The Bar Standards Board has refused to reverse its decision to hold resits next month, despite the fact that students will have to retake the assessments before knowing their results.

In a letter to bar school students, the BSB it ‘must retain the academic rigour of these examinations – even in these difficult and extraordinary times and even when that means extra work for students, for course providers, and for the BSB’.

It added that a waiver is ‘not an option now or in the future’ and that exams cannot be conducted orally, as suggested by some members of the profession. 

Students had until yesterday to register to take the centralised Bar Professional Training Course exams in professional ethics and civil and criminal litigations, which will be traditional pen and paper assessments, as opposed to online ones. 

They have to decide whether to resit the exams before knowing the results of their August assessments which were plagued with technical faults. The BSB told the Gazette that the August exam results could not be released sooner for quality assurance reasons.

As the government threatens to introduce more coronavirus restrictions, students have also warned that it may be impossible to sit pen and paper exams next month due to social distancing rules.