3 Nov 2020

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has today announced that Professor Rebecca Huxley-Binns has been appointed to lead the independent review into the difficulties experienced by students who sought to sit the BSB’s centralised BPTC assessments in Civil and Criminal Litigation and Professional Ethics in August.

Professor Huxley-Binns is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) at the University of Hull having previously held the role of Vice-Provost, Academic Enhancement, at the University of Law.  Dr Sarabajaya Kumar, an expert in diversity and disability issues will work with Professor Huxley-Binns on the review. The review will report to the BSB’s Governance, Risk and Audit Committee, which is composed of independent non-executive directors, and will be undertaken independently of the BSB. The final report will be published by the BSB.

The review will cover all aspects of the delivery of the August 2020 exams including the handling of reasonable adjustments and the governance of the BSB’s decision making. The terms of reference are here. In support of the review, Professor Huxley-Binns will offer an open invitation to make representations. She will also hold a series of meetings to capture views on the exams. Information about the review and how it will be conducted can be found here: https://www.2020bptcexamsreview.co.uk/.

Announcing the appointment, Mark Neale, the Director General of the Bar Standards Board said: “The final figures confirm that a majority of students were able to sit these exams but I can only repeat how sorry we are that so many students were unable to complete them. 

Clearly there are lessons to be learned by the Bar Standards Board and I am delighted that Professor Huxley-Binns will conduct this review for us and that she will have the expert advice of Dr Sarabajaya Kumar.  The review will be independent of the BSB and I would encourage anyone who is interested in this issue and anyone who was affected by the difficulties experienced in August to contribute to the review.” 


Notes to editors

About the reviewers

Professor Rebecca “Becky” Huxley-Binns was appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) at the University of Hull in January 2019, having previously held the role of Vice-Provost, Academic Enhancement, at the University of Law.

Prof Huxley-Binns has held a number of academic posts in legal education including Co-Director of the Nottingham Law School Centre for Legal Education at Nottingham Trent University. She was Law Teacher of the Year in 2010 (nominated by students). She is also a member of the UK Teaching Excellence Awards Advisory Panel, the Global Teaching Excellence Award (GTEA) Strategy Group and was Chair of the UK Quality Assurance Agency Law Subject Benchmark Statement Review Group 2015.

Prof Huxley-Binns has also been a senior examiner for ‘A’ level law, Principal Examiner for Criminal Law for CILEX and an experienced external examiner to University Law Schools.

Dr. Sarabajaya Kumar is an interdisciplinary social science academic, an equalities consultant and a disability activist. She teaches leadership and public policy to international civil servants and civil society leaders at University College London (UCL), and has previously taught at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), the University of Oxford and the Open University.

Her research interests are in: accountability, governance, intersectionality, ethical leadership and disability; and her current projects relate to disability equality and artificial intelligence.

A Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA), she is also an accredited Executive Coach with extensive experience of coaching and mentoring university academics, grant-makers and social entrepreneurs.                                    

About the BPTC exams

The BSB sets and marks the BPTC exams in Civil and Criminal Litigation and Professional Ethics as centralised assessments and the BPTC providers set and mark the other exams. 

Providers released the Civil and Criminal Litigation results of the August 2020 sit on Monday 12 October.  Results for the October 2020 sit will be published on Friday 27 November 2020. The Professional Ethics results of the August 2020 sit will be released on Friday 6 November and of the October 2020 sit in the week commencing 18 January 2021.

The overall pass rates for Civil and Criminal Litigation for first sittings over the last four years have been as follows:

                               2017             2018             2019             2020

                               Spring           Spring           Spring           August


Civil                         60.2%           66.9%           63.2%           64.6%


Criminal                   78.2%           76.9%           61.0%           68.4%

About the Bar Standards Board

Our mission is to regulate barristers and specialised legal services businesses in England and Wales in the public interest. For more information about what we do visit: http://bit.ly/1gwui8t

Contact: For all media enquiries call: 020 7611 4691 or email press@barstandardsboard.org.uk.

More on