Young Barristers' Committee favours BVC entrance test

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  • As a post BVC student this time last year, I found it astonishing the number of students who clearly weren't up to the standards required on the course.

    What was even more worrying were the numbers of students who could not speak English to a sufficient level, surely something that a course priding itself on it's world class teaching of advocacy would take as a given one would think?

    This meant that more time was spent on the weaker student in the advocacy sessions, which effectively took away time that could have been spent on other students improving their skills.

    I would certainly support this move.

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  • I certainly agree with the aptitude test. I am currently a GDL student with aspirations of a career at the bar, and if an aptitude test was in place it would definitely a) weed out those who would be unable to become professional advocates, b) save these students a substantial amount of time and money c) ultimately be better for the justice system if there was a greater focus of those likely to succeed as barristers.

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  • Ridiculous.

    Wouldn't a more sensible approach be to get chambers to open up to the market more? Or perhaps even limiting the number of universities where you can study for a qualifying law degree?

    I agree that a number of the students on the BVC probably should not be there however, this is no reason whatsoever to impose another obstacle to getting to the Bar with a test that probably isn't going to be a very good way of really deciding who will and who won't make a good barrister.

    Has everyone forgotten that the OFT suggested that this test might be anti-competitive?

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  • To Anonymous at 1:51 - how do you propose the Bar Council or the Bar Standards Board go about influencing the market in the way you suggest?

    Legal regulators have no control over the universities, other than to stipulate what constitutes a QLD. They cannot say who can or can't offer a QLD.

    Similarly, the regulator cannot force chambers to offer more pupillages if it is not financially viable to do so.

    Be realistic! Both of the measures you have suggested would be much more anti-competitive than the proposed aptitude test, which seems to be a sensible response to a legal market flooded with people who have paid a hell of a lot of money, but who probably shouldn't be there and have little chance of further success.

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  • I do not know what the failure rate for the BVC is but I assume that there are likely to be some students who fail. Whether such students would have also failed an aptitude test would of course depend upon the quality of the test.

    However, the BVC is a Postgraduate qualification in itself. It is not only a route to the Bar but also through the QLTT, a very useful course for students hoping to become litigation solicitors.

    Presumably, if the aptitude tests did reduce numbers on the BVC, the costs for the BVC would increase.

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  • As a BVC student from many years ago i believe that the fundamental problem with the current situation is the large number of providers. When i studied the BVC (Manchester) it had just opened and was the only institution in the north of England. It is wrong so many providers are introducing the BVC.

    The new qualification as of next year will hopefully make the exams harder. We will depart from institutions setting exams but instead the bar council will.

    Greed of universitys is the problem and teh Bar Council should be cautious of allowing so many institutions to offer the course.

    As for foreign students with limited English, in my experience they return to their native country post BVC and practice there. I do not consider limited language skills of an international student who will practice in their native land a problem

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  • Having an aptitude test is clearly going to be a waste of time and money if you will be able to take it as many times as you want. I have a problem with the views suggesting that people have insufficient level of English. How do you know their level of English is insufficient? Is it because they speak with a tone that doesn’t resemble that of an oxford or Cambridge student? Or is it the fact that they have a foreign accent which you are not familiar with? I would be absolutely honoured if someone could make it clear the difference between a person with sufficient standard of English or who hasn’t. Let’s not forget that not everyone wants to practice as a barrister on this forsaken little island. Many at times they get the qualification they need and dash off back to their countries. They would probably be called to their bar far earlier than those of us still after pupillages.

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