New Manchester Bar school calls in barristers as mentors

PRACTISING barristers in Manchester are to be invited to act as mentors to provide support and encouragement to students attending a new barristers’ training course in the city.

The scheme is to be run by Manchester Metropolitan University Law School, which has won the bid to become the seventh provider of the Bar Vocational Course (BVC) after beating off competition from the College of Law.

Law school head Patricia Leighton pledged that the course, due to run from September 1998 and provide places for 100 students, would be “innovative” and “fun”. It will be the first BVC provider in the North West.

Rival bidder London’s College of Law had planned to provide 60 places at Liverpool University and 60 at Manchester University. College of Law chief executive Nigel Savage said he was “disappointed” at the result. He added that he felt BVC places would have been “strategically beneficial” for Liverpool’s legal community.

Leighton said that the Manchester course aimed to produce barristers who were “able to compete, international in outlook and well-versed in information technology”. She added that the plan was to link each student with a local practising barrister who would act as “adviser and mentor”, giving insights into professional life.

Leader of the Northern Circuit Richard Henriques QC, of Deans Court Chambers, Manchester, said: “We are delighted the university has been validated and that 100 students will be coming to the city. We anticipate a close and enthusiastic working relationship with the university, have every confidence in them, and look forward to their helping us with our continuing education.”