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How to become a barrister: requirements, education and training

What is a barrister?

A barrister, in England and Wales, is a specialised legal advocate. He will advise on knotty legal or factual questions, and will appear in court.

In many courts, such as the Crown Court or High Court, barristers have exclusive rights of audience (meaning the right to be heard in a case).

A few solicitors now undergo additional training to give them "higher rights", which means they too can appear in the higher courts.

Barristers are the lawyers who appear in dramas and films wearing a wig, collar, and gown.

The top 10% of so of barristers are Queen's Counsel. This does not mean they work for the Queen or government, rather it is an acknowledgment of senior status and ability at the Bar.

All barristers must be Called to the Bar by an Inn of Court. Each barrister belongs to one of the four Inns, Middle Temple, Inner Temple, Gray's Inn, and Lincoln's Inn. In order to be Called, there are academic, vocational, and other requirements.

The Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand

The Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand

Stone Buildings in Lincoln's Inn

Stone Buildings in Lincoln's Inn

What qualities does a successful barrister have?

In order to do well at the Bar, it is necessary for a barrister to have the following abilities and attributes:

  • quick and thorough intellect;
  • self-discipline;
  • concentration;
  • self-reliance;
  • able to make decisions quickly;
  • able to analyse and select relevant facts;
  • good at research;
  • write grammatically and well;
  • good at public speaking.


Temple Church; the 12th century church built by the Knights Templar.

Temple Church; the 12th century church built by the Knights Templar.

The two Inns of Middle and Inner Temple share Temple Church between them.

The two Inns of Middle and Inner Temple share Temple Church between them.

What is a barrister's daily life like?

It depends to a large extent on how many years' call a barrister is (how long he's been doing the job) and what area of law he specialises in.

In criminal law, barristers will for many years spend most working days in court, in the Magistrates' Courts to start with, for less serious offences, and in the Crown Court as time goes on.

At the other extreme, barristers who do tax or chancery work might be in Chambers reading papers and writing advices most of the time, and only go to court rarely.

Other areas, such as personal injury, employment, and immigration, are somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. Barristers will divide their time between court and paperwork.

At the independent bar, barristers are self-employed. All barristers must be in a set of Chambers for a number of years after they qualify, and most barristers stay in Chambers. A set of Chambers shares the rent of the building, pays clerks to book work, get papers in, and chase fees, and barristers within a Chambers may well share marketing, recruit and train pupils, and help each other out with difficult case.

In London, many of the Chambers are in or around the four Inns of Court. Most barristers are based in London.

Gray's Inn, London (c) LondonGirl

Gray's Inn, London (c) LondonGirl

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Gray's Inn, London (c) LondonGirl

Gray's Inn, London (c) LondonGirl

Gray's Inn Gardens, London (c) LondonGirl

Gray's Inn Gardens, London (c) LondonGirl

Gray's Inn Gardens, London (c) LondonGirl

Gray's Inn Gardens, London (c) LondonGirl

Academic qualifications

To have a decent chance at becoming a barrister, you need good A levels. It doesn't matter what subjects you take, except that you would be well advised to avoid less academic subjects. Doing one A level in Art, Music or Drama is fine, but the rest should be solid, academic subjects. Media Studies, English Language, and Business Studies are not ideal. Instead, do English Lit. and Economics.

I did English Lit, History and Geography. My boyfriend did Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Economics.

To meet the academic qualifications, you need either a qualifying Law Degree, or a degree in any subject plus the CPE one-year course. The degree in either case must be a minimum of 2.ii.

A "qualifying law degree" has to include the seven core legal subjects -  Administrative & Public Law, Crime, Tort, Contract, Land Law, European Law, and Trusts. Most universities have other compulsory units in their law degrees, such as the English Legal System, or Jurisprudence.

So in my first year at university (University College, London, in the Faculty of Laws) I did English Legal Systems, Contract & Tort I, Property I, and Public Law. In my second year, Contract & Tort II, Property II, Criminal Law, and European Law.

Equity, trusts and land law are all included in Property I and Property II.

All of those first and second year subjects were set - no choice at all. In my third year, I did Jurisprudence, Law of Evidence, History of English Law, and Media Law. Only the first of those was compulsory.

  • Middle Temple
    Middle Temple is one of the four Inns of Court, situated between the Strand / Fleet Street and the River Thames.
  • The Inner Temple
    Inner Temple shares a site with Middle Temple, and they also share the Temple Church
  • Gray's Inn
    Gray's Inn is the furthest north of the four Inns, situated in Holborn.

Vocational course

After you have the academic qualifications, you need to undertake and pass the one-year Bar Vocational Course. This provides training in civil and criminal  procedure, opinion writing, advocacy, legal research and drafting.

Before you start the BVC, you must join one of the four Inns of Court.


The next stage, and the most difficult, is pupillage. Once a person has passed the BVC, he can become a pupil, the final stage of qualification. Pupillages are provided by sets of Chambers, and some organisations such as the Crown Prosecution Service. They are paid (currently a minimum of £5,000 for the first sixth, and £5,000 guaranteed earnings for the second sixth). The competition is extremely fierce, and it often takes a couple of years to get a place in Chambers.

Pupillage is divided into halves. The first half consists of going to court with the pupil master or pupil mistress,sitting in on his client conferences, and working on his papers.

The second sixth stage is when you start work on your own. "Getting on your feet" as it is known starts with simple hearing such as case management reviews or bail applications. The pupil is still under the direct supervision of a pupil master.

Some pupils do their first and second sixths in the same Chambers, some do them at different Chambers. 

Gray's Inn Gardens (c) LondonGirl

Gray's Inn Gardens (c) LondonGirl

Call to the Bar

Before the start of the second sixth, and preferably before the start of pupillage, a  would-be barrister must be Called to the Bar. Call is done by the person's Inn of Court.

In order to qualify for call, the person must have the law degree (or other degree plus CPE), and have passed the BVC. In addition, he must have eaten his 12 dinners in his Inn of Court.

