About the ICCA Bar Course

Overview

If you want to train to become a barrister, the Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) offers a two-stage approach to Bar Training, designed to equip you with the knowledge and vital practitioner skills required for pupillage.

On Part One, the knowledge subjects of Civil litigation/ADR and Criminal litigation are delivered online, designed by experienced academics and practitioners utilising digital technology to its fullest potential to take you into the courtroom and experience law in practice. Our extensive question bank and bespoke interactive learning and formative testing techniques are designed to fully prepare you for all assessments.

Once you have successfully completed Part One you can enrol on Part Two where you can focus on the skills subjects of Advocacy, Conference, Legal Research & Opinion Writing and Drafting. These subjects are taught in person within the precincts of the Inns of Court, together with an online Professional Ethics module to ensure that all students are fully conversant with the Code of Conduct and standards of ethical behaviour at the Bar.

The ICCA Bar Course is delivered in two cycles each academic year, with the next cycles commencing in September 2021 and January 2022, enabling you to choose the cycle which best suits your individual circumstances and requirements.

Success on the ICCA Bar Course allows you to be called to the Bar and to be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Bar Practice from King’s College London. Please note that call to the Bar also requires completion of Qualifying Sessions with your Inn and passing a ‘fit and proper person’ test.

The ICCA has taken an innovative approach to Bar training, designed for students who are motivated, bright, dedicated and diligent with a realistic chance of attaining the standard required for an award of pupillage, irrespective of their social, cultural and economic background.

Applications open 2 November 2020.

To find out more about the essential features of the ICCA Bar Course, read our online prospectus and for further details continue below:

COVID-19 Arrangements

The ICCA takes its responsibilities for the health and wellbeing of students and staff alike extremely seriously and will remain alert to government advice throughout the pandemic. Part One of the ICCA Bar Course, as an entirely online course, presents few challenges. Part Two is intended to be taught within the precincts of the Inns of Court. We will adapt our course to ensure that social distancing can be maintained for so long as this is required, as well as providing additional online support where necessary.

The situation will be regularly reviewed. We are dedicated to providing exemplary Bar training and this remains our objective notwithstanding any restrictions placed upon staff, students or members of the profession.

Key Features

Part One

  • Part One is delivered entirely online and comprises the knowledge subjects of Criminal Litigation, Evidence & Sentencing and Civil Litigation, Evidence & ADR.
  • As a flexible and accessible programme you will have the opportunity to take Part One by following a recommended structured pathway over 12-14 weeks or at your own pace, at any time of day and from any location.
  • Part One’s professional film content takes you into real civil and criminal courtrooms, allowing you to experience how barristers apply law and procedure in practice.
  • Designed by practitioners and legal academics, online content utilises bespoke interactive learning techniques within each subject designed to demonstrate understanding and apply knowledge, underpinned by realistic case studies, which follow the progress of a case through the legal system.
  • There are  numerous opportunities for self-assessment  on Part One, including stage-by-stage formative (mock) assessments involving a range of single best answer and multiple-choice questions; discussion forums (peer review); knowledge checks and a comprehensive question bank of over 500 practice questions, all designed to enable you to gauge your readiness to sit the BSB’s centrally-set exams.
  • Watch a short Introduction to Part One here.

 

Part Two

  • Following successful completion of Part One, you will move on to Part Two which is taught in person within the precincts of the Inns of Court and requires full-time attendance.
  • Part Two comprises the skills subjects of Advocacy, Conference, Legal Research & Opinion Writing and Drafting , together with an online Professional Ethics module designed to provide you with a clear understanding of professional ethical principles.
  • You will have the ability to focus on the skills subjects on Part Two, having already passed and gained a solid understanding of the knowledge subjects in Part One.
  • Attendance for only 20 or 22 weeks is required for Part Two, based on a four-day week with 17 weeks of face-to-face teaching and assessment. (Due to holidays, commencing Part Two in March takes 20 weeks and commencing Part Two in September takes 22 weeks.)
  • The ICCA is dedicated to ensuring the highest educational standards. Part Two is taught by experienced tutors from the ICCA, all of whom boast many years’ professional educational and practice experience.
  • There is a significant emphasis on advocacy skills on Part Two, involving all aspects of courtroom advocacy from bail to appellate work in criminal cases and submissions to trial advocacy in civil cases, as well as vulnerable witness advocacy training and realistic mock trials, all taught by accredited advocacy trainers. This ensures that you will be prepared for the demands of practice and not simply for advocacy assessments.
  • As Part Two is taught within the precincts of the Inns of Court, you are encouraged to use your individual Inn’s library as a place of quiet study and research.
  • The guiding principle for Part Two is the concentration on vital practitioner skills in the classroom and to increase the focus on practice, feedback and reflection in order to fully prepare you for pupillage or work-based learning.
  • The ICCA has strong links to the profession. On Part Two you will be introduced to a range of bespoke lectures, workshops and symposiums in specialist practice areas delivered by Specialist Bar Associations, and by experts in other fields such as neuroscience, statistics and mental illness.
  • With the success of your future career in mind, dedicated careers advice and support is available to you throughout Part One and Part Two of the ICCA Bar Course.

