How to become a barrister



The steps typically taken to become a barrister involve three main stages of training:

  • Academic Stage: an undergraduate degree in law (LLB), or an undergraduate degree in any other subject followed by the conversion course

  • Vocational Stage: the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), which entails one year of full time study or two years' part time study


Pupillage is the final and practical stage of training to become a barrister, which can commence up to five years after completing the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC). It is either completed in a set of chambers or with another Authorised Training Organisation (ATO). Pupillages usually start in September or October, one year after being accepted by the chambers (so, for example, successful April 2015 applicants will usually commence pupillage in autumn 2016). However, they may start at other times, depending on the set of chambers or ATO.

It is a Bar Standards Board requirement that all pupillages are advertised on the central pupillage website the Pupillage Gateway  for a minimum of two weeks. This is an online pupillage application system operated by the Bar Council .

The Bar Council also has a Pupillage Handbook which provides an extra resource to view vacancies. The handbook has been put together to provide you with an additional tool to browse pupillage options. Please note that the Handbook contains all applications that are on the Pupillage Gateway, however, there may be some vacancies not listed in the Handbook.

After training, the final stage is to obtain tenancy in a set of barristers' chambers as a self-employed barrister, or to go into practice as an employed barrister.