Call Night is a grand ceremony, held 3-4 times a year in each Inn's Hall.  


Once pupillage is finished, a barrister must try to find a tenancy. This is a permanent place in Chambers.

Most pupils will apply to the Chambers in which they did their pupillages; this is the best bet as a pupil has already spent 6-12 months in the set, getting to know the tenants.

Most sets will, however, have more pupils than tenancies. A lot of pupils have to do a "third sixth", also known as "squatting", and apply to more than one set of Chambers before they get a tenancy.

Legal education doesn't end with tenancy. A new barrister must complete 36 hours of Continuing Professional Development in his first 3 years of practice, including 12 hours of advocacy and 3 hours of ethics.

Thereafter, all barristers still have to rack up CPD yearly, but writing books or articles, or giving lectures, qualifies. 


Muhammad Hasan Akmal Qureshi from Lahore Pakistan on March 02, 2015:

Nice and informative.

aarshi mahelaka on June 08, 2014:

actually i want to read barristery. i read in class 9. and i am extreamly want to know about this topic. i need a guideline from an institution. so that i can know about this topic.

Nicholas Ralph on March 12, 2013:

Please continue to write, this was a pleasure to read which was a fantastic insight to becoming a barrister. I am currently studying at Bournemouth university upon a finance and law degree, with the intention to convert to a full law degree at the end. Once again amazingly inspiring read for a new law student, thank you and kind regards :)

nasrin on December 16, 2012:

I am from Bangladesh and studying in L.L.B(hon's 4 year) &L.L.M from Dhaka.complete intermediate 2006.Now comes the part where I need your kind advice. i want to complete the Bar-At-LAw degree with some scholaeship. but can not understand how can possible? pls help me

LawStudent on November 26, 2012:

I took all three of those 'non ideal' A Levels you stated in your article. So despite getting straight A's in all three of them, and now studying Law at Russell Group university, I guess I should give up my hopes of being a Barrister then..

Sense the tone.

Whilst I understand that this blog/article is your opinion of the requirements to becoming a barrister, I think to say that someone doesn't stand a 'decent chance' of becoming a barrister if they choose less academic A Level is slightly illadvised, and may put off potentially very competent applicants.

To all reading, I would take LondonGirl's comments with a pinch of salt. This is merely her opinion on how to become a barrister. Suggesting that one A Level is better than another is the kind of stuffy, old-fashioned tradition that the bar is trying to shake off.

I'm surprised you didn't delve into which universities are suitable, I'm sure you once again have a very narrow minded view of which ones are the only ones which allow you to succeed.

bilal on April 13, 2012:

hi.I am from Pakistan and studying in intermediate(12).so what subjects I choose in graduation to become a barrister.kindly guide me

winnie on April 06, 2012:

really good to know u are lawyer but will love to ask a short question. am a barrister of the supreme court of Nigeria and will love to practice in london please what are the requirement? will love to practice as a barrister.

Mohammad Rahisul Haque on March 28, 2012:

Can a student be a Barrister in England or other countries after completing two-years LLB (Pass) from Bangladesh?

Shihan on March 25, 2012:

Hi LondonGirl - Shihan here from Bangladesh. I'm only 19, male, live in the capital-Dhaka. I have completed my higher Secondary Certificate from Dhaka College (that is the 12th class in my country but its not internationally granted as A level equivalent degree). After that i gave a break to studies & started Network Marketing business in a local IT service based Network Marketing company. After 2 years of hard work, I was able to change my ideology & self confidence in to a whole new level. 3500 joined my team & made a fair bit of money & huge practical experience. Now as I see that people surrounding me have started to tease me for pausing my studies & getting involved in a business. Let me inform you that my father is a reputed government high official (joint secretary to the government of the people's republic of Bangladesh). He called a family meeting & told me to start studying. As a son of a prestigious family, I have to make my parents proud. Now i have chosen the path of ethics. So planning on becoming a Barrister.

Now comes the part where I need your kind advice. I am an independent ethical boy with music in my blood. So I am always very emotional. I am very poor in English. Got 6 in IELTS exams a year back. I think I am a very simple minded boy with minimum intellectual quality inside. I'm planning on completing LLB under distance programs while staying in Bangladesh. Now my question is, do university rankings or result grades matter while applying for the Bar? Or any grade from any university/college of UK will be enough? Will my grades matter or only pass will do the job? Is it very tough to complete the Bar-At-LAw degree? Or any dedicated student from any country can complete the Bar with concentration. Will it be tough for a guy like me who is always enjoying life without stress? Or shall I change my path? I am confused. It seems to be very tough for me but there are so many Barristers in my country from Lincoln's Inn. So why can't I? Which court is the best for completing the Bar? How many years will it take to complete the Bar after LLB?

I hope to seek great solutions from you dear. Thanks.


Facebook :

Wiram Khan on March 03, 2012:

i must say its nicely explained, earlier i was not conform about Bar requirements.I would just say BRAVO !!!

chicken on February 04, 2012:

hi, i am only in yr 9 but am really intrested in becoming a barrister but struggling on what options to take that would benefit me and increase my chances of becoming a barrister in the long run..... thx

Aadi on November 26, 2011:

Hi ma'am,i just passed higher secondary level. Now want to be a Barrister.So by which way i've to obtain to be A Barrister?

Aadi on November 26, 2011:

Hi ma'am,i just passed higher secondary level. Now want to be a Barrister.So by which way i've to obtain to be A Barrister?

Waqar Ahmad on November 21, 2011:

iam studying law degree which is B.a L.L.B,its my wish to become a barrister,iam lives in pakistam,tell me about the merit for BAR AT LAW in CGPA or percentage?

meme2011 on August 26, 2011:

this is really informative, i am still at secondry school- about to choose GCSE`s and i am hopign to become a barrister. this has informed me that i shouldn't take the fun subject! thanks x

Trisha on June 09, 2011:


I'm currently studying for my law degree in India. Its a B.A.LLB degree. I want to become a barrister eventually. could you tell me how to go about it and what further educational qualifications i may require?

