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Bar Professional Training Course PGDip

Course Description

The Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) offers intensive, post graduate-level studies to students who wish to qualify as a barrister.

The BPTC is taken after undergraduate study and before the period of work based training, also known as pupillage, required for those training to become barristers.

This programme will prepare you for the 12 months of pupillage and ensure that you acquire the skills, knowledge of procedure and evidence, attitudes and competence required during your work based training. It will also provide you with a solid foundation in knowledge and skills for your early years of tenancy.

The BPTC aims to foster a professional and ethical approach to practice as a barrister, whilst giving you an informed view of a barrister’s working life.

Distinctive features

We have delivered a high quality and highly regarded Bar Professional Training Course/Bar Vocational Course since 1997. Distinctive features include:

• a guaranteed period of two weeks' placement (offering mini-pupillage with a local Chambers or other placement with the employed Bar, and marshalling with a local Circuit Judge and District Judge);

• a high level of individual feedback and support on performance in oral and written skills;

• a course strongly supported by the local employed Bar, the independent Bar and the Judiciary;

• the opportunity to practise all skills exceeds the Bar Standards Board’s minimum recommended number.


The BPTC is a one year course studied over three terms. All modules within this programme are compulsory and comprise knowledge areas, core skills and options. An attendance record is kept and 100% attendance at teaching sessions is expected.

During the first and second term you will be taught and assessed in the following areas:

• Civil litigation evidence and remedies
• Criminal litigation evidence & remedies

You will develop the core skills of :

Submission advocacy
Trial advocacy 1 and 2
Conference skills
Opinion writing
Professional ethics
Resolution of disputes out of court

In the final term, you will select two optional subjects. As well as developing legal skills within the curriculum, you will have opportunities to acquire hands-on experience by taking part in:

• several pro-bono schemes run by the School of Law and Politics;
• other activities such as mooting, negotiating, client interviewing competitions and legal discussion groups.

These opportunities are designed to increase your confidence, skills and employability.

Please visit the website to see the modules taught on this cause:



You will be taught through a mixture of lectures and small group sessions. Most teaching is delivered in small groups of 12 students with all oral skills teaching in smaller groups of six students.

You will have practice opportunities through your teaching that exceed the minimum indicated by the Bar Standards Board. The timing of teaching sessions and assessments has also been carefully considered to ensure that you have sufficient opportunity to practise and receive feedback. This is essential to enable you to refine your work and skills as a result of feedback received.


The BPTC assessments are designed to be fair, rigorous, realistic and provide sufficient depth and/or breadth of coverage of the skills and subjects assessed. Individual assessments will cover a representation of the outcomes in the particular subject or skills area. A practical emphasis will appear throughout.

Each skills teaching session is a formative session; in addition you will undertake a practice assessment for each of the core subjects studied in terms one and two. These assessments will be undertaken in circumstances that reflect the arrangements for the summative assessments.

Three assessments, civil litigation evidence and remedies, criminal litigation evidence and remedies and professional ethics will be assessed by way of a centrally set paper produced by the Bar Standards Board.

For all Cardiff-produced BPTC assessments, the assessment criteria and, where relevant, guidance/explanatory notes will be made available to you from the outset of the subject. The assessment criteria for each subject are clearly aligned with its learning outcomes to ensure you can demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes for the subject through the assessment.

There are 12 summative assessments. Four are knowledge assessments, one in each of the following:

Civil litigation and evidence
Criminal litigation, evidence and sentencing
Professional ethics
Resolution of disputes out of court.

There are eight skills assessments, in each of the following:

Conference skills
Opinion writing
Advocacy (one assessment with oral plus written components and two oral assessments; examination in chief and cross examination).
Option one (written or oral)
Option two (written or oral)

Career prospects

After completion of the BPTC you will be able to undertake a pupillage in preparation for practice as a barrister.

Alternatively, the BPTC may be lead to legal work in some other capacity, e.g. paralegal or legal executive, with the option of seeking pupillage at a later date.


Guaranteed placements are offered giving you the opportunity to marshal with both a Circuit Judge and District Judge in addition to undertaking a mini-pupillage.

Visit the Bar Professional Training Course PGDip page on the Cardiff University website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Anna Rouse

"Having taken a break from work as a medical defence solicitor to look after my family, I was delighted to find a flexible course which could bring my medico legal knowledge comprehensively up to date. The internationally respected LLM in Legal Aspects of Medical Practice was perfect. A stimulating mix of students from medicine, healthcare management, nursing and law, combined with excellent teaching and support ensured a fantastic learning environment and created opportunities for me that I never anticipated."

(Student Profile)

Jerin Choudhary

“My decision to study at Cardiff Law School was fuelled by its’ excellent reputation. The Law School offers various opportunities to enhance the student experience, such as the Pro Bono Scheme and the Innocent Project, both of which provide valuable practical experience. T he management of this course has been extremely impressive; the administration staff and tutors provide a tremendous support system and are always encouraging and helpful. The content, course structure and teaching methods have all surpassed my expectations and I would recommend it to prospective students.”

(Student Profile)

Praneeta Sharma (LLM Commercial Law)

"Like most international students I was a little apprehensive about travelling abroad to study, but that feeling was dismissed as soon as I arrived in Cardiff. The University staff were friendly and supportive and made me feel very welcome. I was also provided with excellent accommodation on arrival."

(Student Profile)

Robert Wilks (Diploma in Legal Practice)

“I chose Cardiff because the Centre for Professional Legal Studies was only one of three institutions around the UK that had been awarded an ‘Excellent’ rating by the Law Society for my course, and there was a high ratio of staff to students. My year at Cardiff was a very positive experience and an excellent start to my legal career. It was the first time in any university that I have felt accepted as a deaf person, and this was due to the willingness of staff to accommodate my needs.”

(Student Profile)

Vincent de Bonnafos

“My year in Cardiff Law School student was the richest experience I have had during my studies so far. The quality of the staff, the quantity of resources and the structure of the course programme provided me with the best environment to develop legal and research skills. I also met exceptional people from all over the world, both students and members of the staff. This diversity has given rise to intense exchanges during study sessions, to the discovery of other cultures and to lifetime friendships. To obtain top-class legal and research skills and to build an international social network, I would strongly recommend Cardiff Law School.”


Entry Requirements

Last Updated

30 June 2017

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