24 August 2019

New report shows that training to become a barrister remains highly competitive

This month, we published the fifth annual edition of our statistical information on student performance on the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) (insert link). As has previously been the case, this year's report shows that training for the Bar remains highly competitive.

This new and updated analysis includes information about students who enrolled in the 2017-18 academic year, as well as those who enrolled on the BPTC in the preceding two academic years. It also includes statistics on students enrolled on the BPTC between 2013-14 and 2017-18 who started pupillage following graduation from the course. This provides a wider timeframe in which to see the proportion of graduates who gain pupillage within the five-year window allowed, following completion of the course.

Key findings from the report are:

  • 1,619 students enrolled on the BPTC in 2017-18, an increase of 196 students compared to 2016-17. This is the largest year on year increase in enrolment seen since the BPTC started in 2011;
  • almost half of students (47%) who enrolled on the BPTC in 2017-18 were overseas (non-UK/EU) domiciled, increasing from 43 per cent in 2016-17;
  • the percentage of female BPTC students has increased from 52 per cent in 2011-12 to 56 per cent in 2017-18 and of those who provided information on their ethnicity the percentage of UK/EU domiciled Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students has risen to 37 per cent, around six percentage points higher than in 2012-13;
  • nearly a third (31%) of UK/EU domiciled students who enrolled on the BPTC in 2017-18 had gained a first-class degree prior to enrolling on the course, up from around 20% when the BPTC was first introduced in 2011;
  • just over 75 per cent of full-time UK/EU domiciled students that enrolled in 2017-18 had passed the BPTC as of January 2019 with the remaining mostly yet to complete the course. Around 12 per cent received an "Outstanding" overall grade, around 53 per cent received a "Very Competent" grade, and around 11 per cent received a "Competent" grade;
  • of the UK/EU domiciled BPTC graduates, around 42% of those who enrolled on the course from 2013 to 2017 had started pupillage by March 2019. This figure increases to around 45 per cent when looking at those enrolled from 2013 to 2016 only, as it can take a while for more recent graduates to gain pupillage;
  • of UK/EU-domiciled BPTC graduates who enrolled from 2013 to 2017 and went on to secure pupillage, 51 per cent were female; and
  • when controlling for first degree class and BPTC grade, UK/EU BPTC graduates from BAME backgrounds who enrolled on the course from 2013 to 2017 were less likely to have commenced pupillage than those from white backgrounds. For example, of UK/EU domiciled BPTC graduates with an upper-second class degree and "Very Competent" overall BPTC grade, 44 per cent of them from white backgrounds had commenced pupillage, compared to around 23 per cent of the BAME cohort with the same degree class and BPTC grade.

You can read the full report on our website