SouthWest Girl on May 24, 2011:

I forgot to say I studied under a Barrister who was not only a fantastic person but also took me under their wing as a junior paralegal.

SouthWest Girl on May 24, 2011:

I've studied both American law and UK law but only going for licence paralegal. Don't care of American Paralegal career since they are predominate paper pushers, I mostly prefer the UK Paralegal because I am more pro active in courts with clients.

turky on May 19, 2011:

I am so keen in becoming a barrister, i am only in year 9. You gave me a really good understanding of what stage i will be going through when i am at that level. But can you please give me more information about the qualification i will need in my GCSE. THANK YOU.......

abdul on April 11, 2011:

Good london girl , it was qute easy to understand . I have done ma BA.BL Integrated law degree from India . Its' basically a 5 yrs course . I have a 6 month of practise experience in india . Currently i'm doing ma LLM in london . Help me how to process further

hijo on February 07, 2011:

I want to join the bar but I dont know if my previous drink drive will deter me. Can someone advise before I waste my money and time applying.

Navidbd1994 on January 30, 2011:

Hey LG! Nice hub! I am currently studying for my IGCSEs and I was wondering if Economics, Accounting and Law in A Levels is good enough? Can you also advice me on which Universities to apply for?

GCSEstudent on January 13, 2011:

hi my name is Shanze and I am 15 and Iam really interested in Law, and have just completed a week in Birmingham Crown Court for week experience. I really aspire to be a barrister and I would really appreciate it , if you could tell me what sort of things I should start doing things that will help me get in to an INN or

Chambers later in life and other things that might help.

Any other advice you can give me will be great and highly admired.


you can email me on shanze_shah@

thank you and by the way love your hub :) on January 04, 2011:

can anyone tell me how can i apply for BVC in Australia...plz mail me on my email add above...

BirminghamBoy on January 02, 2011:

Hey LondonGirl!

Im a student (15 Years Old) at a Secondary school in Birmingham. Drawing into my final few months of Year 11 and having applied for colleges, I thought I'd take a deeper look into my main interest, Law. I've already got into a College with my written subject choices as Law, English Literature & Language, Psychology and Business Studies.

I was wondering, what move do you think I should make after finished college with my A-Levels? Could you please give me some advice?


LondonGirl (author) from London on December 10, 2010:

Yes, it is possible. For EU nationals, there is no problem. For non-EU nationals, they'd need visas.

David on December 04, 2010:

I was wandering if it is possible for non-UK citizens to become a barrister? could you please advice me :))

Becks BM on December 01, 2010:

thanks for this hub, I am in my 1st yr at Bristol UWE studying Sociology & Criminology. I'm writing an essay on courts but feel I need to understand all the roles before I can write the essay, I have done a few court visits and your hub has given me clarity over the roles I witnessed in court.Really interesting and useful,. thank you

Becks BM on December 01, 2010:

thanks for this hub, I am in my 1st yr at Bristol UWE studying Sociology & Criminology. I'm writing an essay on courts but feel I need to understand all the roles before I can write the essay, I have done a few court visits and your hub has given me clarity over the roles I witnessed in court.Really interesting and useful,. thank you

Ali Husnain Syed on November 22, 2010:

Hi, it is useful to some extent, but it does not help to reveal, how a law graduate may become or apply to take course of Barrister and become barrister. it is suggested that step wise information may please be provided for the persons who are already law graduate form uni and want to become barrister. Regards,Ali Husnain

sidonieh on November 10, 2010:

do you know if you need specific GCSE'S or is it just A levels i will need?

kulanthai on November 05, 2010:

well!i have completed my higher secondary this march and im now studying 1st year engineering.i would like to become a doubt is that,is that any basic law degree course is necessary to become a barrister or higher secondary qualification is enough?please reply!

my id is

many thanks in advance

k.tanous on November 03, 2010:

thanks, I use your article in my study on the international human rights law

Pepsi on October 15, 2010:

I'm wondering about retraining as a barrister - I'm just the wrong side of 40 and have got disillusioned with my current role as a scientist.

I currently live in Devon and would not be keen to relocate out of the South West as that would be problematic for my family.

The training seems entirely focussed on London - is it possible to train anywhere else in the UK? And once trained, is it possible to work out of the Devon area, or would that just be impractical?

Muhammad Iqbal Khan on August 31, 2010:

I have did my LL.M after LL.B in first division from Pakistani University and now i want to get admission in BVC in UK what are ther requirements and how it will take long. Can you please tell me?

COOLCOOLSHAN on July 01, 2010:

I like this site very much, Well explained and easy to understand. Being a Barrister is a very interesting career.

Abz on May 12, 2010:


Thank you!

Salik Irfan on April 22, 2010:

Hi, good information. I would like to point out a mistake in the article.

Where you have mentioned the core subjects: A "qualifying law degree" has to include the seven core legal subjects - ... in equity and trusts... you have missed out the word 'equity'. Thanks. on March 05, 2010:

its amazing the red tape associated with the life of a barrister (person) providing a service to another person. the government makes things its business that shouldn't be the the extent that it is. Could it all be about money? revenue? in other countries you go to school, go to practice, then to work or your own business. if a person doesn't like you or your track record, then they fire or wont hire you to represent them. SIMPLE!!!!!!!!! the flippn aussies makeeverything complicated in all areas of work. no wonder there are jobs here. no one can get them....

RubyB726 on February 09, 2010:

Also, this is a superb hub

Alternativley please email me, because i very much doubt id be on here much:

I do hope you reply soon, and again thankyou.

RubyB726 on February 09, 2010:

Im a girl of 13 years and i have great hopes for my future. For years now i have always wished to become a barrister, and now it is staring to hit me how hard it is, but this has still not affected my wishes in becoming one.

