The Application Process

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.

The ICCA is committed to equality of opportunity and the promotion of diversity. We adopt fair and transparent admissions and selection processes so as to achieve our aim of accepting candidates 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.

When you apply for the ICCA Bar Course you will be applying for both Parts One and Two of the course. For further information please read About the ICCA Bar Course and our Entry Requirements, as well as our FAQs.  We will also be holding Student Events including webinars in which we will be providing detailed information about the Bar Course and where you will be able to ask ICCA staff any questions you have. These webinars will be held in Autumn 2019.

Application Timeline

  • 9 December 2019, 12pm: Applications portal opens.
  • 10 January 2020, 12pm: Applications portal closes (academic references for applicants with predicted grades must be provided by this closing time and date. See Predicted Grades and References.
  • 14 February 2020: Shortlisted applicants invited to attend selection event.
  • 17 February 2020, 5pm: Deadline for accepting invitation to selection event.
  • 20 February 2020, 5.15pm-9pm: Evening Selection Event
  • 21 February 2020, 9.15am-5pm: Weekday Selection Event
  • 22 February 2020, 9.15am-5pm: Weekend Selection Event
  • 2 March 2020: Offers
  • 3 April 2020, 12pm: Acceptance deadline.

Please note the short timespan between selection event invitations and the individual selection events. Applicants should ensure they are available on these dates should they be invited to selection. Read more below.

Stage 1: Applications Portal (open 9 December 2019 - 10 January 2020)

The first stage of the application process is through our applications portal. Clear instructions will be contained within the portal when it opens to assist you in making your application, including a help section and contact information should you encounter any difficulties.

You can register on the portal when it opens in December 2019. It will close in early January 2020 (specific opening/closing dates to be confirmed). There is no need to contact the ICCA before the portal opens, although we encourage you to join our webinars for useful information and to learn more about the ICCA Bar Course (see “Student Events and Information”).

The ICCA operates a fair admissions policy. This means that all of our trained admissions assessors will not have information relating to your name, address, school or university or protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

Even though some of this information is required to be entered by you during the application process, this is to ensure either that students can meet the minimum entry requirements and for monitoring and contact purposes and the information is removed from your application before it is passed to an assessor. You will not be asked any questions used to determine your application which are designed to reveal this information.  Such information does not form any part of the criteria against which your application will be assessed.

It will only be in the event that our separate internal monitoring processes identify evidence of unfair bias in the application process that proportionate action will be considered to redress this.

In addition to ensuring that you are able to meet our minimum entry requirements to ensure high academic standards, you will be asked a number of questions designed to enable the ICCA to assess if you are motivated, bright, dedicated and diligent with a realistic chance of attaining the standard required for an award of pupillage, irrespective of your social, cultural and economic background.  We are not looking for the “finished article” but rather a student with the individual qualities to enable you to develop and succeed on the ICCA Bar Course and into the profession.

To this end the questions that will be asked of each candidate and the criteria to be applied are as follows:

Motivation
Your reasons for wishing to qualify as a Barrister. Please include an experience you have had within a legal or non-legal environment which has influenced and informed your decision to train for the Bar and why. Please also include here why you feel the ICCA Bar Course model (comprising online learning in Part One and face-to-face teaching in Part Two) would suit your individual learning style, including the ability to work independently with limited tutor support on Part One.

  • Reasons for wishing to qualify as a Barrister are considered and well thought out
  • Justifies how the decision to train for the Bar has been influenced and informed.
  • Has a good understanding of the ICCA two-part Bar Course model and provides considered reasons why it would suit their individual learning preference, including the ability to work independently, with limited tutor support (Part One).
  • Is motivated by studying on the ICCA Bar Course.

You must answer this question within a maximum of 300 words.

Oral Communication Skills
Experience of public speaking where you have sought to persuade an audience to agree with the argument you were advancing. Please provide an example of public speaking to an audience and how you were able or not able to persuade your audience to your point of view. How were you able to use your oral communication skills to connect effectively with your audience?

Your example can be in a legal or non-legal field and could include (but is not limited to) a work-based presentation or an event at school or university where you have communicated with an audience individually or as part of a group on any subject, or taken part in a debate, mock trial or a moot. Please note that losing an argument is not in itself a negative indicator in our assessment of this part.

