About the ICCA Bar Course

Welcome to the ICCA Bar Course

“The ICCA has the highest average passing rate across both Litigation subjects and all sittings to date … The ICCA is, thus far, some way ahead of the other AETO centres in terms of cohort performance.” BSB Central Examinations Board Chair’s Report 26 February 2024 (page 47)


Outstanding Bar Training for Future Barristers


Designed and taught by experienced barristers and educational specialists, the ICCA Bar Course is innovative, flexible and accessible, offering a learning experience of outstanding quality.

This Vocational Stage of Bar training will introduce you to many new skills. It is useful to think of the Vocational Stage as the bridge between academic study and practical work experience in pupillage or work-based learning.

You will be learning the procedural and practical aspects of civil litigation, alternative dispute resolution and criminal litigation, evidence and sentencing. You will learn the fundamental skills of advocacy, from making submissions to a judge to handling witnesses in examination-in-chief and cross-examination. You will be introduced to the skills utilised in conducting effective conferences with clients, to how to draft pleadings and to write legal opinions. You will be introduced to Professional Ethics, including the professional duties of barristers to the court and to their clients.

The ICCA Bar Course is delivered in two parts using a combination of in-person teaching, e-learning, and self-study. Validated by King’s College London, the ICCA Bar Course is designed to equip you with the knowledge and vital practitioner skills required to achieve success in pupillage and then in professional practice as a barrister.

ICCA Bar Course Prospectus – Sept 2024-Jan 2025 >>
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Course Structure

Part One

On Part One you will be studying for the Bar Standards Board (BSB) centrally set assessments of Civil Litigation, Evidence and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Criminal Litigation, Evidence and Sentencing. Assessments are written and marked by the BSB (hence ‘centrally set’). You can choose to take your assessments in December, April or August.

Part One is delivered entirely online and commences in either September or January. Your learning is through self-study at your own pace or by following a guided pathway (over 12-14 weeks). There are no timetabled sessions or attendance requirements (save for assessments – see more below), so Part One can be studied at times to suit your personal circumstances and from any location.

You will experience interactive study, supported by regular self-testing after each module, a wealth of questions to continually test your understanding and multiple professional courtroom films demonstrating the practical application of the legal procedures you will be learning. You will have access to online forums for tutor and peer support and a number of pre-assessment revision webinars. Part One students are in regular communication with one another and are assigned a personal tutor for pastoral support. As a Part One student, you have full access to careers support and our considerable Careers Hub.

You will also be provided with (included in your fees) all the learning resources required, including a hardcopy of the White Book (2 volumes), e-book versions of Blackstone’s Criminal Practice, the Jackson ADR Handbook and access to Westlaw and LexisNexis legal databases.

Part One Modules and Assessments

You can read more below about the Part One course and the centrally set assessments. (If viewing on a mobile device, please turn to landscape view to read the tables.)

Civil Litigation, Evidence and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)Self-study, online learningTwo BSB centrally set assessments (in person at assessment centre)

  • Assessment 1: Closed-book – multiple choice questions (MCQs) and single best answer questions (SBAs).
    Duration: 2 hours
  • Assessment 2: Open-book [White Book] – MCQs and SBAs, including rolling case scenarios.
    Duration: 2.5 hours
Criminal Litigation, Evidence and SentencingSelf-study, online learningOne BSB centrally set assessment (in person at assessment centre)

  • 75 MCQs and SBAs.
    Duration: 3 hours

There are three opportunities each year to sit the BSB assessments: April, August and December. For example, if you start Part One in September, you can take your BSB exams in December, or the following April.

Online Assessments

Following the BSB announcement on 5 May 2023, all centrally set assessments from August 2023 must be taken in person. Online assessments are therefore no longer permitted by the BSB. Students who choose to sit overseas are responsible for finding a suitable venue, confirming its availability, and any costs related to sitting the Bar Standards Board assessments at an approved overseas venue. This includes, and is not limited to, invigilation costs and room hire, but does not include courier costs which will be covered by the ICCA. Any venue must be approved by the BSB before it can be confirmed.

When you have passed your Part One assessments and joined an Inn of Court, you can proceed to Part Two.

Part Two

Part Two is delivered in person over 17 weeks (March to July) or 19 weeks (September to January). All teaching takes place within the exceptional training facilities of the Inns of Court (Gray’s InnInner TempleLincoln’s Inn and Middle Temple). You will have access to the Inns’ libraries for quiet study and will share your environment on a daily basis with members of the profession. All sessions are timetabled in small groups and taught by experienced barristers, with a focus on individual attention.

Having passed the knowledge subjects of Civil Litigation/ADR and Criminal Litigation on Part One, the focus of Part Two is the skills subjects of Advocacy, Conference skills, Drafting and Opinion Writing & Legal Research. You will also undertake an online Professional Ethics module to introduce you to the ethical standards and professional duties of barristers. All. modules are backed up with additional information and learning available through the VLE, including legal databases for research.

To commence Part Two you will have passed your centrally set assessments on Part One and joined an Inn of Court.

Please note that Part Two is an intensive full-time course in London for which there is an attendance requirement for timetabled classes. Please bear this in mind when planning your finances and living arrangements.  There is no online-only or part-time option for Part Two.

Part Two Modules and Assessments

You can read more below about the Part Two modules and methods of assessment. (If viewing on a mobile device, please turn to landscape view to read the tables.)


