What is the cost of barrister training?

Fees and funding for Bar training

It is an unfortunate fact of life that undergraduate and postgraduate courses can come at a considerable financial cost. Bar training courses are no different, although you will find that the fees differ across providers and across regional centres.

The ICCA is a not-for-profit course provider, so our focus is to provide the greatest value at the most affordable price to all of our students. You can read more here about ICCA Bar Course fees.

Below you will find some helpful information to assist you, from a financial perspective, when choosing the Bar training course that is right for you.

What is covered in the fees?

When you look at the headline cost of a course, check that it includes both the cost of textbooks and online research resources (you cannot get by without these) and the BSB intake fee of £705 (all students must pay this wherever they choose to do their course).

How do payments need to be made and when?

If a payment plan would suit you then enquire if this is available. With two-part courses, you should be able to pay for each part separately. For example, on the ICCA Bar Course you pay independently for Part One and Part Two. When you join us, you are not obliged to continue from Part One to Part Two and would not be expected to pay for Part Two (either by a lump sum or by instalments) until you enrol on that part of the course.

Does the fee cover all modules and options?

Some course providers charge different fees depending on what you choose to do on the course, such as charging for additional modules. Others add an LLM option at additional cost; this allows you to take out a government loan towards the cost of the course, repayable with interest at a later stage when you are earning over a fixed sum each year. You will have to determine if this is the best route for you:

  • whether an LLM from your individual course provider is something that will enhance your prospects of pupillage
  • whether you are willing to shoulder the additional burden of completing an LLM alongside your Bar training course, and
  • whether you are able to meet any increased course costs by doing so.

The ICCA does not currently provide an LLM option for students.

What additional expenses are involved?

When you do Bar training, you will have to factor in a number of additional expenses, including:

  • Living accommodation (affected by location, length of course, attendance requirements). For example, if you choose to do the ICCA Bar Course, there are no attendance or location requirements for Part One. For Part Two, you will need to be in travelling distance of London for 17 weeks (March start) or 19 weeks (September start);
  • Travel expenses (affected by location, length of course, attendance requirements);
  • Joining an Inn (before enrolment, or before Part 2 of a two-part course). Up to £115 one-off payment;
  • The cost of 10 Inns’ Qualifying Sessions. These are set at reasonable and affordable prices because they are funded to a large extent by the Inns. Qualifying Sessions provide you with the chance to meet practitioners and experts, gain knowledge and experience and improve your skills. See Inns’ websites for details;
  • The cost of Call to the Bar. £75-£125;
  • Visa fees where applicable.

Take time out to calculate your costs in advance. Once you know the true costs you can turn to sources of funding.

How to fund your Bar training course

Paying for Bar training is an important issue for many students. Below we have included a number of typical sources of funding that many students have relied upon to enable them to train for the Bar.

 

Scholarships

A source of funding open to everyone (GDL and Bar students alike) are Inns’ scholarships. The Inns provide over £5m each year in scholarships and these are available to students irrespective of where they choose to do their GDL or Bar training.

Applications are made directly to the Inns; and this is where you can read more about their scholarships and application deadlines:

Typically, the scholarship application deadline for law conversion courses (such as the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) or equivalent) is in early May and the application deadline for Bar training course scholarships is early November in the year preceding course commencement. As such, if you are planning on starting a Bar training course in September 2023 you should apply for your scholarship by early November 2022.

Inns scholarships can assist in a variety of circumstances and can include residential scholarships which are of considerable assistance when taking into account your general living expenses.

Some course providers offer financial incentives to selected students. You should check on the websites of individual course providers for details of eligibility, how to apply and the level of award on offer. As a not-for-profit course provider, the ICCA is unable to offer scholarships or awards to students, but rather maintains fees at the most affordable level for all students. We have a Hardship Fund and are working towards being able to offer SBA funded bursaries to students who meet certain criteria.

 

Loans

Loans are another method by which students can seek to fund their Bar Course fees. Loans are available from banks and other commercial organisations, as well as from the government. Government loans (currently of up to £11,836) are only available for Bar Courses that provide a Master’s Degree (e.g. LLM). This is because Bar training courses are a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) qualification and carry insufficient credits for a Master’s degree.

As such, many providers offer an LLM which encapsulates the Bar Course together with additional modules which attract sufficient credits to turn your Bar Course into an LLM, thereby enabling you to apply for a Master’s loan. An LLM can cost more than a standalone Bar course, so check and factor this in when making your decision. At the time of writing, postgraduate loans are repayable at 6% of everything you later earn over £21,000 per year.

 

Employment

For many students, the only available option will be to continue working part-time or full-time during your Bar training course. Some course providers provide a part-time option where, for example, you attend for a weekend once every month, although bear in mind that this requires careful time management to cover the significant work that will be required between each attendance.

The ICCA Bar Course provides flexibility in Part One where you study a specially developed and highly interactive online course for your BSB centrally-set assessments in civil and criminal litigation. That students have achieved such exceptional results adopting this method demonstrates that for most it is a highly effective mode of study. It also allows students to either follow a guided pathway over 14 weeks or to take a longer and more flexible approach to allow for work or other responsibilities, such as caring for children. At the ICCA, Part Two of the course is a full-time course in London for 17 weeks (March start) or 19 weeks (September start) so please bear this in mind when planning your finances and living arrangements.

Next: What can I do to help myself become a barrister?