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The role of a barrister

Barristers are lawyers who are qualified to give legal advice and represent clients in court. They are generally hired by solicitors to represent their clients and plead their case in court.

Barristers tend to be self-employed, although they may be employed by government legal services such as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) or the Government Legal Service (GLS).

The route to qualifying as a barrister

There are currently three stages to qualifying as a barrister:

1. You first need to complete a law degree or a graduate diploma in law (GDL) if you are a non-law graduate. While you're a student, you can bolster your work experience by doing at least three mini-pupillages where you shadow a barrister at a chamber and attend court.

2.  After completing your law degree or conversion course, you will need to take the Bar Course Aptitude Test. If you pass this test you can apply for a Bar Professional Training Course. This course takes one year (full time) during which you will also need to complete 12 qualifying sessions with one of the Inns of Court.

3. Following completion of the BPTC, you will need to do two or more pupillages - these are six month placements at a barristers' chambers where you are supervised by a barrister. You will then need to find a tenancy at a chambers where you will work from.

IMPORTANT: The training route for barristers is changing. Students who enroll on the BPTC this year (2019) will be last to do so and there will be transitional arrangements in place until 2021. Graduates who want to become a barrister after 2019 will be able to train and qualify via a range of different pathways. Find out more via the Bar Standards Board website.

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