16 June 2019

Bar Transfer Test

The BSB has the power to exempt qualified lawyers from the Academic, Vocational and/or Professional stages of training for the Bar of England and Wales. Such exemptions may be granted subject to passing certain sections of the Bar Transfer Test (which must be taken at a single sitting).

Prospective candidates may not apply directly to undertake the Test, but must first apply to the BSB under one of the approved routes of transfer to the Bar. The relevant application forms are available to download.

The Bar Transfer Test consists of written papers and oral assessments. In addition, those candidates sitting the Advocacy assessment are required to attend a compulsory training course at the Test provider, before undertaking the assessment. 

Structure of the assessments: Part A

All assessments in Part A of the Test are closed book examinations, lasting two hours each. Each module holds a pass mark of 40% for substantive law, and 60% for written skills.

Structure of the assessments: Part B

Paper 8 (Advocacy) consists of one assessment with an oral exercise (12 minutes) based on a written component (e.g. a skeleton argument), plus two further oral assessments (examination-in-chief and cross-examination - 12 minutes each). All assessments must be passed in order to pass the Paper. The pass mark is 60%.

Paper 9 (Civil Litigation and Evidence) and paper 10 (Criminal Litigation, Evidence and Sentencing) each consist of one closed-book examination of three hours, centrally set and marked (electronically). Both examinations comprises 75 mutiple choice questions, including single best answer questions. The pass mark is 60%.

Paper 11 (Professional Ethics) consists of one closed-book exam of 2.5 hours, centrally set and marked (manually). The examination is comprised of six short answer questions. The pass mark is 60%.

The structure of the Test is as follows:

Part A


Paper 1

Public Law (Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Human Rights)

Paper 2

Law of the EU

Paper 3

Criminal Law

Paper 4

Obligations (Contract, Restitution, Tort)

Paper 5

Property/Land Law

Paper 6

Equity and the Law of Trusts

Paper 7

English Legal System

Part B


Paper 8


Paper 9

Civil Litigation and Evidence

Paper 10

Criminal Litigation, Evidence and Sentencing

Paper 11

Professional Ethics


English Language requirement

The guidance on fluency in the English language has been clarified, emphasising that all candidates will be expected to demonstrate a high standard of fluency throughout each assessment.

All candidates will be expected to demonstrate that their oral and written English language ability is readily comprehensible to native English speakers. For those with any doubt as to the level of their English skills, they are strongly advised to undertake an approved English language test. The BTT Provider must also be satisfied as to the candidate's fluency in English.

Professional Ethics syllabus

Paper 11 assesses BTT candidates on their knowledge of the core professional values at the Bar of England and Wales. Candidates are required to refer to the BSB Handbook as part of their reading list.

Regulations governing failure of the Test

A BTT candidate has the opportunity of three attempts at the Test; should a candidate fail any individual paper of the Test on their first attempt, that paper may be taken a second time. Where a candidate fails their second attempt at any paper, they will be required to re-take all those papers which were allocated to them by the BSB at the next sitting of their choice.

If a candidate has not then passed all sections of the Test, they will have no further opportunities to take re-take the Test or any paper of it, until a period of two years has elapsed since the last attempt at a paper; at which point, a candidate may apply to the BSB to repeat the process ab initio.

Sitting the Bar Transfer Test 

The Bar Transfer Test is delivered by BPP Law School, on behalf of the Bar Standards Board. Please click the link below for further guidance on the Test, and how to register for the next sitting: 

BPP Law School

The last sitting of the Test took place in summer 2018 and the next sitting will be in spring 2019. The Bar Transfer Test Handbook and the timetable for the next sitting are available to download on this page.

If you have any general queries relating to the Test, please contact us at:



NOTICE (23 July 2018) - From today, applicants requesting an extension of time to complete the Bar Transfer Test ("BTT") must complete the application form or online application available via the 'Resources' box on this page and submit payment of the application fee of £55. If you have any queries about this application, please contact us via email.