Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC)

Attend a course fair How to apply
Attend a course fair How to apply


If your goal is to become a barrister, the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) at Manchester Law School is designed to provide you with the best possible skills, experience and training to prepare you for a successful career.  We offer advocacy training and group sessions that offer true-to-life mock trials, assessments, 'mini chambers' and real-life legal work experience opportunities. 

Manchester Law School has a proud history of providing barrister training in the North West and as a result has outstanding links to both the local legal profession and the Northern Circuit (Chambers in Cheshire, Liverpool, Manchester and Preston).  Practitioners from the Northern Circuit will provide you with Additional Advocacy Classes for students and are on-hand at regular events to offer advice about your future as a barrister and obtaining pupillage. 

You can expect exceptionally high standards of tutoring and a wealth of pro bono opportunity. We will support you preparing pupillage applications, with access to our specialist careers service.

If you are considering applying for the BPTC and have any questions about the course, or you wish to query something about an application you have already submitted, please do not hesitate to contact the BPTC team by emailing The team will respond to your email as soon as possible.

"From the very first moment that I walked into Manchester Law School, I felt that the BPTC staff treated me with the kind of respect owed to a fellow professional."

BPTC wins Best Course at the Student Union Teaching Awards 2016 | Excerpt from winning nomination

Features and Benefits

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.

Career Prospects

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

"It is extremely beneficial to be taught here at Manchester Law School on the BPTC by staff members who are still in practice or who have recently been in practice.  They can give you practical examples, so if you do not understand something they can explain it from a client perspective and that really helps."

Sarah Cook | BPTC and LLB Graduate

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 review of legal education and training. This includes reviewing the current routes and qualifications to become a barrister or solicitor. The current route of an LLB or the GDL and the BPTC, to become a barrister, will remain in place until autumn 2019, when the new training routes are likely to commence.

The current route of an LLB or GDL and the LPC, to become a solicitor, will remain in place until summer 2020; the target launch date for the new Solicitors Qualification Examination (SQE) is no earlier than in 2020.

For the latest information about how the Legal Education and Training Review affects your chosen course, you can visit the following pages.

Solicitors Regulation

Bar Standards Board:

Learn more about graduate careers

Entry requirements

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

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.

Course details

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.

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

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 will include:

  • Advanced Civil Litigation
  • Advanced Criminal Litigation
  • Business Law and Corporate Finance
  • Employment Law
  • Family Law
  • Personal Injury Litigation

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

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.

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.


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.

Conference Skills

This unit includes the practice of taking instructions 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. 

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. 

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.

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.

Assessment weightings and contact hours


Additional information about this course

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

Placements 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.

Manchester Law School

More about the department

Taught by experts

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.

Meet our expert staff


UK and EU students

UK and EU students: Full-time fee: £14,000 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU and Channel Island students

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £14,000 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

In addition to tuition fees, a registration fee of £550 is payable in year 1.

A Masters qualification typically comprises 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits, and an MFA 300 credits. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of study provided the course is completed in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Part-time students may take a maximum of 90 credits each academic year.

Additional costs

Specialist Costs

All of the books required for the course are available from the library. The University also has PC labs and a laptop loan service. However, many students choose to buy some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a laptop. Students may also need to print their assignments and other documents. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop up to £100 each year for books and printing.

Professional Costs


Bar Registration Fee

Other Costs

Prior to enrolment you are required to be a member of an Inn of Court £100 joining fee. Whilst studying the BPTC you are required to complete 12 qualifying sessions at you Inn in order to be called to the Bar. You need to book these sessions through your Inn. There are fees for these sessions depending on the nature of the event - you can check these by contacting your Inn. Most qualifying sessions will take place in London so you will need to pay for travel to London - we provide a one off £60 towards the total cost of your travel. There will usually be around 2 to 3 qualifying sessions in Manchester each year.

Postgraduate Loan Scheme

Up to £10,609 available to students who live in England

Find out more

Alumni Loyalty Discount

Rewarding our graduates

Learn more

Want to know more?

How to apply

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


Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

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. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

Confirmation of Regulator
The Office for Students is the principal regulator for the University. For further information about their role please visit the Office for Students website. You can find out more about our courses including our approach to timetabling, course structures and assessment and feedback on our website.