Bar takes steps to temper BVC costs

The Bar Council is to re-examine the “major problem” of the cost of the Bar Vocational Course in a bid to broaden access to the profession.

Pupils face tuition bills of more than 8,000 for one year’s study, a price that can be prohibitive to poorer students, it is feared.

David Bean QC, chairman of the Bar Council, has recently appointed a small group to look at the issue, which will be chaired by Sir Robin Mountfield, a former permanent secretary. The committee will not only put pressure on the Government “to play its part” in funding arrangements, but will also ensure money from the bar is spent effectively.

‘These changes mark a step towards ensuring the Bar remains open to all with talent and ability’ – David Bean QC

However, a new set of measures approved by the Lord Chancellor’s Department will ensure that pupils are paid a minimum of 10,000 per year, as well as “reasonable travel expenses”. Chambers will also be required to advertise all pupillage vacancies from the end of the year.

Bean said: “These changes mark a step towards ensuring that the bar remains open to all with ability and talent regardless of financial means.”