Aspiring barristers may spend up to £127,000 to qualify, Bar Council warns

Students starting university may have to spend up to £127,000 to qualify as a barrister, the new chair of the Bar Council has warned.

Middle Templar Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC has highlighted concerns that the cost of training in the profession may affect progress on diversity and social mobility.

Ms Doerries told the Guardian. “I hear from the junior bar that practising barristers paying off debts of between £40,000 to £60,000 is by no means uncommon [but] those figures are for individuals who completed their undergraduate degrees before higher tuition fees were introduced.”

This estimated spend is based on a student who takes on a non-law degree from a London university and then goes on to study the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). This is followed by a bar professional training course (BPTC) qualification. 

The Bar Council estimates the equivalent for those studying outside London is likely to be lower, at about £111,000.

Ms Doerries also noted that “Bursaries and scholarships are available, and some may have savings or come from a wealthy background, but for most people, funding for their qualification will come from juggling study and part-time work, student and commercial loans, and family contributions.”

One of the core purposes of the Inn is the education and training of students and barristers. Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC benefited from two Middle Temple scholarships:  Major Harmsworth Entrance Exhibition and the Diplock Scholarship.

The Middle Temple offers a range of scholarships to assist students with the cost of qualifying as a barrister. 

In 2012, the Inn awarded a total of more than £1 million in scholarships. The majority of this funding (£900,000) is granted on merit and need to students undertaking the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC). The remainder is earmarked for scholarships for the law conversion course and other smaller awards for post-BPTC activities.