I was just wandering what sort of gcse's i would need to help me, and what a levels.

Also i am part of aim higher, a government based service for kids that have the ability to get into university. Today i visited northampton university, and this has helped me even more, and now i defineltly know i want to go.

We were given a few websites to look at and i was just wandering if you could tell me which courses i should take.

So what gcses shall i take, a levels and university course?

Many thanks (:

avishek on February 01, 2010:

i doing my LL.B from question is after complition of my indian law degree how can i proceed?good marks in A LEVEL is compulsory?

apace on January 19, 2010:

Thanks for a great hub LondonGirl. I am a Solicitor in Australia, who did a liberal arts degree, Bachelors degree in Law and a Masters in IP law. I know quite a few Solicitors who have gone to England, spent a few years there, and claim the pay is much better. They return to Australia with money and buy some properties.

There is certainly a lot of tradition, conservatism and ceremony within the legal profession, not to mention convention. However I have seen some significant trends which are shaping and re-defining the way in which legal services are delivered and the dissolving the boundary between Barristers and Solicitors. Of course this will be a gradual phenomenon, but the changes are already occurring and the trend is expected to continue.

As you are aware in Australia, as in England, the Australian legal profession is a ‘split’ profession where a Legal Practitioner is admitted to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor, but usually decides to practice as either a Barrister or Solicitor. Some Solicitors also decide to become Barristers after gaining some experience.

In Victoria, to practice as a Barrister, a Practitioner is required to be admitted and has to read for nine months under a mentor Barrister with at least 10 years of experience, who isn’t either a Senior Counsel or Queens Counsel (‘a silk’). Upon acceptance of their application to become a member of the Bar, a Barrister signs the Bar roll. They are subject to special rules of conduct which aren't exhaustive, as both Solicitors and Barristers are subject not only to Continuing Professional Development Rules, but also similar rules involving professional standards enshrined in state legislation and as part of the inherent jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. The Victorian Bar reserves a certain number of places annually for Barristers to go to the Bar, and a few places for applicants from developing countries in the region around Australia. In Victoria, the Victorian Bar Council owns a company which acts as a Lessee of a number of large chambers, however there now exist a growing number of independently owned chambers.

However the distinction between Barristers and Solicitors in England and Australia is I think, for practical purposes, being steadily eroded and is becoming increasingly symbolic. It is anticipated that the increasing trend towards unification of the profession, commencing in England, will only continue.

As the boundaries become more blurred the profession is moving towards a more truelly fused model. Many Solicitors are now entitled to appear before superior Courts. Whether they choose to do so is often dependent on their preference and whether there is a perceived need for the engagement of Counsel. There are an increasing number of Solicitor-Advocates with varying degrees of limited access to superior Courts who have attained further qualifications entitling them to make such appearances. There are specialist accreditation schemes in place for Solicitors through which Solicitors with recognised expertise in a particular area of law are granted specialist accreditation.

Whilst a Solicitor is able to appear in court as an Advocate, it is still a condition of signing the Bar roll that a Barrister undertake not to practise as a Solicitor. Whilst previously it was necessary for a Barrister to be instructed or briefed only by a Solicitor, there is also now provision for what we call ‘direct access’ briefs. This means there is no requirement for a Solicitor to instruct a Barrister and allows for a client to directly instruct a Barrister.

From what I understood, the impetus for the reform and unification of the profession in England was a report released by the Ministry of Justice in England in 2004 undertaken by Sir David Clemanti. Many of the recommendations arising out of the Report were codified in the Legal Practices Act 2007, which impacted on the delivery of legal services in England and Wales.

The report seemed to acknowledge the emergence of alternate forms of regulatory and disciplinary bodies to accommodate the different blends of legal practices and structures. eg the formation of partnerships between Barristers and both Lawyers and non-Lawyers in addition to the direct employment of Barristers by legal firms. From what I gathered from the Report, Employed Barristers carry out a variety of roles, including rendering both advisory and advocacy services, these services extending to government, private organisations, trade associations and charitable entities. There is a separate Employed Barristers Code to which Barristers must adhere to in addition to their obligations as a Barrister. The report seemed to indicate that there were already a significant number of individuals qualified as Barristers providing both legal and non-legal services outside the traditional chambers environment.

These recent changes were, according to the Report, intended to encourage competition both within and between the two branches of the profession. If I interpreted it correctly, there is no restriction on Solicitors being entitled to appear before a Court, prepare court documents and engage in litigation. The reforms in England also led to the introduction of direct access briefs so that clients can now directly brief Barristers in almost all areas of the law. To conduct ‘public access’ work Barristers must complete a special course. Having accepted instructions from clients they are able to then guide them throughout all aspects of their case including litigation. The Public Access Scheme is another significant development narrowing the dichotomy between Barristers and Solicitors. The distinction only remains intact legally because there are features of a Solicitor’s duties that Barristers aren’t permitted to undertake.

A new national framework for the regulation and reform of the Australian legal profession is presently being conducted to harmonise and streamline the rules applying across borders to Legal Practitioners to ensure a greater degree of national uniformity. There has also been a trend towards de-regulation of the legal profession which jealously patrols it’s borders, and which is no longer self-regulating.

Globally there has been a lot of de-regulation as a result of free trade agreements and there are an increasing number of Australian legal firms offering multi-jurisdictional services across national and state jurisdictions, in addition to international service providers operating within Australia. The objective is to add some clarity as to the various bodies and regulatory bodies they are responsible to.

The first woman Barrister admitted to practise in England was in 1922. I know that in Tasmania the first woman was permitted to practise as a Barrister in 1904, although even today women are underrepresented at the Bar compared to males. I don't know whether it is the same in England, but I would imagine it is similar. There have been attempts to introduce more work/life balance for women in the law with families and in general. I presume there are similar initiatives in England.

