Entry Requirements

The BSB has conditionally authorised the ICCA to deliver its new two-part Bar Course. The conditions of authorisation are that the ICCA’s application for registration with the Office for Students is approved and that thereafter a contract is entered with the BSB to deliver the authorised course. Subject to these final steps, the ICCA will take applications from December 2019 from students wishing to embark on the two-part course from September 2020.

Part One

Applicants to the ICCA Bar Course must meet the following minimum academic entry requirements by enrolment on Part One:

  1. Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) pass. We strongly recommend taking the BCAT as soon as possible.
  2. Undergraduate acceptable law degree minimum 2:1 or non-law degree + GDL Law Conversion (with Commendation or Distinction). See below for more information on undergraduate degree/GDL requirements.
  3. Exercise good English language skills. All students are required to have an effective command of the English language and be able to use it appropriately, accurately and fluently so as to handle complex and detailed argumentation. Students will use correct English grammar, spelling and punctuation. Students must be able to demonstrate that their English language ability is at least equivalent to:
    – a minimum score of 7.5 in each section of the IELTS academic test, or
    – a minimum score of 73 in each part of the Pearson Test of English (academic).

Part Two

Applicants to the ICCA Bar Course Part Two must meet the additional following entry requirements:

  1. Membership of an Inn of Court. Please look at the individual websites of Gray’s Inn, Lincoln’s Inn, Middle Temple, Inner Temple.
  2. Successfully passing the centralised (BSB) Assessments contained in Part One of the ICCA Bar Course at the first or second attempt (excluding sittings discounted due to mitigating circumstances). The Part One assessments are (1) Criminal Litigation, Evidence and Sentencing and (2) Civil Litigation, Evidence and ADR.

Applicants will be responsible for providing satisfactory evidence of meeting these requirements upon enrolment on Part One and continuation to Part Two.

Shortlisting and Selection Event

All applicants will submit applications through our Applications Portal which opens in December 2019. Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to attend a selection day/evening comprising an interview, advocacy exercise and written exercise.

Please go to the Application Process section for more information including the criteria applicants will be assessed against both at the shortlisting and selection event stages.

All successful applicants will receive offers for the entire course (Parts One and Two) conditional on meeting entry requirements.

Further Information on Degree/GDL Requirements

The minimum academic entry requirements for the ICCA Bar Course include:

  • An acceptable law degree awarded at a minimum level of Upper Second Class (2:1); or
  • A degree in any other subject awarded at a minimum level of Lower Second Class (2:2) together with a Graduate Diploma in Law with Commendation or Distinction.

An acceptable law degree means a UK degree awarded at Level 6 (or above) of the ‘Framework for Higher Education Qualifications’ by a recognised degree awarding body which covers the foundations of legal knowledge subjects and the skills associated with graduate legal work (e.g. legal research) and which is compliant with the QAA benchmark statement for law;

A degree means a UK degree, awarded at Level 6 (or above) of the ‘Framework for Higher Education Qualifications’, by a recognised degree awarding body.

Graduate Dipoloma in Law
Students who do not hold an acceptable law degree must take a law conversion course, such as the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) or equivalent qualification, which must cover the foundations of legal knowledge subjects.

Certificates of Academic Standing
In order to complete the academic component of training (before proceeding to the vocational stage of bar training such as the ICCA Bar Course) based on a law conversion course, a student must:

  • hold a UK degree awarded at (or above) the 2:2 minimum standard; or
  • have been granted a Certificate of Academic Standing (see Part 2A (A4) of the Bar Qualification Manual) by the BSB.

Students who do not obtain a UK degree of the required standard must verify the equivalence of their qualifications or experience by obtaining a Certificate of Academic Standing from the BSB. This a Bar Standards Board requirement. If you are offered a place on the ICCA Bar Course, it will be a requirement to upload your Certificate of Academic Standing upon enrolment. For further information please visit the BSB website or contact the BSB Authorisations Team.

Students who do not hold an acceptable law degree must take the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) which must cover the foundations of legal knowledge subjects.

Time Limits
To be eligible for enrolment, students must commence the Bar Course within five years of completion of the academic component (undergraduate degree in law or GDL). This means that if you took your law degree more than five years ago or your law degree did not include each of the seven the foundations of legal knowledge subjects, you will need to complete a conversion course commonly referred to as a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).

Conditional Offers
All offers based on predicted acceptable law degree grades will be conditional upon receiving an Upper Second (2:1) or above. All offers based on predicted GDL grades will be conditional upon receiving a Commendation or above.

Predicted Grades and References
Applicants with predicted law degree awards and GDL classifications will require a reference in support of their application from a nominated academic referee who is familiar with their work and is able to provide an accurate assessment of their undergraduate degree award or GDL classification. The ICCA is unable to take into account references provided by members of the applicant’s family and friends. Please note that for administrative reasons, references must be provided by the closing date for applications (12pm on Friday 10 January 2020) and it will be the responsibility of the applicant and referee to ensure this date is met. Details of your academic referee and their academic email address are entered into the applications portal which opens on 9 December 2019. Please ensure in good time that your referee is aware the reference must be provided by the closing date for applications.

Mitigating Circumstances
Students who have already received their law degree award or GDL (or equivalent qualification) classification but have attained either a lower second award (2:2) or GDL pass will not be considered to have met the minimum academic entry requirements unless in either case mitigating circumstances apply. Applicants who did not achieve this minimum degree award or GDL classification and consider that they would have done but for mitigating circumstances, may apply to the ICCA for the exercise of discretion to disapply the minimum degree award or GDL classification requirement in their individual case. Please read our mitigating circumstances guidance.

The criteria for discretion to be exercised concerning mitigating circumstances are: (i) there is clear evidence that the student is academically of upper second class quality (for students who have taken an acceptable law degree) or of Commendation or Distinction quality (for students who have taken the GDL) overall; and (ii) there is clear evidence of a temporary cause which prevented the student from fulfilling their full academic potential, which has not already been considered by their course provider in the award of their degree. The ICCA will require an academic reference and evidence in support of your application for mitigating circumstances. Mitigating circumstances are applied for during the application process.

Please note that mitigating circumstances can only be taken into account for candidates who have already received their law degree award or GDL award. In all other cases, the ICCA understands that circumstances beyond an applicant’s control may detrimentally affect their academic progress and therefore have an adverse impact on an application. In such instances, the ICCA expects applicants to have taken appropriate action to ensure the relevant examination bodies have allowed for such circumstances.