Course Cycles

The ICCA Bar Course is delivered in two cycles each academic year, enabling you to choose a cycle to suit your individual circumstances and requirements:

First Cycle
Part One (online) September 2021 (anticipated completion December 2021); leading to
Part Two (in person) March 2022 (anticipated completion August 2022).

Second Cycle
Part One (online) January 2022 (anticipated completion April 2022); leading to
Part Two (in person) September 2022 (anticipated completion February 2023).

Anticipated completion dates assume passing assessments at the first attempt and following our recommended structured learning pathway for Part One.

Fees

For the 2021/22 Cycles, the ICCA fees will be:

  • Part One: £515 in addition to which students will pay £511 for textbooks and the BSB intake fee of £575. The total payable for Part One is £1,601 
  • Part Two: £11,585 in addition to which, students must pay the BSB intake fee of £295. The total payable for Part Two is £11,880
  • Total combined cost: £13,481

The ICCA Bar Course reduces the financial risk to students by charging for Part One with no Part Two cost incurred for any student not proceeding to Part Two and no deposit required.

Applications

Applications for both course cycles open on 2 November 2020 at 12pm and close on 15 January 2021 at 12pm. You can apply via a link on this website which will be available when applications open.

In accordance with its Fair Admissions and Equality and Diversity Policies, the ICCA seeks individuals who are motivated, bright, dedicated and diligent with a realistic chance of attaining the standard required for an award of pupillage, regardless of your social, cultural and economic background.

Applications are measured against fair and transparent criteria, all protected characteristics and references to schools and universities attended by applicants are removed from applications and all admissions staff are fully trained in fair and inclusive admissions practices.

Successful Completion of the ICCA Bar Course

Successful completion of the ICCA Bar Course allows you to be called to the Bar of England & Wales . (Please note that Call to the Bar also requires students to pass ‘fit and proper person’ checks and to complete Qualifying Sessions.)

Following successful completion of the ICCA Bar Course, you will also receive the award of Postgraduate Diploma in Bar Practice (PGDip) from King’s College London. The Dickson Poon School of Law at King’s College London is the validating body for the ICCA Bar Course.

Professional Practice Requirements

The ICCA Bar Course has been designed directly from the BSB’s Professional Statement for Barristers and therefore all learning outcomes are based on the requirements of professional practice. Additionally, the ICCA have designed complementary learning outcomes and supporting materials which will provide a high academic experience for all students.

The ICCA is a BSB Authorised Education and Training Organisation (AETO). The ICCA is registered with the Office for Students as an HE Provider. Details can be found here.

Please note that registration on the Bar Course of the ICCA confers no advantage (in comparison to any other AETO) in relation to Inns’ scholarships or awards, Inns’ membership, Qualifying Sessions or Call to the Bar.

The ICCA Bar Course: Modules and Assessments

Part One Modules

Part One of the ICCA Bar Course is an entirely online course covering two teaching modules:

  1. Civil Litigation, Evidence and Alternative Dispute Resolution
  2. Criminal Litigation, Evidence and Sentencing

The curriculum for these modules is set by the BSB. The content of Part One of the ICCA Bar Course has been designed to comply with the specifications of the BSB Curriculum and Assessment Strategy in respect of these modules. See the module specification below.

 

Part One Academic Support

Tutor reviewed online forums will allow Part One students working on a particular Module or Unit to collaborate with their fellow students. Students will be also be able to communicate with each other more generally via a social media platform embedded in the ICCA’s VLE, which will allow them to seek and offer peer-to-peer assistance and share revision techniques.

In the period leading up to the Part One summative assessments, assessment preparation support will also be available to students in the form of Revision Webinars, and students will also be able to access tutor assistance through a revision support email service.

Students considering studying on Part One of the ICCA Bar Course should, however, be aware that the mode of learning on this part of the course is predominantly through self-study. In order to allow us to prioritise affordability and flexibility on the Part One course, the amount of individual academic tutor support a student will receive will be very limited. Students are advised to consider carefully whether their individual learning style is suited to this type of programme before applying.

Careers and pastoral support is available to students on Part One as well as Part Two of the ICCA Bar Course. The ICCA’s Director of Careers is available from September 2020 to any ICCA student actively engaged in the pursuit of pupillage. This is a vital element of the ICCA provision for students and we encourage you to make the most of these resources.

 

Part One Assessments

The final assessments for the Part One modules are set and marked by the Bar Standards Board (BSB). These are known as centrally-set assessments.

