BSB aptitude test in doubt after OFT dig

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  • I don't agree with the OFT at all - how can filtering out people who have no realistic chance of ever securing a pupillage be anti-competitive. I think it's a really good idea.

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  • Perfectly sensible idea to have an aptitude test. As long as it is used to weed out unsuitable candidates and is not used to impose an artifcial cap on the number of new entrants.
    More important is a fundamental re-think of the whole bar school idea. The courses are shockingly expensive (up to £15k) and operate as a real barrier to those of modest means and/or those who already have large student loans. And unfortunately they are pretty rubbish too, providing only a very limited preparation for pupillage and life at the Bar. Much more sensible would be a New York Bar exam approach, where there is a single exam set by the BSB. It would then be open to candidates to study for the exams independently, or on a full time or part time course. For those studying independently there could be some compulsory advocacy modules (which could, say, be provided by the Inns). It would allow people to study at theit own pace and significantly reduce the cost of getting to the Bar.

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  • The Northern Ireland Institute of Professional Legal Studies has ran an entrance test for over thirty years without any official moves to end it.

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  • What's wrong with having the cut off at the employment stage? Would you rather take a test and be told you're not good enough, or go through the job application process and have the employer tell you?
    The LSAT in the US and Canada acts as a cap and arguably doesn't pick the best candidates. So other than cutting down the number of BVC students how does this improve things?

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  • Perfectly good idea to have an aptitude test. There are many hurdles to becoming a barrister, and this is not likely to be the most significant.

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  • Perfectly sensible to have a "weeding out" process. If you take the OFT's analysis to its logical conclusion everyone would automatically be entitled to enter any course whatsoever no matter that they had no chance of ever succeeding. This in turn may mean that some really good potential candidates don't make it on to the course. Sometimes the slavish application of competition policy does not achieve the right result.
    Sebastian Farr (competition lawyer of 28 years practice).

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  • An apptitude test is an easy way for the bar to cut out people who do not fit the mould. They will simlpy choose upper crust and minorities. Typical middle class of British stock can forget it.

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  • Is this test another way to further restrict access to the profession by groups such as women and ethnic minorities?

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  • The key attribute to ensure a pass in legal and medical professional examinations is a photographic memory. Have you ever met a GP or a Consultant in the medical profession who seemed a bit dim - can they all be pretending? Will an aptitude test weed out dim people with a photographic memory?

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  • If an aptitude test weeds out some of the cretins who get pupillage simply because of an Oxbridge degree, then I am all for it.

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