The Bar Standards Board will press ahead with its reforms to the training regime for would-be barristers, agreeing to adopt a ‘managed pathways’ approach.
Under that method, courses will be ‘more flexible and fit with the requirements of students’.
Currently, trainees undergo three stages of training: academic education, vocational training and work-based training.
The BSB’s proposed approach, agreed at a board meeting last night, would permit trainees to take different routes, including combining the sections. The BSB previously said this could include a ‘modular format’, where components of qualification can be acquired separately over time.
However, the board agreed that the number of pathways offered should be limited after responses in the consultation raised concerns about too many pathways creating a ‘two-tired system’ with some being viewed as ‘second rate’.
A minimum of a 2.2 degree will also be required to undertake training.
The board heard that the BSB received more than 1,00 responses to its consultation, its largest response rate ever.
The Gazette has previously reported on concerns held by some organisations, including the Bar Council. A letter signed by more than 500 barristers and sent to BSB chair Andrew Burns earlier this year also expressed concern at the proposals.
The consultation, first published in September last year, proposed three new options for new training methods: to stick with the same system (option A), adopt the managed pathways approach (option B) or create a ‘bar-specific’ system under which students would need take a new exam called the Bar Entrance Exam (option C).