Law Society questions minor benefit of BCAT

The Law Society has warned against the viability of the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) and its implementation prior to the conclusion of the Legal Education and Training Review (LETR). 

In a response to the Bar Standards Board (BSB) consultation, the society states that the test fails to address the real issue in the disparity between the number of students passing the BPTC and the number of pupillages available.

It also concludes that the BCAT would not ensure that those that passed the course would be of the standard required to achieve a pupillage.

In the written response a spokesperson added: “The BSB’s stated aim of improving the student experience and raising standards on entry to and exit from the BPTC supports the implementation of the BCAT. However this is a relatively minor benefit to be derived from an expensive additional hurdle.”

The news follows the release of the BSB standards-monitoring reports 2010-11, which threw doubt on the test (10 January 2012).

The society, which plans to feed its findings of the report into the LETR, recommends that the BSB consider whether the timing of this consultation and the introduction of the BCAT is appropriate with the LETR ongoing.

It continues: “The move to implement aptitude testing may be considered to be premature in these circumstances.”