Bar students face 30 per cent fee hike

FEES for students on this year's Bar School course are to rocket by 30 per cent.

Around 1,200 students offered conditional places at the Bar School this autumn face a hike in fees to u5,200 from last year's figure of u3,980.

Council of Legal Education secretary John Taylor puts the rise down to a substantial reduction in Inns of Court subsidies along with the cost of expanding the school so it can cope with the demand for places.

But he stresses the new fee represents the market rate for vocational training courses in the capital.

Last year the school faced judicial reviews from frustrated candidates when it tried to limit the number of places on the course to 800 and Taylor says it is reconciled to catering for 1,000 students for the next few years.

He says the school has had to hire an extra building and take on new staff while it continues to invest in making improvements to the course.

He believes all subsidies are likely to be abolished by 1997 when other institutions will be able to run the Bar training course.

Young Barristers Committee chair Alison Levitt says the hike in fees will give added impetus to the Bar Council's drive to persuade the Government to provide more funding for students and help with their loans.

“The Bar will do what it can to target resources, but we will also look to the Government for help as well.”

This year 22 per cent of students offered places on the course came from ethnic minorities. Taylor says he hopes the final intake will be an improvement on last year's figure of 13 per cent.