29 May 2016

Academic Stage

The Academic Stage is the first part of training for the Bar and consists of a Qualifying Law Degree or a degree in another subject supplemented by the Common Professional Examination (CPE) or an approved Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) course.

If you have any general queries relating to the Academic Stage, please contact us at academicstage@barstandardsboard.org.uk    


Academic Stage Requirements


The Academic Stage is designed to ensure that the student has a basic body of legal knowledge, which may be assumed and built upon at the Vocational Stage (BPTC). Students should note however that neither entry to a law degree or the CPE/GDL, nor successful completion thereof, is a guarantee of progress onto the Bar Professional Training Course for intending barristers.

The standard requirement for completion of the Academic Stage is a 2:2 UK Honours degree or its equivalent; this applies to law and non-law degrees alike. Under the Bar Training Regulations, professional qualifications may not be accepted in lieu of this requirement.

In addition to the 2:2 minimum requirement, students must study the foundations of legal knowledge, which now form the Academic Stage of legal education and which are compulsory for professional exemption purposes where students are seeking to enter the Vocational Stage of legal education and training.

The foundation subjects are:

i) Public Law (including Constitutional Law, Administrative Law and Human Rights)

ii) Law of the European Union

iii) Criminal Law

iv) Obligations (including Contract, Restitution and Tort)

v) Property Law

vi) Equity and the Law of Trusts

In addition, students will also be expected to have appropriate expertise in Legal Research Skills, the English Legal System and Another Area of Legal Study.

If you would like a copy of the CPE/GDL Handbook, or a list of CPE/GDL courses, please visit The Central Applications Board website