Law Soc and Bar unite to fight for student funds

BAR Council chairman Robert Owen QC is to join forces with Law Society president Phillip Sycamore in a bid to persuade the government to think again over funding for law students.

The pair, along with the Bar Council's head of legal education, Nigel Bastin, are to meet junior education minister Kim Howells on 3 December to argue that students on the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and the Bar Vocational Course (BVC) should have the same access to student loans and funding as undergraduate students.

Last month the Bar Council and the Law Society fired off a joint letter to Baroness Blackstone, Minister for Education and Employment, claiming students attending the LPC and BVC incurred debts of more than £10,000.

The letter states: “Without some publicly-funded support, we believe students from poorer families will be deterred from entering the legal professions.”

But at the Trainee Solicitors Group autumn conference in Leeds on 8 November, Geoff Hoon, the parliamentary secretary at the Lord Chancellor's Department, rejected calls for a government-backed loan scheme for students attending LPC courses.