will you have the chance to network with highly experienced barristers, you’ll also get to dress up beautifully too, with regular black tie events and dinners. These societies provide BPTC students and barristers with exceptional opportunities, including pastoral support, and access to exclusive facilities: libraries, lunching and dining facilities, common rooms and gardens.

Have you got the aptitude?

We are very glad that you are seriously thinking of pursuing a career at the Bar. But we must make you aware of how demanding studying for the Bar is.

  • Have a high level of intellectual ability
  • Are highly articulate in written and spoken English
  • Can think and communicate under pressure
  • Have determination and stamina and are emotionally robust
  • The aptitude test

This year the Bar Standard Board is introducing an aptitude test, which all prospective BPTC students will have to take, to ensure they have the necessary skills and aptitude to succeed on the BPTC. To make sure you’re fully prepared, we’ve included a great deal of information about the bar aptitude test here. But you can find out more via the Bar Standards Board.

What is the test?

The BCAT is an online test – 60 questions in 1 hour – designed to test the aptitudes/skills needed for the BPTC – it does not test legal knowledge, but reasoning skills. The questions may have a legal ‘flavour,’ but no revision is necessary.  There is a pass mark of 34% although you won’t be given your final mark. The test questions will be drawn from a question bank and will be randomly generated each time the test is taken.

Is it possible to prepare/be coached for the test?

The administrators of the test (Pearson) say not.  As the test is designed to test aptitude this is not something that can be learned or coached.  The test is based on the Watson-Glaser critical reasoning test.  You will find many resources and practice questions for the bar aptitude test online.

Are there any practice papers available?

Not at the moment, but a practice paper is being prepared and the aim of the Bar Standards Board (BSB) is that this should be available before the test goes live.  The practice paper will effectively be a mock.  It will be free and open to anyone to have a go.  The test will be timed but if you do not complete the practice paper in time you will be able to carry on until you finish.  The practice test will not provide you with a mark, however you will receive immediate feedback telling you whether the BPTC is suitable for you.  The practice test will be static in that there will be one practice test only and this will not change.  Currently, it isn’t clear where the practice test will be located, so keep checking the BSB website to find out more.

When is the test ‘proper’ available?

For this year only there is relatively small window of opportunity to take the test, from 03.04.13 until 30.07.13.

Where will the test be taken?

The test is being administered by Pearson in conjunction with the BSB.  (The people who deliver the driving theory test and have test centres around the UK and worldwide. When you book a test you will be provided with details of their nearest centres, which you can then choose from.

Identity checks will be carried out in the same way as for the driving test to ensure that the genuine candidate is taking the test.

How will candidates find out about results?

The results are immediate as the test is marked on line.  The candidate will not be given a score, they will be told whether they have passed, have failed in a marginal way or failed in a major way.

How often can a candidate take the test? Are resits possible?

Resits are possible, a candidate may retake the test on as many occasions as they choose, HOWEVER a period of 30 days must elapse between attempts.  So you can see that this will certainly limit the number of attempts a candidate may have for this year when there is a small period during which the test can be taken.

Does a pass in the test last forever?

No, there will be a period of validity.  It will go ‘stale’ after a period of time that has not yet been specified,.

How much will it cost?

The cost of sitting the test will be £150 in UK/EU, whilst it is £170 in the rest on the world.

What happens next year?

The plan is for the test to be available at a much earlier stage – in the Autumn, as BPTC online applications open.

The APP that helps you excel

The Additional Professional Programme (APP) is an innovative feature of Manchester Law School’s BPTC. Bridging the gap between student and professional life, the APP prepares you for the bar perfectly. Advocacy classes (provided by members of the Northern Circuit) offer essential opportunities to practice your negotiation, interviewing and general courtroom skills. Each chambers group has their very own Practitioner Mentor;  a locally based barrister who will be on hand to guide you along the path to practice.

