Fees for the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) have risen by an average of 4.3 per cent for the 2016/17 academic year, Lawyer 2B can reveal.
At £19,070, BPP’s course in London remains the most expensive; however, it also has the best record of getting students into chambers. As Lawyer 2B revealed last year, some 27 per cent of its 2011, 2012 and 2013 cohorts have now secured a pupillage.
The cheapest BPTC is now that of the Northumbria University Its 4.4 per cent rise means it charges £13,050.
By contrast, Cardiff University has bumped up fees by over 11 per cent, which includes a £1,000 deposit to reserve a place on the course. A Cardiff University spokesperson said: “In common with other providers of higher education we are required by the Competition and Markets Authority to include, when setting out our fees, the whole amount of money which a student will be required to expend in order to pursue a course of study, and to express it as a global figure. Thus previously the materials fee of £950 (spent on books which the student receives directly) and the Bar Standards Board fee of £550 (paid via the University to the regulator) were stated separately but alongside the tuition fee. To ensure CMA compliance these two figures are now amalgamated with the tuition fee. This year the tuition fee is £12,345, and in 2016/17 it will be £12,840. Therefore, the increase in the tuition fee is actually 4 per cent.”
Meanwhile, The University of Law’s regional branches have seen a 6.7 per cent fee hike. The BPTC will now cost £15,480 at ULaw in Leeds and Birmingham.
The cost of the BPTC has long been a subject of contention. Last spring, a report led by Geoffrey Rivlin QC described it as expensive and “not highly regarded by practitioners”, citing that of the 1,700 students which pass the course annually only around 400-500 will secure pupillage.
Then in July, it was branded as “exploitative” and “not fit for purpose” by barristers, pupils and bar students.
The Inns of Court say that they estimate around £5m in BPTC fees is collectively wasted each year by students who fail to pass the course.
Nottingham Law School has come out in defence of the BPTC’s price, writing on Lawyer 2B that it is “a course with very strict regulatory requirements in terms of staffing requirements, estate and resources and these bring with them a financial cost which is reflected in the fees.”
BPTC fees, 2016-17