School monopoly over

THE FIRST Bar training courses to operate outside of the Inns of Court School of Law could run from as soon as 1996, according to Bar Council chair Robert Seabrook.

Seabrook says that although numbers have not yet been finalised, it is likely four or five additional courses will be validated at institutions around the country. He says the courses, which will end the monopoly operated by the Bar School, are likely to run from colleges already providing the Law Society's legal practice course.

Allowing students to take Bar finals through a range of institutions is one of the many ideas to evolve from the three-year review of legal education by the Lord Chancellor's Advisory committee.

“The aim is to have the new courses up and running for the year after next,” says Seabrook.

“The courses may start in a staged way – they may not come in all together – but we are working on the assumption that in the year after next the first of the other institutions that have validated courses will be on stream.”

Secretary of the Council for Legal Education, John Taylor, says although plans for the new courses are at an early stage, “in the next few months we will be able to provide more information in terms of timetables and to start discussions with any institutions which are interested”.