It is common knowledge within the legal world that if you wish to pursue a career as a barrister, not only are you required to sacrifice many hard hours in attempting to excel academically, but also socially in terms of finding the time to get yourself involved in extracurricular activities in the hope of increasing your chances of securing pupillage. However, during the last few years or so, especially in light of the current economic climate, prospective barristers now have another issue to face, not academically, not socially but financially. There has recently been the introduction of the new Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) which will cost students £150, but additionally the price to study the BPTC is rising year after year, which is daunting. Some providers are charging in excess of £17,000 and although such a fee can undoubtedly be justified, due to potential benefits and services that the BPTC providers may offer, you must ask whether the Bar is actually accessible to all.
Personally, as a prospective barrister I am not only worried for myself financially, but I am also worried about the future for prospective law students. Luckily enough, when I graduated university last year my fees were at the capped level, but now with university students having to pay near enough £9000 in admission fees alone per year, in addition to living costs, in conjunction with the £150 pound BCAT fee and due the fact that there is no “Student Finance” for postgraduate study, I am sure that these factors could have a disastrous impact on the barristers profession. It is a logical thought to imagine the unfortunate fact that perhaps the best students, academically and socially may be deterred from pursuing a career as a barrister and the reason for this is because of the high levels of financial commitments that many individuals, from all different backgrounds, cannot simply adhere to.
You may also like to see what some providers charge to study the BPTC which is available at http://stretlaw.com/blogs/archive/90-bptc-fees-2013-2014-a-brief-round-up.html
(C) M.S. Basi, 2013