The Circuits

1) Practising barristers work from chambers and other organisations in one of the six Circuits (Northern, North Eastern, Wales and Chester, Midlands, South Eastern, Western) into which the administration and organisation of the court system of England and Wales is divided.

2) In some locations, the Circuits share or replace some of the services of the Inns of Court (see Part 3B of the Bar Qualification Manual) including in relation to pupillage training, other educational and social opportunities. 

The Specialist Bar Associations (SBAs)

3) A number of Specialist Bar Associations (“SBAs”) have been formed to provide support, training and representation for their members. Many SBAs provide guidance on training for pupils who are doing their training in specific areas of law.

4) The BSB no longer requires pupils to complete specialist checklists from the SBAs and for this reason they will no longer be specified as part of the Bar Qualification Manual. However, AETOs may find it useful to continue to use the specialist checklists that are available from relevant SBAs, or work with their SBAs to update them. For example, specialist checklists might be used to support pupils to develop competences in the Professional Statement, such as 1.3 – “Have knowledge and understanding of the law and procedure relevant to their area(s) of practice”.