Manchester Metropolitan University

Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC)

2017 entry

Features and benefits of the course

Specialist BPTC facilities

Recognising the challenging nature of barrister training, the Law School offers a number of specialist facilities for the use of students on the BPTC programme. Students benefit from specialist postgraduate study areas, personal chambers rooms, legal libraries, personal study areas plus a mock courtroom where students can practice their advocacy skills in a realistic legal environment.


We will provide you with the opportunity to hone your advocacy skills with many opportunities to understand the skills involved and to put them into practice. Our advocacy sessions far exceed the minimum hours set by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and we are very proud of the skills that our students develop during the course.

You will receive approximately 42 hours of criminal and civil advocacy plus assessments, which is over three times the minimum required by the BSB. We also offer Additional Classes with barristers who are in full time practice to give you further opportunities to develop your advocacy skills.

Additional Professional Programme (APP)

An innovative feature of Manchester Law School’s BPTC programme. The APP bridges the gap between student and professional life, and prepares you for the Bar. There is a whole range of extra curricula, career-boosting activities of which you can take advantage. From guest lectures provided by judges and clerks of chambers, to Pro Bono opportunities, the Student Law Society, mooting and other national competitions.

Practitioner Mentor Scheme

Each chambers group is allocated their own Practitioner Mentor, a locally based barrister who will be on hand to guide you along the path to practice.

Mediator Training Programme

We are exclusively offering the option to gain an additional independent professional qualification in mediation through the ADR group, normally costing £2,750 +VAT, at no extra cost to our BPTC students. 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.

Award-winning Faculty environment

At Manchester Law School you will have access to an outstanding Faculty building, housing spacious study and IT zones, laptop counters, cafes and coffee shops, and free WiFi.  You will benefit from highly modern facilities on our thriving campus too, at the heart of the UK’s second city.

Placement options

Pro Bono

Manchester Law School offers excellent Pro Bono opportunities, allowing students to undertake voluntary legal work with our partner organisations. Our dedicated careers adviser will provide assistance with finding mini pupillages and initiating new links to the profession. You will also receive support with careers from your tutors and you will have the opportunity to increase your network at our many events including external speakers and members of the Northern Circuit.

About the course

The BPTC focuses on developing highly practical skills and features an innovative 'mini-chambers' approach designed to mirror the real life working practices of a barrister. You will be placed in a group (or chambers) with 11 other students and be provided with a permanent, multimedia-equipped base room. You will be expected to 'perform' regularly in front of your fellow students to encourage the development of strong working relationships similar to a professional chambers.

The BPTC begins with a participative and dynamic induction programme introducing students to the highly practical BPTC, compared with academic study. Students are almost immediately offered the opportunity to network with local practitioners during a team building exercise and social event.  Following this induction, the remainder of the course features a combination of compulsory subjects and an opportunity to study two subjects of your choice, depending on your particular career aspirations.

BPTC Team - Our team has more than 180 years call between them

You will also take part in career prospect enhancing activities such as guest talks by judges and clerks of chambers, which are all ideal preparations for BPTC students seeking pupillage. An important feature of the course is the Additional Advocacy Classes provided by members of the Northern Circuit. Each chambers group will also receive classes on professional conduct from a working barrister acting as the group’s Practitioner Mentor. You will also receive the opportunity to gain an independent mediation qualification, included as part of the course.

As well as running a pro bono legal scheme, offering students opportunities to practise their skills on live legal projects, the Law School also enters teams of students into national competitions to test their skills in realistic situations.

The BPTC is taught by an experienced team of barristers. You predominantly learn through the mini-chambers system (requiring significant student preparation) and occasionally by traditional lecture. Teaching is complemented by online resources ranging from self-testing resources and podcasts, to advocacy demonstrations.

"The support and advice from the tutors, as well as the practical experience is invaluable."

Helen Longworth, BPTC | Full Time | 2015-2016

Typical units of study may include

Year 1

Core units:

  • Advocacy
  • Civil Litigation
  • Evidence and Remedies
  • Criminal Litigation Evidence and Sentencing
  • Professional Ethics
  • Opinion Writing
  • Drafting
  • Conference Skills
  • Resolution of Disputes out of Court

Elective units:

  • There are approximately eight elective subjects available to BPTC students, of which six will run depending on the popularity of each unit as chosen by the you. For part-time study, the four most popular will be selected.

Please note the delivery of each elective is subject to the requirement that there must be sufficient students selecting to study it.

Core Units
Advocacy Skills

The Advocacy Skills unit provides the skills necessary to prepare, present and respond to a case or legal argument before a court or other tribunal. The course is divided into unopposed submissions, opposed submissions and witness handling skills. You will be taught the necessary skills to prepare, manage, present and/or respond to a case or legal argument, both orally and in writing.

Civil Litigation

This unit provides knowledge, understanding and the ability to apply and evaluate the areas of civil litigation and remedies. It will cover practice procedure and evidence.

Conference Skills

This unit includes the practice of taking intructions from and advising lay clients. It provides the skills necessary to prepare for, structure, communicate, investigate and advise the client. You will learn general Conference skills, how to conduct a Conference with a client, and advising the client. You will also develop interpersonal skills in order to effectively communicate and respond appropriately to the client. 

Criminal Litigation Sentencing and Evidence

You will gain an understanding of procedures related to arrests, pre-trail issues, summary and jury trials, sentencing and appeals. You will develop your knowledge of the important  evidential rules that apply to criminal cases.


