The Inns of Court School of Law (ICSL) refused to allow a pregnant woman to defer her place on the Bar Vocational Course (BVC) for a year and is refusing to refund her deposit.

The student, who has asked not to be named, accepted a conditional offer from ICSL, dependent on her passing her CPE at Westminster University, in March, but discovered she was pregnant in May.

She sat four out of seven CPE papers, but Westminster University agreed to defer the remaining three for a year.

When she asked the ICSL admissions office if she could defer for a year she was told that “no one can defer”.

She claims that when she asked for her £350 deposit back she was told: “It would not matter if you lost your legs we will not refund deposits.” “It's a disgrace and I've been treated appallingly,” she said.

Amanda Brown, of the ICSL admissions office, told The Lawyer that ICSL was not discriminating and that two other BVC students were starting the course pregnant.

Gordon Haymer said if the student re-applied next year there was “a very high chance” she would succeed.

But Jonathan Bacon, BVC director at the BPP Law School, said he would have been “very happy” to defer the student's place for a year.

A spokesman for the Bar Council said the matter was under investigation.