There are a whole range of supplementary career boosting extra-curricular activities which you can take advantage of.  From voice projection tutoring, and guest lectures provided by judges and clerks of chambers, to Pro Bono opportunities, the Student Law Society, mooting competitions and even prison tours.

Power your prospects

We won’t disillusion you, the BPTC is a very demanding, and highly competitive course. And the challenges don’t stop once you’ve completed the BPTC.  Once you have your qualification, the next step is to secure your Pupillage. It is therefore absolutely crucial that you gain as much vital ‘real-life’ experience as possible whilst studying the BPTC at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Though our innovative ‘mini chambers’ teaching will give you a real insight to life as a barrister, there are a whole host of career enhancing opportunities you can take advantage of. From Pro Bono schemes that let you put your practical skills to the test in live legal situations, and national competitions in mooting, negotiation and mediation, through to exclusive training experiences. The BPTC at Manchester Law School offers a diverse range of activities for you to get involved in. All designed to give you the edge.


Exclusive study resources for BPTC students

Because the BPTC is one of the most intensive of UK law courses, at Manchester Law School we go that bit further. (all providers are required to provide dedicated facilities). Our leading teaching facilities feature dedicated spaces, specifically designed with the needs of our BPTC students in mind, including base rooms, a mock courtroom (fully equipped for DVD-recording.) Plus, we have an additional Resource Area, exclusively reserved for those on the BPTC law course. Here you’ll find lots of useful practitioner texts.

As you’d expect with any modern UK law course, the BPTC at Manchester Law School, has IT at its heart.

Alongside an exclusive BPTC IT suite, there are a number of PCs and connection points for laptops in all base rooms. Whether you’re preparing assessments, carrying out research or getting ready for one of the BPTC’s mini chamber sessions, these leading law course facilities provide an invaluable resource.

Electronic learning is supported by Manchester Law School’s online learning system, Moodle. When you enroll you’ll receive a personal Moodle account, and you will also be fully trained on how to get the most from this exceptional learning tool. If you’re studying the BPTC part-time, you’ll find Moodle really useful – it will enable you to manage your time, and reduces the need for traditional lectures.

Support when you need it

Personal ‘chambers’ tutors, the BPTC Director and the BPTC Pastoral Care Director all work together to provide a caring and supportive course infrastructure. The BPTC is a tough law course, so knowing that you have an expert pastoral team on hand is extremely reassuring. You’ll have the opportunity to meet with your personal tutor on a regular basis to ensure you are on track and progressing well.

If you need additional student and learning support, find out who best to contact here.

A well connected teaching team

This law course is taught by the people who know best, professional barristers, with a first-hand understanding of what’s needed to excel.

Legal experts, dedicated professionals… Manchester Law School’s BPTC has a wealth of experience. Committed to bringing law to life, they are talented, driven and focused on helping you succeed. 92% are barristers, and have between 9 to 25 years call; including 4 mediators & 2 arbitrators, and we have a Deputy District Judge on our teaching team.

The outstanding, and influential links our lecturers have fostered with both the Northern Circuit and national leading law firms, places Manchester BPTC students at a distinct advantage.

Manchester. The London of the North.

Studying the BPTC in London has long been considered the ‘ideal’ route to the Bar. However, with the rise in the cost of living, students are getting wise to the fact that a Manchester university BPTC is the wiser option. Do not be phased by the fact that Inns are London based – there are many other qualifying activities to get involved with and sessions on the Northern Circuit are readily available.

Previously there was a mis-conception that those who studied the BPTC at Manchester Law School would only do so if they intended to practice in Manchester… Each year we carry out a survey to find out where our students are now practising. In recent years BPTC graduates were found to be practicing in Mauritius, Malaysia, Cyprus, London, Southampton, to name just a few places!

Just because you’ve studied at Manchester Law School doesn’t mean your future law career is restricted to Manchester.

The BPTC at Manchester opens up worldwide opportunities.