All oral advocacy practice sessions are taught in small groups of 4 (Examination-in-Chief and Cross-Examination) or in double-length sessions in groups of up to 6 (Submissions Advocacy) by experienced practitioners
In-personInternal exams

  • Examination-in-Chief – Live eliciting of information from actor/witness, 15 minutes before tutor judge
  • Cross-Examination – Live cross-examination of actor/witness, 15 minutes before tutor judge
  • Submissions Advocacy – 15 minutes of oral advocacy performed to a tutor/judge and marked skeleton argument
Examination-in-Chief – 17.5%

Cross-Examination – 17.5%

Submissions Advocacy –15%

Total 50%

Examination-in-Chief – 14

Cross-Examination – 14

Submissions Advocacy –12

Total 40

Examination-in-Chief – 140

Cross-Examination – 140

Submissions Advocacy –120

Total 400

Opinion Writing and Legal ResearchIn-personInternal exam

Take-away written problem with a week to complete, maximum 4000 words plus legal research trail

DraftingIn-person and onlineInternal exam

3-hour supervised assessment

Conference Skills
 Taught in small groups of up to 6 in double-length sessions
In-personInternal exam

Live conference undertaken with actor/client, 25 minutes and submission of conference plan

Professional EthicsOnline with in-person introductionInternal exam

Closed-book, multiple-choice, 40-question test lasting 2 hours


Course Cycles and Start Dates 2024-2025

The ICCA Bar Course offers two course cycles each year with dates as follows:

ModeStart dateanticipated Completion
September 2024 Cycle
Part OneSelf-study, online learningSeptember 2024December 2024
Part TwoIn personMarch 2025July 2025
January 2025 Cycle
Part OneSelf-study, online learningJanuary 2025April 2025
Part TwoIn personSeptember 2025January 2026

The anticipated completion dates above assume passing assessments at the first attempt and following our recommended structured learning pathway for Part One. Commencing Part Two is conditional on passing all Part One assessments and joining an Inn of Court.

As mentioned above in Part One, there are three opportunities each year to sit the BSB assessments: April, August and December. For this reason, Part One offers you the flexibility to take your BSB assessments at the first opportunity (by following the guided pathway), or to take them at a later date.

Practical examples of Course Cycles

  1. Part One September 2024 start – BSB assessments taken at first opportunity in December 2024. Part Two commences March 2025 and completes July 2025.
  2. Part One January 2025 start – BSB assessments taken at first opportunity in April 2025. Part Two commences September 2025 and completes January 2026.
  3. Part One September 2024 start – BSB assessments taken at second opportunity in April 2025. Part Two commences September 2025 and completes January 2026.
  4. Part One January 2025 – BSB assessments taken at second opportunity in August 2025. Part Two commences March 2026 and completes July 2026.

You are able to take both Civil litigation/ADR centrally set assessments in one sitting (e.g. December 2024) and your Criminal Litigation centrally set assessment at another sitting (e.g. April 2025) should you choose to do so.

When a particular course cycle is required by a candidate for good reason (e.g. due to commencement of pupillage) we will ensure you are assigned to that cycle. Please be aware that if you are applying for pupillage during your course, most pupillages will not commence until September/October of the year after you apply (e.g. pupillage application January/February 2025; pupillage commences Sept/Oct 2026). For this reason, unless you have secured pupillage before enrolling on the ICCA Bar Course, you should not be too concerned as to which course cycle you attend.

Your Career Development

Throughout the course you can benefit from:

  • Dean’s lectures, including visiting guest lectures from senior practitioners and the judiciary spanning a diverse range of specialist practice and subject areas.
  • One-to-one support from our experienced Careers Advisers, helping you to secure pupillage.
  • Access to the ICCA Careers Hub, providing a wealth of advice from pupillage applications and interview preparation to the numerous areas of practice open to you.
  • Joining the Advocacy Committee to enhance your advocacy skills and take part in external mooting competitions as an ICCA student.
  • Access to pro bono work experience with Advocate (previously the Bar Pro Bono Unit).
  • Chambers-sponsored prizes and awards, including opportunities for mini-pupillage and one-to-one mentoring.
  • A Bar Course respected by the profession and designed to be directly relevant to practice as a Barrister.

Wellbeing, Disability and Learning Support

As a welcoming, diverse and supportive community, we work closely with you to enable you to reach your full potential

  • The ICCA has been awarded a Certificate of Recognition by the Bar Council for our commitment to the wellbeing of our students and bespoke wellbeing materials are embedded into the Bar Course.
  • We provide bespoke learning and studying support, as well as personalised assessment arrangements, to support students with a disabilities and specific learning difficulties, or other temporary conditions that may affect learning, studying and assessment performance at the ICCA.
  • You will also be allocated a personal tutor, your key contact to provide pastoral support throughout the course (Parts One and Two) and to guide and encourage you academically on Part Two.
  • Our students have access to free 24/7 counselling services via Health Assured.

Course Award, Call to the Bar and Commencing Pupillage

On successful completion of the ICCA Bar Course, you will:

  • Receive a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Bar Practice from King’s College London, our validating academic partner.
  • Be eligible to be Called to the Bar of England and Wales (subject to meeting the qualifying session requirements of your Inn of Court and passing their ‘fit and proper person’ checks).
  • Be able to commence pupillage or work-based learning, subject to acceptance for pupillage by your chosen pupillage provider.

All pupillages are advertised on the Pupillage Gateway and applications can be made each year from early January to early February. You can apply for pupillage before commencing your Bar training or during your course. Many ICCA students who choose the September course cycle and complete their Part One BSB assessments in December, then use the following gap in their studies (before Part Two commences in March) to complete and submit pupillage applications. Most pupillages applied for in January/February will commence in September/October the following year (i.e. approximately 18 months after the application is made).


Registration on the Bar Course of the ICCA confers no advantage in relation to Inns’ scholarships or awards, Inns membership, Qualifying Sessions or Call to the Bar. For more information see the Policy on Independence between the Inns of Court and the ICCA.