@ issues veritas

Re: the immunity conferred in respect of the Hedley Byrne tort of negligent advice has arguably been weakened if not overruled by Saif Ali v Sydney Mitchell 1978 HL and Arthur JS Hall v Simons 2002 except cases such as Moy v Pettmann Smith & Anor 2005 HL shows that a clear set of principles regarding when a Barrister will be held liable is yet to emerge, with the Barrister retaining some scope to exercise their forensic judgement where they believe it is in the interests of their client.

Dao Hoa on October 25, 2009:

It sounds like the same practice for lawyer in the US. I always want to be a lawyer but I am not good in presenting my case in an argument. So I put that dream into a forever wish list.

I like education, especially Special Education. I'll write more about it on my hubs.

Davefromtorquay on September 09, 2009:

Hi London Girl,

Could you give me advice for my daughter who is in 6th form. She is very keen on becoming a barrister and understands it will be challenging to find a pupillage. Can you give me any tips for her in this area? Do you pay to join the Inn? thanks.

Maggie on September 07, 2009:

Hi London girl,

Your hub is very interesting. I am considering doing the CPE course. I have a quantity surveying degree and a masters in project management, but i have always had an interest in law. Recently I have been reading up on becoming a barrister (Bewigged and Bewildered by Adam Kramer) and it seems very interesting and well, challenging. I am Irish but I am considering studying in the UK. There are a variety of universities to choose from and although the CAB issue the applications, the applicant can select 3. Do you know which institions provide the most rounded and detailed course and which are more favoured, if any?

On another note, how long have you been a barrister? What do you enjoy most about it? How do you find juggling parenthood and being a barrister?

Apologies for bombarding you with all the questions :)

LondonGirl (author) from London on September 03, 2009:

Khan - a criminal record of any kind would make it hard to become a barrister. You'd need to check with the Inn you wanted to join on the specifics of the particular crime, though.

li, glad you liked it! I love being a barrister.

Chicka on August 06, 2009:


Thanks for the info you have no idea how much you have helped me. I was thinking about changing my career until i read your hub.well now i am more conferdent about becoming a Barriater and your hub has been the most helpful.

freeannualcreditreport on August 04, 2009:

Great info and very interesting... it is always intriguing to me how different countries do things... I'm from Canada and I love learning about other countries and cultures...

Khan on July 27, 2009:

Can you do the bvc course and become a barrister with a criminal record?

Many Thanks

LondonGirl (author) from London on July 23, 2009:

Do you mean in Bangladesh, or in England? Do you have a law degree?

S I Mazid on July 23, 2009:

I have completed My MBA from a private university from Bangladesh. I am Interested to do Bar at law, if any one plz inform me how can I get That ?

my email :

LondonGirl (author) from London on June 24, 2009:

How come you didn't return? Did you decide it wasn't for you?

We study for 5 years here, as against 7 for you, but all 5 of those years (6 in my case, I did a masters) are usually law study.

Doesn't there tend to be a division in practice? Some lawyers do court work, others don't?

Richard Bivins from Charleston, SC on June 22, 2009:

Very good hub LG. It's interesting to learn about careers in other countries, thank you for sharing.

It sounds like it is much harder to get an advanced legal career there in the UK than it is here in the States. Here you need a 4 year undergraduate degree in any subject, like there it is recommended that it have substance. Mine was a liberal arts degree in History. Next there is 3 years of law school. After that you are ready to take the Bar exam for your state (every state has it's own exam but accredited Law Schools will prepare you for that). After passing the Bar, you can practice law in your state and need special permission to pracice in another state when needed. There is no distinction between lawyers beyond their specialty like your barristors and solicitors. The largest segment of lawyers practice torts, contracts and taxation. I took a break between Undergrad and Law School. It was supposed to be for 1 semester but turned into 14 never went back. Sometimes I wish I had. Thanks again for the hub.

LondonGirl (author) from London on May 30, 2009:

The Bar Course costs, at the moment, as astonishing £10,000 to £11,000. You need to reckon on another £10k living expenses in London as well. With a student visa, you can work up to 20 hours a week, and full-time during holidays, which can help a bit with the costs.

patrickmktg on May 28, 2009:

I agree. Chasing asbestos cases in Colorado is a losing proposition too. Take a look at fro more information.

Basudeb Biswas on April 20, 2009:

Hi LondonGirl,

Thank you for such an enlightening and enriching informational write-up about the Bar. I am a final year B. A., LL. B. student from India. Most of my doubts have been cleared, and questions answered, thanks to your article, except one. I would like to know what are the costs that are incurred for doing the course at the Bar, and what would be the average living costs at London. If you could give me a break-up, then I would really be very thankful to you. Thanks in advance.

Texas Mesothelioma Lawyers on April 11, 2009:

Whatever you do, don't go into this with intent of chasing asbestos cases...the money may be good, but its pretty competetive!

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 18, 2009:

I don't know exactly, but I bet women weren't admitted to the Bar until after the First World War - probably 1920s or 1930s.

Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on March 18, 2009:

LG, how long have women been allowed to practice law in England?  This is relatively new, right?  Meaning within the last hundred years?

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 11, 2009:

hi - glad you enjoyed it! What area of law is your cousin in?

Al Hawkes from Cornwall on March 11, 2009:

Hi London girl, I made it and what information you have included. My cousin is a barrister and I had no idea how he got their, now I do ..thanks a lot ,speak soon

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 03, 2009:

Well, I won today anyway (-:

Nancy's Niche on March 03, 2009:

With a Welsh grandmother and a Scott/English grandfather, I remember hearing this term. Great explanation of title and qualifications... Hope they serve one better than the lawyers we have here in the US of A do…

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 02, 2009:

glad you enjoyed it!

Christine Mulberry on March 02, 2009:

Lack of concentration would definitely take me out of the mix! Interesting hub.

