Cost of BVC rockets despite slump in pupillages

Bar Vocational Course (BVC) providers outside of London have made significant fee increases in a bid to “catch up” with their London competitors.

Bar Vocational Course (BVC) providers outside of London have made significant fee increases in a bid to “catch up” with their London competitors.

Bristol Institute of Legal Practice (BILP), which is part of the University of West of England (UWE), has made the biggest price hike charging would-be barristers 15 per cent more than they did last year.

The cost of the BVC at BILP will jump by more than 15 per cent from £9,775 to £11,250 for 2009-10.

BVC director Stephen Migdal defended the increase saying the hikes were down to the school adding extra modules to the programme as well as introducing a four-day commercial mediation course.

“There was a certain amount of catching up we had to do with regards to our pricing as we were lagging behind other providers and worried our low price would be associated with bad quality,” claimed Migdal.

Elsewhere, Nottingham Law School has increased its BVC fees by 11 per cent from £9,855 to £10,950. Cardiff Law School’s fees have also jumpedfrom £9,600 (including materials) to £10,100 or an increase of 5.2 per cent.

University of Exeter undergraduate law student Samir Pasha, who plans to carve a career as a barrister said: “This is just another hurdle that has been erected for people trying to get into the Bar to get over. People from the lower income bracket will be filtered out.”

In contrast BVC fees at The City Law School have gone up by just 9 per cent from £13,250 to £14,500 while College of Law made a 7 per cent increase from £12,930 to £13,900.

The price hikes come after research found the number of graduates invited to take pupillage has dropped by 20 per cent since 2000, with less than a third of graduates securing pupillages last year.