The below message has been sent from Amanda Pinto QC, Chair of the Bar Council, to the Bar Standards Board (BSB) today. 

I am very concerned at the reports of problems faced by some students sitting their centralised assessments this week. The Bar Council’s Education and Training Committee wrote to you in early July to express concerns and to request that the BSB consider a short comfort break during the lengthy exams, to avoid the sorts of issues that have arisen. It is disappointing that this was not progressed. The Bar Council also cannot understand why students in test centres are not permitted water on their desks, especially bearing in mind the hot weather.

Separately, we find it difficult to understand why students who suffer technical difficulties during their exam have had to defer their exams until December, rather than a date later in the week. This enforced deferral will mean that many will not know whether they have passed their exams before they start pupillage, inevitably adding to their stress. We believe those students deserve an explanation.

I would be grateful if you could let me know what the BSB is doing to ensure that those students who encountered difficulties during their exams are reassured and treated fairly.

Yours sincerely,

Amanda Pinto QC

Chair of the Bar