LondonGirl (author) from London on February 26, 2009:

Hope she likes UCL - I'm not going to say a bad word about the place where I got my undergrad and postgrad degrees (-:

She (or you) should send me an email, if she would like to know more about UCL or London or babysitting!

desert blondie from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen on February 26, 2009:

My daughter graduating from college soon and she's quite the London-fan (remember my 3 days in London columns here?), anyway...she's always planned on getting a graduate degree in library/research sciences and now has the bug to get that degree in London! She is graduating with honors from a small university in Boston and wants to try for admittance at UCL ... IF she makes it in ... she'd love to earn a bit of extra money babysitting for your little sweetie! Whatcha think? Here in USA we're always looking for reliable babysitters, how's that problem in UK?

LondonGirl (author) from London on February 26, 2009:

Glad I could help! Any other questions, ask away. I've been really interested in our exchanges.

issues veritas on February 25, 2009:


Thanks so much for the information.

It is very interesting.


LondonGirl (author) from London on February 25, 2009:

Civil cases for damages are divided into three tracks - small claims track, fast track, and multi-track. Roughly speaking, small claims is under £5k, fast track up to £50k, multi-track over that. But if they are below that amount and very complicated, they get bumped up a track.

You can be represented by a lawyer in the small claims track, but the costs are not usually recoverable.

Certain types of action can't be brought in small claims, I think, such as actions against hte police, where there has to be a jury.

issues veritas on February 25, 2009:


It seems to me that the English Legal system at least in the area of legal representation is fairer than those in the US.

BTW, is there an English Court which is similar to our small claims court where just the parties go and no lawyers are allowed?

Civil Court cases are divided into sections, depending on how much they’re worth. If your case is worth:

$5,000 or less (if you are filing as a business), you can file your lawsuit in Small Claims Court. (Small Claims Court section of this website.) $7,500 or less (if you are filing as an individual) you can file your lawsuit in Small Claims Court. (Small Claims Court section of this website.) $25,000 or less, you can file it in a court called a “Limited Jurisdiction Superior Court”.More than $25,000, you can file in a court called an “Unlimited Jurisdiction Superior Court”.

Jurisdiction --A court has to have the legal authority to hear and decide a case. This means that the court has to be authorized to handle the: subject matter (what the case is about), person or place the case is about, and amount of money the case is worth.


As I mentioned in a previous comment, the jurisdiction of the small claims court should be raised to say $20,000. No jury, no lawyers and a swift hearing and it is done. In this court, you have to rely on the experience and wisdom of the judge and not the cleverness of the lawyer or the technicalities of the law. It may not be any better than a formal court but it gives you your day in court.

What do you think about it?

LondonGirl (author) from London on February 25, 2009:

Hi Hibiscus - I'm not that clever, but good at fooling people into thinking I am, which is rather handy (-:

Rochelle - glad you enjoyed it, and here's hoping you never get into the position of needing a lawyer in the UK!

Eye - my coffee making skills should be avoided at all costs....

LondonGirl (author) from London on February 24, 2009:

Hi issues - neither barristers nor solicitors are allowed to take a % of the damages in any cases here.

We do have "conditional fee agreements" in some areas of law. For these, you don't get paid unless you win, but if you do win, you get your normal fee plus an uplift. And this is paid as costs by the other (losing) side.

Kelly W. Patterson from Las Vegas, NV. on February 24, 2009:

Very good read, although I have to admit that, when I clicked on it, I thought it was about the employees at Starbucks.

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on February 23, 2009:

Quite interesting and very different, it seems, than the USA legal system. Yours seems very complex and defined, yet in some ways it might be easier to select a specific type of legal representation.

I'm not, at the moment, seeking a legal expert, but I will keep you in mind if I ever run into trouble in the UK.

LondonGirl (author) from London on February 23, 2009:

Hi Mandy - I'm glad you found it interesting! I've enjoyed reading your hubs a lot.

Ethics is important to me, and almost all barristers, I think (and hope!) WE have a dedicated ethics phone line at the Bar Council, so if in doubt, you can ring and get advice in a difficult situation.

I do absolutely no work with trusts, wills, or property (-:

issues veritas on February 23, 2009:


I guess we invented punitive damages of which the attorney gets as much as his client. OK maybe not 50% put most likely a third. The theory of punitive damages was supposed to prevent the rich and the powerful from repeating these torts.

Contract law is pretty much out of pocket damages but torts are where the real money is awarded.

I think that your system is fairer but I think comparative negligence shares the stupidity in the lawsuit.

Thanks for the intro to English Trial Law.


LondonGirl (author) from London on February 23, 2009:

HI issues - not too long at all, very interesting. I think the "public policy" type restriction on torts comes into play more here than it does in the USA, as does contributory negligence.

One other factor which is relevant is that it's only in very ususual cases that we have extra damages on top of provably loss - little in the way of "and £20 million for the insult".

hibiscus_mel from Marlton, New Jersey on February 23, 2009:

It's great that you are a barrister. Your intellect must be superb. I just wish I could be one.;-) Thanks for sharing this Londongirl.

LondonGirl (author) from London on February 23, 2009:

Not too large at all! I'll reply in more detail this evening.

issues veritas on February 22, 2009:


I think my comment was too large.

Thanks for the interesting case.

issues veritas on February 22, 2009:


I believe that in 1928 there was a landmark negligence case in the US.

Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co., 162 N.E. 99 (N.Y. 1928)

This one dealt with the zone of who a negligent act could reasonably be foreseen.


It seems to me that your "neighborur principle" is similar to the zone (duty). The first two elements to simple negligence was duty and breach. Was there a duty (there was no clear ending point and to win a case it sometimes needed a little expansion to include the defendant)  to the plaintiff and if so was there a breach of that duty. They both appear to be limiting the liability.For example, you have a tire on your car come off and roll down the road. Where and how far it could be expected to do damage to someone is the zone. What is reasonable? That was the reason for that lawsuit.

