The Application Process

Applications open 2 November 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. You will also be able to state which course cycle you would prefer. You can apply via a link on this website which will be available when applications open.

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 to provide you with additional 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 2020.

Application Timeline

Applications for course cycles commencing in September 2020 and January 2021 are now closed.

Application dates for course cycles commencing in September 2021 and January 2022 are set out below. The ICCA is unable to accept applications outside this application window.

 

Application dates

2 November 2020, 12pm: Applications portal opens.
15 January 2021, 12pm: Applications portal closes.
5 February 2021 Shortlisted candidates invited to selection day.
12 February 2021, 12pm: Deadline for accepting invitation to selection day.
4-6 March 2021 Selection days held at Lincoln’s Inn.
19 March 2021 Offers.
2 April 2021 12pm Acceptance deadline.

 

Course cycles

The application dates above are for course cycles as follows:

First Cycle
Part One (online) September 2021 (anticipated completion December 2021); leading to
Part Two (in person) March 2022 (anticipated completion August 2022).

Second Cycle
Part One (online) January 2022 (anticipated completion April 2022); leading to
Part Two (in person) September 2022 (anticipated completion February 2023).

Anticipated completion dates assume passing assessments at the first attempt and following our recommended structured learning pathway for Part One.

You are able to choose which course cycle you wish to attend during the application process. You can read more about this below.

Stage 1: Applications Portal

The first stage of the application process is through our applications portal. Clear instructions are 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.

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”).

You will be able to access the portal through this website from 2 November 2020.

Fair Admissions

The ICCA operates a fair admissions policy. This means that none of our trained admissions assessors will 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 , or for monitoring and contact purposes. This information is removed from your application before it is passed to our assessors and forms no 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.

Academic Entry Requirements

The online portal requires you to enter your academic qualifications from degree level and above, including grades achieved or predicted.

You are not required to upload transcripts during the application process. The qualifications of successful candidates will be checked at enrolment stage.

Online Questionnaire

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 using a maximum of 2400 characters, including spaces. This equates to approximately 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 using a maximum of 1400 characters, including spaces. This equates to approximately 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 using a maximum of 1400 characters, including spaces. This equates to approximately 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 using a maximum of 1400 characters, including spaces. This equates to approximately 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 using a maximum of 1400 characters, including spaces. This equates to approximately 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 using a maximum of 1400 characters, including spaces. This equates to approximately 200 words.

Choosing Course Cycles

Each application made though our online applications portal is for one of the two following course cycles:

First Cycle
Part One (online) September 2021 (anticipated completion December 2021); leading to
Part Two (in person) March 2022 (anticipated completion August 2022).

Second Cycle
Part One (online) January 2022 (anticipated completion April 2022); leading to
Part Two (in person) September 2022 (anticipated completion February 2023).

Anticipated completion dates assume you will follow our recommended structured pathway for Part One and pass assessments at the first attempt.

If you do not follow the recommended structured pathway, do not pass assessments at the first attempt, or for other reasons delay commencement of Part Two, you will commence Part Two within a subsequent cycle which will be arranged with the ICCA after enrolment and registration.

During the online application process, you may choose which course cycle you wish to follow. You may also indicate that you have no preference to which cycle you are allocated. All applicants will be assigned to either the first or second cycle.

It will not be possible at the application stage to choose a Part One from Cycle 1 and a Part Two from Cycle 2. If you who wish to commence Part Two outside your chosen cycle, you may arrange this with the ICCA after you have accepted an offer.

The ICCA will use its best endeavours to offer applicants a place on their chosen cycle, although due to demand 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

After the admissions portal closes, your application will be assessed by our trained team of admissions assessors. Successful applicants will be shortlisted and invited to a selection day (see below).

Selection day invitations will be sent out to your registered email address (entered on the Applications Portal when you submit your application).

Unsuccessful applicants will be notified that their application 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 Days

Invitations

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to a selection day. Invitations will be sent to your registered email address and will contain full details. It is important that you keep us updated with the best contact details you have to make sure our messages reach you.

Selection days are held in London and enable us to meet you, as well giving you a flavour of studying at the ICCA and within the Inns of Court. We do, of course, recognise that some candidates may be unable to attend (for example due to travel or visa issues) in which case we will arrange an alternative via Zoom.

In light of the COVID-19 restrictions, the ICCA will be alert to Government advice and will ensure that appropriate measures are in place to assess students for selection purposes.

 

At your Selection Day

The selection event will consist of:

  • An introduction to the event by the Dean of the ICCA
  • An advocacy exercise (10 minutes)
  • An interview (15 minutes)

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, none of our trained assessors will be provided with information about individual applicants prior to the process commencing, other than their name and any information which is required to assist with reasonable adjustments and/or specific learning difficulties.

Should candidates wish to request a reasonable adjustment or other arrangement for a specific learning difficulty, instructions on how to do so will be provided within the invitation email.

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

 

Advocacy Exercise (10 minutes)

Your advocacy exercise consists or presenting an oral argument to a judge from a given set of facts. You will have a maximum of 10 minutes available. The judge will be an assessor from the ICCA and the facts will be a fictional case within a civil or criminal legal context.

You will receive your ‘brief’ the day before the selection day you are due to attend. Although you will receive the brief at least 24 hours before your advocacy exercise, the brief is not an extensive document and the suggested preparation time is 40 minutes. You are expected to prepare before attending the selection day. The brief contains all the material you will need and no additional research is required or expected. You will not be required to have any particular or specialist legal knowledge to conduct this exercise. No additional material will be provided on the selection day.

The qualities assessed during the advocacy exercise are Analysis, Effective Communication and Interpersonal Skills. The criteria we apply to each of these qualities is set out below.

 

Interview (15 minutes)

Your interview will last for no longer than 15 minutes. The interviewer will not have seen your application and will know nothing about you in advance.

You will not be expected to carry out any preparation in advance for your interview.

The qualities assessed at interview are Motivation, Analysis, Effective Communication and Interpersonal Skills. The criteria we apply to each of these qualities is set out below.

Criteria

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 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.

  • Is clear and understandable.
  • 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

Following the completion of all selection days 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 day, even if they may have performed to a high standard.

Due to a high demand for places, the ICCA may notify candidates that they have been placed on a reserve list, in which case they will receive an offer if a place becomes available.

Offers will be sent to your registered email address following your selection day. Offers must be accepted by the specified deadline, failing which the offer will be deemed to have been withdrawn.

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 also a complaints and appeals procedure available for applicants.