You will be introduced to the skills of drafting technical legal documents to be used at different stages of the legal proceedings. You will develop your general drafting skills, your understanding of style and terminology, remedies, including whether a range of remedies should be pursued and applicable time limits, contract and tort.

Opinion Writing

This units develops your skills in providing written advice to the instructing solicitor and lay client that is practical, reliable, clear and well presented. This unit is an integral part of the Civil course, which includes Civil Litigation, Opinion Writing, Advocacy and Drafting. These subjects are to be taught in a cohesive and complementary manner.
Furthermore, the units are integrated as part of the Criminal course. This enables you to appreciate the connectivity between all the subject/skills areas.

Professional Ethics

You will learn about the the fundamental concepts of professional and ethical values required of a practising barrister at the Bar of England and Wales. You will develop your knowledge and understanding of the philosophical issues and purposes underpinning ethical behaviour, including the concept of duty in professional life both to the client and to the rule of law. Topics covered also include You will develop an in-depth understanding of the requirements of the Code of Conduct and the Equality code.

Resolution of Disputes out of Court

The unit aims to provide knowledge and understanding of the various alternative methods of dispute resolution that fall outside the usual judicial process before courts or tribunals and may be exercised prior to a possible court hearing, or at any time during the litigation process, or prior to appeal. You will learn about the advisory representational and advocacy skills required of barristers during this process. 

Year 2

The part-time course is two years in length so you will cover all of the subjects listed for the full-time one year course but over a period of two years.  You will be required to attend one day per fortnight. 

Programme Review

Each programme of study that we offer undergoes an annual review to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. In addition, we undertake a major review of the programme, normally at 6-yearly intervals, but this can take place at a more frequent interval where required. Applicants should note that the programme currently provided may be subject to change as a result of the review process. We only make changes where we consider it necessary to do so or where we feel that certain changes are in the best interests of students and to enhance the quality of provision. Occasionally, we have to make changes for reasons outside our control. Where there are changes which may materially affect the current programme content and/or structure, offer holders will be informed.

Assessment details

Multiple choice examinations, short answer questions, practical skills assessments, and written examinations.

Additional Information About this Course

All study materials and text books are included in the course fee.

Teaching Staff

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject. Details of departmental staff can be found at:

Typical entry requirements

To be considered for a place on the BPTC, you will normally have to satisfy two criteria:

  • You will hold an LLB degree or have completed the GDL programme.
  • You will have obtained a pass in the Bar Aptitude Test.

BPTC students are selected primarily on academic ability and must have been awarded at least a 2:2 at first degree level, or international equivalent, although factors such as commitment to the profession, motivation and other skills will also be considered.

All BPTC offers are subject to the condition that students successfully complete the academic stage of their training to the Bar Standards Board's satisfaction and have enrolled as a student member of one of the Inns of Court.

International students please refer to This course requires IELTS of 7.5 in all elements of the test. Please note this is a requirement that differs from the University standard.

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

How do I apply for this course?

Applications through BPTC online - please visit the BSB website for details of how and when to apply.

Career options after the course

This course is aimed at preparing you for pupillage and life as a barrister, but the skills learned are applicable to a wide range of professions. Our graduates have a strong history of finding pupillage, or pursuing other careers in the legal sector.

"It’s the ideal place to study for a law degree as there is a thriving law community."

Lucy Mair | Barrister at Garden Court North Chambers | GDL and BPTC graduate from Manchester Law School

Simulating legal practice

With a focus on simulating realistic legal practice scenarios, our postgraduate law courses have been carefully designed to help you think and behave like a legal professional from the outset. The BPTC programme focuses on learning in an environment that mirrors practice, comprising highly interactive work in small "chambers" groups.

Dedicated careers support 

The Faculty of Business and Law’s dedicated careers adviser will provide assistance with finding mini pupillages and initiating new links to the profession. You will also receive support with careers from your tutors and you will have the opportunity to increase your links at our many events including external speakers and members of the Northern Circuit.

The wider Faculty's  Careers and Employability Service is at your disposal throughout your BPTC, and up to three years after you graduate.  With a focus on developing and enhancing your employability skills, there is a range of careers support services on offer during your time here including Professional Development Weeks and Pro Bono and Employability Fairs twice a year. 

Further information on the study of law

Professional regulators in the legal sector are currently conducting an extensive consultation about legal education and training.

This includes review about the routes and qualifications to become a barrister or solicitor.

The current route of a qualifying law degree (QLD) or the GDL and the BPTC to become a barrister will remain in place until summer 2018. The final decision on the BPTC is due to be made in Spring 2017, in time for the new approach to training to start taking effect from the 2018/19 academic year. Applications will commence for the new programmes in Autumn 2017.

Confirmation of Regulator

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Important Notice

This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate and up to date. Please note that our programmes are subject to review and development on an ongoing basis. Changes may sometimes be necessary. For example, to comply with the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies or as a result of student feedback or external examiners’ reports. We also need to ensure that our courses are dynamic and current and that the content and structure maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of the student experience.

Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us.

The provision of education by the University is subject to terms and conditions of enrollment and contract. The current Terms and Conditions Applicable to the provision of the University’s Educational Services are available online. When a student enrolls with us, their study and registration at the University will be governed by various regulations, policies and procedures. It is important that applicants/students familiarize themselves with our Terms and Conditions and the Key Contract Documents referred to within. Applicants will be provided with access to an up to date version at offer stage. This can be found within the Information for Offer Holders document.