There are three opportunities to sit these assessments over the year: in April, August and December. The exact dates of the assessments are prescribed by the BSB.

The ICCA will provide the facilities for you to sit these assessments and venues will be made available both in London and in another regional location. You can also apply to sit the assessments overseas.

Civil Litigation, Evidence and Alternative Dispute Resolution
The summative assessment will consist of one assessment in two Parts:

  • Part 1: a two hour closed-book examination comprising multiple choice questions (MCQs) and single best answer questions (SBAs).
  • Part 2: a two hour open-book examination comprising MCQs and SBAs, including rolling case scenarios. The permitted material for the examination will be the White Book.

Both Parts will be assessed on separate days. Assessment will be such that a broad range of the syllabus is assessed and that any part of it may be assessed in either Part.

Criminal Litigation, Evidence and Sentencing
The summative assessment will be set and marked centrally by the BSB. It will consist of 75 MCQs and SBAs and the examination will last three hours. Assessment will be such that a broad range of the syllabus is assessed and that any part of it may be assessed.

 

Part Two Modules

Part Two consists of seven teaching modules covering the skills that you will need to practice successfully at the Bar.

Advocacy
The three Advocacy modules, Examination-in-Chief, Cross-Examination and Submissions Advocacy, make up 35% of the ICCA Bar Course. These modules are designed using realistic civil and criminal case papers and the advocacy exercises you will take part in will provide you with the experience needed to equip yourself with the skills needed to carry out courtroom advocacy when you go into practice.

In the summative and formative assessments for both examination-in-chief and cross-examination you will be given the opportunity to develop your witness-handling skills by examining witnesses played by professional actors.

All advocacy sessions are taught in groups of no more than 6 students. All of our advocacy tutors are experienced practitioners who have received specialist training and accreditation in the teaching of advocacy.

Opinion Writing and Legal Research
On this module you will receive help and guidance via the VLE, as well as in face-to-face teaching sessions to enable you to develop your case analysis and legal research skills and help you to become proficient in producing written legal advice that is accurate, practical and professional.

You will be given the opportunity to complete a number of legal research opinions on which you will be given comprehensive feedback from your tutor, as well as receiving feedback on a full formative assessment. You will also have the opportunity to consolidate and review this feedback in a one-to-one feedback meeting with your tutor before sitting the final assessment.

Drafting
On the drafting module you will be guided step-by-step in the skill of producing effective, concise and precise statements of case in both criminal and civil proceedings.

You will receive written feedback on your work from your tutor as you progress, as well as receiving feedback on a full formative assessment. As with Opinion Writing (above) you will also have the opportunity to consolidate and review this feedback in a one-to-one feedback meeting with your tutor before sitting the final assessment.

Conference Skills
The Conference course is taught in small groups of not more than six students. Over the course you will be given the opportunity to conduct a number of full conferences, predominantly using criminal case papers and will receive comprehensive feedback from a tutor which is designed to help you reflect on and further develop your skills.

You will also be given the opportunity to practise your conference skills on a client played by a professional actor before undertaking a similar exercise as part of the final conference assessment.

Professional Ethics
Professional Ethics pervade the entire Bar Course. You will be instructed on how the core values contained in the Bar Code of Conduct (as set out in the BSB Handbook) apply to all elements of a barrister’s practice and will be expected to conduct yourself ethically at all times.

You will also be required to complete a discrete Professional Ethics module that is taught predominantly online and assessed by way of a multiple-choice question-style assessment – a 2-hour exam which is closed book. This module is designed to ensure that you have a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the Code of Conduct before you embark on pupillage.

 

Part Two Assessments

Examination-in-Chief
Oral assessment (filmed): complete examination-in-chief of a witness in a criminal case.
Duration: 15 minutes. 60% pass mark.

Cross-Examination
Oral assessment (filmed): complete cross-examination of a witness in a criminal case.
Duration: 15 minutes. 60% pass mark

Submissions Advocacy
Oral assessment (filmed): submissions to a judge in a civil case plus assessed skeleton argument.
Duration: 15 minutes. 60% pass mark

Opinion Writing and Legal Research
Written assessment (take-and-do). Students have one calendar week in which to complete a 4000-word opinion which incorporates an assessed legal research exercise. Both components of the assessment will be submitted at the same time but will be marked separately.
60% pass mark (Legal Research graded as Competent/Not Competent)

Drafting
Written assessment (supervised): drafting a substantive statement of case using civil case papers.
Duration: 3 hours. 60% pass mark

Conference Skills
Oral assessment (filmed): conference with a client in a criminal case.
Duration: 25 minutes. 60% pass mark

Professional Ethics
Multiple choice question assessment (supervised/closed book) on the Code of Conduct for the Bar of England and Wales
Duration: 2 hours. 60% pass mark

Module Specification

For more information about the ICCA Bar Course please see our Frequently Asked Questions here:

FAQs