  • Experience of public speaking to an audience.
  • Logical and considered explanation of how audience was persuaded (or not) to their point of view.
    NB Losing an argument does not in itself detract from the mark awarded.
  • Uses oral communication skills to connect effectively with an audience.

You must answer this question within a maximum of 200 words.

Written Communication Skills
A well written, clearly structured, succinct and grammatically correct application.  Please provide an example of where you have impressed someone/a group with a piece of written work (which does not have to be legal). Your example could include, but is not limited to, persuading someone to your point of view, settling a dispute or gaining a prize in a competition.

An application which is:

  • Well written;
  • Clearly structured;
  • Succinct;
  • Grammatically correct.
  • Ability to impress audience with a piece of written work.

You must answer this question within a maximum of 200 words.

Interpersonal Skills
Your experience of building productive working relationships with individuals. Treating others with courtesy, respect and consideration regardless of who they are. Please provide an example of a time when there was a problem in your working relationship with another individual and you took steps to resolve it. This can be in a legal or non-legal context. What was the problem/issue? What approach did you take? What was the outcome? What did you learn from that experience?

  • Builds productive working relationships
  • Treats others with courtesy, respect and consideration regardless of who they are.
  • Ability to understand and empathise with another’s point of view to achieve a solution.

You must answer this question within a maximum of 200 words.

Takes Responsibility
Please give an example of where you have taken responsibility for a task to ensure it is completed. What did you achieve? What did you learn from the experience? This could be, for example, in a work environment, a sporting environment, a voluntary organisation, or a society.

  • Accepts responsibility for own actions and decisions.
  • Willingness to be accountable for completion of a task to a high standard and how it is completed.
  • Able to reflect on and evaluate own performance to explore opportunities for improvement.

You must answer this question within a maximum of 200 words.

Initiative and Determination
Please give one example of when you have taken the initiative and shown determination to work round a problem or obstacle. This could be in a legal or non-legal context and could include, but is not limited to, settling an argument, finding a solution to a problem for yourself or on behalf of another or overcoming a personal difficulty.

  • Ability to take the initiative to achieve an outcome.
  • A proactive approach.
  • Demonstrates determination to pursue a goal and work round a problem or obstacle.

You must answer this question within a maximum of 200 words.

Choosing Course Cycles

Each application made through our online applications portal (opening 9 December 2019) will be for one of two course cycles as follows:

Cycle 1

  • Part One: commencing September 2020 (anticipated completion December 2020)
  • Part Two: commencing March 2021 (anticipated completion August 2021)

Cycle 2

  • Part One: commencing January 2021 (anticipated completion April 2021)
  • Part Two: commencing September 2021 (anticipated completion February 2022)

Anticipated completion dates assume a student follows the recommended structured pathway for Part One and passes the assessments in both parts of the course at the first attempt. Those students who do not follow the recommended structured pathway, do not pass assessments at the first attempt, or for other reasons delay commencement of Part Two will commence Part Two within a subsequent cycle which will be arranged with the ICCA after enrolment and registration.

During the online application process, applicants may choose which course cycle they wish to follow. Applicants may also choose no preference to which cycle they are allocated. All applicants will be assigned to either Cycle 1 or 2. It will not be possible at the application stage to choose a Part One from Cycle 1 and a Part Two from Cycle 2. Applicants who wish to choose a Part Two commencement date outside their chosen cycle may arrange this with the ICCA registry once they have accepted an offer of a place on the ICCA Bar Course. The ICCA will use its best endeavours to offer applicants a place on their chosen cycle, although this will not always be possible. However, if an applicant requires a chosen cycle for good reason (e.g. pupillage commencing at a certain date) the applicant will have the opportunity to state this during the online application process. Where the ICCA is satisfied that a successful candidate has good reason to require a specific cycle the applicant will be offered that cycle. The cycle allocated to successful applicants will be set out clearly in their offer letter. The ICCA is unable to consider applications for future course cycles other than those listed above.

Stage 2: Shortlisting (January 2020)

After the admissions portal closes on 10th January 2020 at 12pm, your application will be assessed by our trained team of admissions assessors. Successful applicants will be shortlisted and invited to a selection event (see below). Selection event invitations will be sent out to your registered email address (entered on the Applications Portal when you submitted your application).