Preparing for Pupillage & Practice

At the start of the academic year Manchester Law School’s BPTC students enjoy a 2 hour pupillage forum, as part of APP. Paul Whatley [ex Manchester Law School student], Head of Pupillage at Cobden House will help you prepare for pupillage by taking you through the application and interview process. You’ll be able to learn first hand from former students too. Because the BPTC is highly competitive we realise that many students will not have secured pupillage by the end of the course, so in term 3 we hold a number of lunch-time recruitment events. In addition to which, some of the region’s best law firms offer excellent placement opportunities for BPTC students.

[1] Legal Practice Clerks [‘LPC’]

LPC are a national advocacy agency. They take somewhere between 7 and 20 students each year to act as advocates during mortgage possession hearings, infant approval hearings and small claims trials. Advocates can earn up to £25,000 to £30,000 per year and gain invaluable advocacy experience whilst looking for pupillage. LPC provide excellent training. Students are paid every fortnight for cases conducted, and all travel expenses are taken care of. Not only does this expose students to the Northern Circuit, on which they may intend to practice, regularly appearing against members of the Junior Bar; a year working with LPC can secure a 3 month pupillage reduction. The majority of LPC staff leave because they obtain pupillage.

[2] Last year Quest Legal, a new Manchester based Advocacy Agency kindly came in and presented to students for the first time – an invaluable experience for our BPTC students.

[3] Peninsula Employment take a number of our students each year, to act as advocates at Employment Tribunals.

[4] Vista, also take a number of BPTC Manchester Law School students to act as advocates at Employment Tribunals. This has been a successful pupillage route for a number of Manchester Law School graduates.

[5] Many of our BPTC students go on to work as in house advocates for leading UK law firms, (such as Addleshaws, Clyde & Co, DWF & Keoghs) all of whom recruit via their own website and some of whom are applying for RPO [Registered Pupillage Organisation] status.

Find out more about how to apply for pupillage in Paul Whatley’s Pupillage Handbook.

What next after the BPTC?

Though the BPTC is designed to prepare you for both pupillage and life at the Bar, the skills  the BPTC equips you with are invaluable for a whole range of professions. Manchester Law School BPTC graduates have a strong history of either securing pupillage or taking up alternative positions within the legal sector. You will learn so many transferable skills, including the ability to analyse, reason and debate.

What’s your strategy?

Recently, Alex Aldridge wrote an insightful journalistic piece on what it takes to survive law school. Within it he offers some great advice for BPTC students.

‘With its advocacy component and associated inns of court dinners, the BPTC is widely regarded as sexier than the GDL and LPC courses. But the tricky drafting and opinion writing components that students must complete, alongside hefty procedural law modules, make it just as challenging.

Given the extra-curricular commitments, such as mooting, that prospective barristers are expected to fulfil in addition to their study, doing well on the BPTC requires a degree of strategising, suggests Jack Harris, a City Law School alumni who’ll commence pupillage next year at a leading Bristol barristers’ chambers. He advises:

“Look at what you have to do. Look at why you have to do it. Are you going to be assessed on it? And how extensively? Find the quickest route to completing the work in a way which means you have learned what you need to learn. If you won’t be assessed on the evolution and history of rule, and don’t think it will help your understanding of the rule proper, yet find a large chunk of your reading is devoted to this topic: skip it.”

Helpful advice

You will find helpful advice on the following websites:

Find out more about the Bar, and preparing for your career as a barrister here.

And find the latest stats on the BSB website.

For entry requirements, fees and detailed course info, view our online prospectus here.

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Steph Varle

“The impressive multi-million pound re-build of the Law School houses state of the art lecture theatres, base rooms and excellent IT facilities. Most importantly, the staff are dedicated, knowledgeable and approachable; many having formerly worked in legal practice. I was consistently able to ask for help from tutors, as their doors were always open.”

Case Study:
Suzanne Hargraves

The facilities are fantastic; we are taught in small chambers groups of about eight students, which I feel is a real strength. We’re given a chambers room as well which means we’ve always got somewhere we can actually sit and study. In addition to that, we have access to the main library facilities as well as our own BPTC library.