We then extended the zone to cross jurisdictional boundaries and get to the big bucks. So they eventually came up in the 1970s, with product liability.

Where else but in the US can you put a cup of hot coffee between your legs in your car, then have it spill and burn you. Your cause of action, it was too hot and I am too stupid to know that. Under the old simple negligence, the contributory negligence of that person would have completely barred the negligence award.

Contributory negligence was harsh in that respect, they can came up with comparative negligence, where the contributory negligence was compared against the negligence cause of action and simple math prevailed.

I see from the case that you cited it was a landmark decision because of all the cases that referred to it.

Allowing the potential new shareholders to be included in the duty of care from the auditors was apparently outside the zone. The current shareholders of course were well in the zone. I just skimmed it, but it appeared there was a reversal and the case took about 6 years (1984-1990) to clear. Auditors failed to do what auditors get paid to do. Is it really unreasonable to think that an incomplete audit would affect potential shareholders?

The following caught my eye in the opinion on the case; which seems to make the issue is economic versus personal injury to be covered the same way.

-------------- from the opinion

The question is, I think, one of some importance when one comes to consider the existence of that essential relationship between the appellants and the respondent to which, in any discussion of the ingredients of the tort of negligence, there is accorded the description "proximity," for it is now clear from a series of decisions in this House that, at least so far as concerns the law of the United Kingdom, the duty of care in tort depends not solely upon the existence of the essential ingredient of the foreseeability of damage to the plaintiff but upon its coincidence with a further ingredient to which has been attached the label "proximity" and which was described by Lord Atkin in the course of his speech in Donoghue v. Stevenson [1932] A.C. 562, 581 as:

"such close and direct relations that the act complained of directly affects a person whom the person alleged to be bound to take care would know would be directly affected by his careless act."

It must be remembered, however, that Lord Atkin was using these words in the context of loss caused by physical damage where the existence of the nexus between the careless defendant and the injured plaintiff can rarely give rise to any difficulty. To adopt the words of Bingham L.J. in the instant case [1989] Q.B. 653, 686:

"It is enough that the plaintiff chances to be (out of the whole world) the person with whom the defendant collided or who purchased the offending ginger beer."

The extension of the concept of negligence since the decision of this House in Hedley Byrne & Co. Ltd. v. Heller & Partners Ltd. [1964] A.C. 465 to cover cases of pure economic loss not resulting from physical damage has given rise to a considerable and as yet unsolved difficulty of definition. The opportunities for the infliction of pecuniary loss from the imperfect performance of everyday tasks upon the proper performance of which people rely for regulating their affairs are illimitable and the effects are far reaching. A defective bottle of ginger beer may injure a single consumer but the damage stops there. A single statement may be repeated endlessly with or without the permission of its author and may be relied upon in a different way by many different people. Thus the postulate of a simple duty to avoid any harm that is, with hindsight, reasonably capable of being foreseen becomes untenable without the imposition of some intelligible limits to keep the law of negligence within the bounds of common sense and practicality. Those limits have been found by the requirement of what has been called a "relationship of proximity" between plaintiff and defendant and by the imposition of a further requirement that the attachment of liability for harm which has occurred be "just and reasonable." But although the cases in which the courts have imposed or withheld liability are capable of an approximate categorisation, one looks in vain for some common denominator by which the existence of the essential relationship can be tested. Indeed it is difficult to resist a conclusion that what have been treated as three separate requirements are, at least in most cases, in fact merely facets of the same thing, for in some cases the degree of foreseeability is such that it is from that alone that the requisite proximity can be deduced, whilst in others the absence of that essential relationship can most rationally be attributed simply to the court's view that it would not be fair and reasonable to hold the defendant responsible. "Proximity" is, no doubt, a convenient expression so long as it is realised that it is no more than a label which embraces not a definable concept but merely a description of circumstances from which, pragmatically, the courts conclude that a duty of care exists.

There are, of course, cases where, in any ordinary meaning of the words, a relationship of proximity (in the literal sense of "closeness") exists but where the law, whilst recognising the fact of the relationship, nevertheless denies a remedy to the injured party on the ground of public policy. Rondel v. Worsley [1969] 1 A.C. 191 was such a case, as was Hill v. Chief Constable of West Yorkshire [1989] A.C. 53, so far as concerns the alternative ground of that decision.

But such cases do nothing to assist in the identification of those features from which the law will deduce the essential relationship on which liability depends and, for my part, I think that it has to be recognised that to search for any single formula which will serve as a general test of liability is to pursue a will-o'-the wisp. The fact is that once one discards, as it is now clear that one must, the concept of foreseeability of harm as the single exclusive test - even a prima facie test - of the existence of the duty of care, the attempt to state some general principle which will determine liability in an infinite variety of circumstances serves not to clarify the law but merely to bedevil its development in a way which corresponds with practicality and common sense. In Sutherland Shire Council v. Heyman, 60 A.L.R. 1, 43-44, Brennan J. in the course of a penetrating analysis, observed:

"Of course, if foreseeability of injury to another were the exhaustive criterion of a prima facie duty to act to prevent the occurrence of that injury, it would be essential to introduce some kind of restrictive qualification - perhaps a qualification of the kind stated in the second stage of the general proposition in Anns [1978] A.C. 728. I am unable to accept that approach. It is preferable, in my view, that the law should develop novel categories of negligence incrementally and by analogy with established categories, rather than by a massive extension of a prima facie duty o

LondonGirl (author) from London on February 22, 2009:

Hi issues - glad you found it useful.

There was very little to the tort of negligence until 1932, when the House of Lords decided the every-student-must-know-it case of Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562.

In that case, the Plaintiff drank a bottle of ginger beer, found a decomposed snail at the bottom, and got ill. She sued the manufacturer in negligence, and lost, because a friend had paid for the drink and she was excluded from claiming by privity of contract (the rule that only parties to a contract may sue under it).