Unsuccessful applicants will be notified that their applications for the ICCA Bar Course will not be pursued further. Unsuccessful applicants will, of course, be able to pursue any applications they have made for vocational Bar Training to other AETOs. Please note that we will be unable to provide individual feedback to unsuccessful applicants at the shortlisting stage. There is, however, an appeals process for applicants who are dissatisfied with the outcome of their application. Any applicant so affected should contact the admissions office within 10 working days of notification.

Stage 3: Selection Events (February 2020)

Invitations
On 14 February 2020 shortlisted applicants will be invited to a selection event. Selection event invitations will be sent out by email to your registered email address (entered on the Applications Portal when your application was submitted). The email will contain full instructions and a link to enable you to choose the date and time of your selection event. Given the short timespan between notification and the events themselves, it is vital that all applicants prepare themselves by keeping these dates available well in advance.

Dates and Times
Selection events will be held in central London on:

  • Thursday 20 February 2020, 5.15pm-9pm: Evening Selection Event
  • Friday 21 February 2020 9.15am-5pm: Weekday Selection Event
  • Saturday 22 February 2020 9.15am-5pm: Weekend Selection Event

Dates and times will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, so if you receive an invitation you should respond as soon as possible and in any event by 5pm on 17 February 2020. You should anticipate spending approximately three hours at the selection event.

Selection events require attendance. However, if for exceptional reasons (which could include travel or visa issues for international students) you wish to but are unable to attend you will be able to contact the ICCA to make alternative arrangements using the details provided to you in the invitation email.

Unsuccessful applicants will be notified on 14th February 2020 that their applications for a place on the ICCA Bar Course will not be pursued further. Unsuccessful applicants will, of course, be able to pursue any applications they have made for vocational Bar Training to other AETOs. Please note that we will be unable to provide individual feedback to unsuccessful applicants at the shortlisting stage. A complaints and appeals procedure is available to applicants.

At your Selection Event
The selection event will consist of:

  • An introduction to the event by the Dean
  • An Interview
  • A piece of Written Work
  • An advocacy Exercise

Other than the introduction, the order of these events may change for each candidate to allow for efficient use of time and resources throughout the event. All candidates will be assessed in the same way and against the same criteria. Even though certain individual characteristics of applicants will be self-evident during such a selection process, all trained assessors will have no information about individual applicants prior to the process commencing, other than their name and any information which is required to assist with reasonable adjustments.

Should candidates wish to request a reasonable adjustment for the selection day, instructions of how to do so will be contained within the invitation email.

To this end the details and criteria to be applied at each stage of the selection event are as follows:

Interview (20 minutes)

The interview will last for no longer than 20 minutes. The interviewer will not have seen your application and will know nothing about you in advance. The criteria used for the interviews is as follows:

Motivation
A commitment to qualifying as a Barrister.  Has a good understanding of the profession and the skills required to be a Barrister and is energised by the realities of what is involved.

  • Reasons for wishing to qualify as a Barrister are considered and well thought out.
  • Able to explain how the decision to train for the Bar has been influenced and informed.
  • Has a good understanding of the profession.
  • Is motivated by qualifying as a Barrister.

Analysis
The ability to absorb, process and apply a large amount of complex and detailed information both quickly and accurately.

  • Effectively assimilates written or spoken information.
  • Quickly distinguishes between relevant facts and irrelevant information.
  • Applies facts to key aspects of the law (in piece of Written work and in Advocacy Exercise).
  • Provides justification for views or arguments advanced.
  • Is able to unpick complex arguments.
  • Does not make unwarranted assumptions.

Effective Communication
Communicates readily and clearly verbally or in writing with confidence and impact.

  • Uses appropriate spelling, grammar and punctuation (Written piece of work).
  • Is clear and understandable in their communication.
  • Structures communication to aid understanding.
  • Adapts style and language to the needs of the audience.
  • Presents complex points simply and accurately.
  • Builds strong, logical arguments
  • Delivers arguments or views with confidence and impact

Interpersonal Skills
Is skilful in building productive working relationships with others. Treats people with courtesy and respect regardless of who they are.

  • Builds effective working relationships.
  • Treats others with courtesy and respect.
  • Takes time to understand others’ points of view.
  • Connects with others and demonstrates empathy.
  • Listens to others and builds on their points.
  • Challenges with respect and dignity.
  • Able to connect effectively with an audience.

