You are required to complete 12 qualifying sessions before you can be Called to the Bar. This is laid down in the Bar Training Regulations. Qualifying sessions include dining in Hall, lectures, advocacy workshops and residential weekends. All qualifying sessions must be educational and collegiate and students must take part in all elements to be awarded the qualifying session.
There are four Legal Terms: Michaelmas, Hilary, Easter and Trinity. During each Legal Term the Inn holds a dining term. The number of dining occasions in each term varies from 6-20 days. In addition non-dining qualifying sessions are held throughout the year.
You may complete as many qualifying sessions as you wish but only a maximum of six dining sessions per term will be counted for the purpose of Call. All sessions that are not dining occasions will be counted for the purpose of Call.
Attendance at the Call ceremony and evening reception or dinner counts as the 12th qualifying session. Every student who is being Called to the Bar (with the exception of those who are being Called in absence) must attend the reception or dinner held on their Call Night. Any student who does not comply with this requirement may have their Call revoked.
Do plan and think carefully about which qualifying sessions you wish to attend so that you do not need to fit a large number in at the end of the academic year. Some of the last dining term of the 2016-17 academic year clashes with Ramadan. If you will be observing Ramadan you may wish to complete any dining you plan to attend in the earlier terms.
All qualifying sessions provide you with opportunities to learn more about the profession and meet your peers on the BPTC and senior members of the Inn. The Inn strongly encourages you to attend as many types of sessions as possible.
Types of Qualifying Sessions
Each dining occasion counts as one qualifying session.
- Ordinary Dining Nights:On these nights students, barristers and Benchers dine on separate tables. These dinners are preceded by a short talk or followed by a debate, for which you must be present. Debates are held following dinner once in the Michaelmas, Hilary and Easter terms. Participation from students who are dining is welcomed.
- Grand Days, Guest Nights and Family Guest Nights: On Grand Days and Guest Nights students may bring one guest; on Family Guest Nights two guests may be invited.
- Sunday Lunch: Sunday lunch is held after Chapel which students are welcome to attend but are not required to do so. During dining term this will count as a qualifying session. Students and their guests must arrive by 12.45 pm but all are welcome to join the Benchers and barristers for drinks before the meal from 12.15 pm. Students may bring up to two guests.
- Domus Dinners: Domus means ‘home’. On these nights there is a table plan and the Benchers, barristers and students dine together. Drinks are served to all attendees in the Bench Rooms before dinner, so that students can meet members of the Bench and Bar. Every student should try to dine on at least one Domus Night as this gives an opportunity to talk in an informal setting with those in practice.
There are two Introductory Events held for new BPTC students; one for students studying at London Providers and one for students studying at Providers outside London. The event for those at London Providers counts as one qualifying session and the two day event for those at Providers outside London counts as three qualifying sessions. Part time students may only attend once and preferably in the first year of their BPTC.
The Inn holds at least one Lecture Night in each term. The lecture is followed by a short drinks reception with light refreshments. The topic of the lecture will be publicised at the start of the relevant term.
The Inn organises three residential weekends a year at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park (October), Highgate House near Northampton (November) and West Dean College near Chichester (February). Due to the popularity of the weekends students are only allowed to attend one weekend and selection is by ballot. Students can register for the ballot by completing the application form on the Residential Weekends page of our website (Education > Qualifying Sessions). Dates for the weekends, including the dates of when the ballots open and close can be found in the student handbook and on the website.
The cost of each residential weekend is £60.00 which covers accommodation, meals and coach travel from the Inn. The programme at each weekend consists of talks, advocacy exercises and pupillage advice sessions. Benchers, barristers and guests also attend the weekend and, as such, the weekends provide students with an excellent opportunity to meet other members of the Inn in an informal and congenial way. Each weekend counts as three qualifying sessions.
Advocacy Workshops are held at the Inn for London-based BPTC students and at each of the BPTC Providers outside London. Each workshop counts as one qualifying session. Students can choose to undertake either a civil or criminal exercise. These workshops provide students with a good opportunity to practice their advocacy in front of a senior barrister or judge and receive feedback on their performance.
Dates and further details for the London workshops will be advertised on the Inn’s online booking system. Student Representatives at the Providers outside London are responsible for organising their workshops in liaison with local barristers and judges.
This event is for students studying at BPTC Providers outside London only. The Inn holds an Education Days in February, which includes an afternoon of talks followed by a drinks reception. Full details of the programmes will be published nearer the time.
The Education Day counts as two qualifying sessions. Please note that students attending part-time courses can attend only two Education Days in the duration of their course.
Local Qualifying Sessions
Students studying at BPTC Providers outside London can obtain up to four qualifying sessions held in a location near their BPTC Provider.
Three of these sessions may be organised by the Inn and students at these Providers can also gain one qualifying session for attending their Provider’s annual dinner. The Inn organises Advocacy Workshops for students at each of the Providers outside London. In addition a collaborative qualifying session open to students from all the Inns is arranged at each Provider. It is also possible for the Inn’s Student Representatives, subject to prior approval from the Inn, to arrange a further local qualifying session if there is demand and only after the Advocacy Workshop has been held.