Entry Requirements

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Part One

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

  1. An undergraduate acceptable law degree minimum 2:1; or a non-law degree minimum 2:2 + Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) or equivalent law conversion course with Commendation or Distinction.  Any offers to students awaiting results will be conditional on meeting these minimum academic standard. See below for more information on undergraduate degree/GDL requirements.
  2. Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) pass. A BCAT pass is not required at the application stage, but is required by the time of enrolment. We strongly recommend taking the BCAT as soon as possible.
  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).
    The scores above demonstrate the required minimum standards. You are not required to provide evidence that you have taken these tests or of the score you achieved, unless requested to do so. The ICCA tests English language skills as part of its standard application process.

Part Two

The following additional entry requirements must be met before continuing to Part Two of the ICCA Bar Course:

  1. Membership of an Inn of Court. Please look at the individual websites of Gray’s InnLincoln’s InnMiddle TempleInner Temple. Membership of an Inn is recommended before commencing Part One.
  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

All applicants will submit applications through our online Applications Portal. Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to attend a selection day  comprising an interview and advocacy exercise.

Please go to the Application Process section for more information, including the criteria applicants will be measured against both at the shortlisting and selection 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
  • 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/Republic of Ireland 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/Republic of Ireland degree, awarded at Level 6 (or above) of the ‘Framework for Higher Education Qualifications’, by a recognised degree awarding body.

Graduate Diploma in Law or equivalent law conversion course
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.

Non-UK/Republic of Ireland Qualifications
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/Republic of Ireland degree awarded at (or above) the 2:2 minimum standard; or
  • have been granted a Certificate of Academic Standing by the Bar Standards Board (BSB). (For more information see Part 2A (A4) of the Bar Qualification Manual.)

Students who do not obtain a UK/Republic of Ireland 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 GDL or equivalent law conversion course which must cover the foundations of legal knowledge subjects.

Time Limits and ‘stale’ qualifications
To be eligible for enrolment, students must commence the ICCA Bar Course within five years of 31 December of the year in which they completed their academic component (i.e. their undergraduate law degree or GDL). This is a BSB requirement designed to prevent students proceeding to Bar training with out-of-date legal knowledge.

For example, if you completed your law degree in 2016, the 5 years runs from 31 December 2016 and expires on 30 December 2021, meaning that you would have to commence Bar training before 30 December 2021.

If you took your law degree or GDL more than five years ago, or if your law degree does not include each of the seven foundations of legal knowledge subjects, you will need to complete a GDL or equivalent law conversion course.

Alternatively, you can apply to the BSB for reactivation of ‘stale’ qualifications or for full or partial exemption from taking the Graduate Diploma in Law or equivalent law conversion course. Please note that the ICCA cannot consider or undertake these applications on your behalf.

Conditional Offers
All offers are conditional on meeting the published minimum academic entry requirements by the time of enrolment.

Predicted Grades
The ICCA recognises that many applicants will not have received their final degree award or GDL classification when they apply for a place on the ICCA Bar Course. In these circumstances applicants will be asked to predict their own grades. References in support are not required, but offers will be conditional on meeting our minimum academic entry requirements by the time of enrolment.

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:

  1. 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
  2. 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 and references/evidence uploaded during the online 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.