Written Work (40 minutes)

Candidates will be presented with the details of a fictional case or legal problem and asked to give a written response to a specific question or questions. Candidates are not expected to have prior legal knowledge to conduct this exercise and all relevant material will be provided. Candidates will have 40 minutes to read the case/problem and write their work. This will take place in a quiet environment suitable for study.

The criteria used to assess written work are the skills shown by the applicant in:

Analysis
The ability to absorb, process and apply a large amount of complex and detailed information both quickly and accurately.

  • Effectively assimilates written or spoken information.
  • Quickly distinguishes between relevant facts and irrelevant information.
  • Applies facts to key aspects of the law (in piece of Written work and in Advocacy Exercise).
  • Provides justification for views or arguments advanced.
  • Is able to unpick complex arguments.
  • Does not make unwarranted assumptions.

Effective Communication
Communicates readily and clearly verbally or in writing with confidence and impact.

  • Uses appropriate spelling, grammar and punctuation (Written piece of work).
  • Is clear and understandable in their communication.
  • Structures communication to aid understanding.
  • Adapts style and language to the needs of the audience.
  • Presents complex points simply and accurately.
  • Builds strong, logical arguments
  • Delivers arguments or views with confidence and impact.

Advocacy Exercise (preparation 40 minutes; advocacy 10 minutes)

Candidates will be presented with a set of facts in a fictional criminal case and asked to prepare to mitigate on behalf of the defendant. This means that they will give an account of the offence and the defendant such as to persuade the judge to pass as lenient a sentence as possible in all the circumstances, taking account of the relevant sentencing guidelines. They will be provided with everything they need (including the relevant sentencing guidelines) and they will not be required to prepare in advance or have any prior knowledge of criminal law. Candidates will be given 40 minutes to prepare for the advocacy exercise.  After the time allocated to prepare, they will be given a maximum of 10 minutes to deliver their oral submissions to the assessor who will also act as the judge.

The criteria used to assess the advocacy exercise are the skills shown by the applicant in:

Analysis
The ability to absorb, process and apply a large amount of complex and detailed information both quickly and accurately.

  • Effectively assimilates written or spoken information.
  • Quickly distinguishes between relevant facts and irrelevant information.
  • Applies facts to key aspects of the law (in piece of Written work and in Advocacy Exercise).
  • Provides justification for views or arguments advanced.
  • Is able to unpick complex arguments.
  • Does not make unwarranted assumptions.

Effective Communication
Communicates readily and clearly verbally or in writing with confidence and impact.

  • Uses appropriate spelling, grammar and punctuation (Written piece of work).
  • Is clear and understandable in their communication.
  • Structures communication to aid understanding.
  • Adapts style and language to the needs of the audience.
  • Presents complex points simply and accurately.
  • Builds strong, logical arguments
  • Delivers arguments or views with confidence and impact.

Interpersonal Skills
Is skilful in building productive working relationships with others. Treats people with courtesy and respect regardless of who they are.

  • Builds effective working relationships.
  • Treats others with courtesy and respect.
  • Takes time to understand others’ points of view.
  • Connects with others and demonstrates empathy.
  • Listens to others and builds on their points.
  • Challenges with respect and dignity.
  • Able to connect effectively with an audience.

Stage 4: Offers (2 March 2020)

Following the completion of all selection events the admissions team will collate the marks of individual candidates as scored against the published selection criteria. From this information the best performing candidates will receive offers to attend the ICCA Bar Course. The ICCA has limited places available on its Bar Course (although these numbers will increase over time) and, as such, we are unable to guarantee places to all candidates who have attended a selection event, even if they may have performed to a high standard.

Offers will be sent by email on 2 March 2020 to your registered email address (entered on the Applications Portal when you submitted your application). You will have until 3 April 2020 at 12pm to accept your offer. Where an offer is conditional (for example on achieving a 2:1 degree award or minimum GDL Commendation classification), the conditions will be clearly stated in your offer email.

Candidates who have not responded to an offer by the published deadline shall be conclusively presumed to have rejected the offer. Please note that while candidates may apply to (and potentially receive offers from) more than one AETO, candidates are not entitled to accept offers for vocational bar training from more than one AETO.

Applicants who are not offered a place on the ICCA Bar Course will be notified. Unsuccessful applicants will, of course, be able to pursue any applications they have made for vocational Bar Training to other AETOs. Should you wish, we are willing to provide general feedback to unsuccessful applicants following the selection event stage. There is a complaints and appeals process for applicants.