Lord Atkin introduced into tort law the "neighbour principle", specifically:

"There must be, and is, some general conception of relations giving rise to a duty of care, of which the particular cases found in the books are but instances. ...The rule that you are to love your neighbour becomes in law you must not injure your neighbour; and the lawyer's question: Who is my neighbour? receives a restricted reply.

You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour. Who, then, in law, is my neighbour? The answer seems to be—persons who are so closely and directly affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation as being so affected when I am directing my mind to the acts or omissions that are called in question."

The current law here is defined in the 1990 case of Caparo Industries Plc. v Dickman [1990] 1 All ER 568.

The tests are - foreseeability of damage; a relationship characterised by the law as one of proximity or neighbourhood; and that in all the circumstances, it is fair, just and reasonable that the law should impose a duty of care.

So we don't go anywhere near as far down the path of hot coffee lawsuits.

mandybeau on February 22, 2009:

Brilliant, your Hubs, are in my opinion some of the best on Hubpages.

In my country almost anyone that wants to, can be admitted to the Bar, as long as they don't have a criminal record. Also academic levels do not matter 7 years after they leave Secondary School, or College they are eligible to go University, consequently many of our solicitors and Barristers, are nothing like the calibre seen overseas. Also they all qualify as Barristers in New Zealand so you have trhe same Study length, but there is a choice of wether to be a lawyer handling cases without going to Court, as in this Country

Court work is done by Barristers only, albeit some lawyers undertake simple Court work. (the reason for this seems to be that, the amount of office work that they do in other areas means that, they are unable to also take High Court actions etc.

Most lawyers in N.Z. are involved in property, will Trusts etc.

Keep writing and I'll keep ready.


mandybeau on February 22, 2009:

Brilliant, your Hubs, are in my opinion some of the best on Hubpages.

In my country almost anyone that wants to be admitted to the Bar can, as long as they don't have a criminal record. Also academic levels do not matter 7 years after they leave Secondary School, or College they can go to University, consequently many of our solicitors and Barristers, are nothing like the calibre seen overseas.

Keep writing and I'll keep reading


issues veritas on February 22, 2009:

Hi LondonGirl,

I could have seen the answers to my questions, just by reading this hub.

The US adopted the English Common Law and codified many of them but in the last century and this one, many of the legal foundations, in my opinion, have been morphed to only slightly resemble the original concept. Has there been major deviations in English Law in the same time period?

For example, tort of negligence, went to comparative negligence and then to product liability. The reason was basically to extend the jurisdiction to get to the deeper pocket. But today, it is out of control causing person stupidity to be protected, such as having to print caution sign on things that people should pretty much already know. And then it also has to be printed in Spanish and even additional languages.

Great hub

LondonGirl (author) from London on February 20, 2009:

3 years at university doing a law degree, 1 year at Bar School, then Bar Finals. After that, a year in pupillage, so 5 year altogether.

Students don't live in the Inns (a few do, on scholarships, but we are talking 20 or so a year).

perrya on February 20, 2009:

Oh, so it is a four year law school, afterwhich, you take the Bar? I presume students can live off campus if they choose.

LondonGirl (author) from London on February 19, 2009:

No, they aren't courts at all. Every barrister must belong to one of the Inns of Court. They control entry into the profession (Call to the Bar), education (delegated to training schools and institutions, such as the Inns of Court School of Law). They have libraries, and churches (Temple Church is shared between Middle and Inner Temple), and halls, where lunch and dinner are served, and other function rooms. They hold debates, moots, and speeches, and own the land they sit on.

A lot of the buildings in each Inn are rented to Chambers, the groups of barristers who club together to share expenses and so forth.

I'm a member of Middle Temple, as if my other half, and my Dad and brother are member of Gray's Inn.

perrya on February 19, 2009:

As an American with his law degree, I found this interesting and almost rather mystic or "Harry Potterish" in language. I found myself trying to compare the American method and UK method of being an attorney, which in the US is way easier, at least I think. The terminology is so specialized that for any one outside of the UK, some translation or comparison is needed. All of the Temples and Inns Courts totally lost me. Are these akin to Superior and Municipal courts?

LondonGirl (author) from London on February 16, 2009:

Sorry, sorry, I know I'm an appalling pedant, very irritating of me.

I live and work near Gray's Inn, it's an area I know well.

My areas of law are immigration and immigration-related crime, not PI, sadly!

Elisabeth Sowerbutts from New Zealand on February 16, 2009:

Ah no wonder you are such a good proof reader! In NZ its the same as Australia you are qualifed as both barrister and solicitor and some people specialize in court work. I worked near Gray's Inn when I worked for Clifford Chance -  I tempted as a legal secretary back in the 1980's - I was a geologist at the time - but I decided on the big OE I wanted to see London not an oil rig in the North Sea. My main claim to fame was an ability to use WordPerfect 4.2 and figure out how to print a document - which (almost) made up for the fact I didn't know how to make the Dictaphone play-back (there's a foot pedal  - do they still do that, its very efficient?). I got yelled at once for spelling Clwyd wrong - (clueid I think I got) but he stopped when he heard my New Zealand accent!

BTW you know that personal injury and some other specialised parts of (US) law have some VERY well paying Adsense ads.

bgpappa from Sacramento, California on February 16, 2009:

Being a barrister in England seems much better than being an attorney in America. I am jeaolous. Great Hub.

SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on February 15, 2009:

The continuing education aspect of the job sounds like a good way to keep everyone on top of current changes.

LondonGirl (author) from London on February 14, 2009:

thanks - glad you find it useful.

Esther Shamsunder from Bangalore,India on February 13, 2009:


Excellent info here and very well presented.

LondonGirl (author) from London on February 13, 2009:

Thanks - I'm glad you enjoyed it!

SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on February 13, 2009:

As an outsider it was fascinating to hear about the UK system for becoming a barrister.

LondonGirl (author) from London on February 12, 2009:

It does take a while to qualify, but in my opinion, it's worth it.

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