The Authorisation Framework

1) To coincide with the introduction of the new Bar Qualification Rules, the BSB published the Authorisation Framework (incorporating the Curriculum and Assessment Strategy).

2) All organisations seeking to offer one or more components of training for the Bar must apply to be authorised under the Authorisation Framework.

3) The purpose of the Authorisation Framework is to explain to training providers what they must do to meet the BSB’s requirements to be authorised to deliver Bar training.

4) The Authorisation Framework sets out the mandatory requirements for a training provider to become an Authorised Education and Training Organisation (AETO), including adherence to the four principles of flexibility, accessibility, affordability and maintaining high standards.

5) The term ‘AETO’ will apply to:

  • Higher education institutions, such as the current Bar Professional Training Course providers.
  • Pupillage training providers, such as current Pupillage Training Organisations (PTOs), eg chambers, BSB entities and other organisations (including solicitors’ firms, commercial organisations, government bodies and not-for-profit organisations).

6) The Bar Qualification Rules permit AETOs to offer training under a limited number of permissible training pathways (see Part 1B (B2) of the Bar Qualification Manual). The choice of training programmes under these pathways will depend on the applications received from prospective AETOs.

 Bar Qualification Rules

BSB Handbook

Rule Q29 Providers of vocational training and pupillage must be authorised by the BSB as an AETO.

Rule Q30 An application to become an AETO must be made in such form and be accompanied by payment of such fee or fees as may be prescribed by the BSB.

Rule Q31 In determining an application from an applicant to become an AETO, the BSB will have regard to the Authorisation Framework and in particular the mandatory criteria. The BSB will not approve an application to become an AETO unless it is satisfied that it is:

.1 able to meet the mandatory criteria set out in the Authorisation Framework relevant to the application; and

.2 a suitable provider for the purposes of the Authorisation Framework.

Rule Q32 The BSB may grant authorisation to an AETO on such terms and conditions as it considers appropriate including the period of authorisation.

Rule Q33 The BSB may vary, amend, suspend or withdraw authorisation of an AETO in the following circumstances:

.1 the AETO has applied for such variation, amendment, suspension or withdrawal;

.2 the AETO ceases to exist, becomes insolvent or merges;

.3 the AETO fails to comply with conditions imposed upon its authorisation;

.4 the BSB is of the view that the AETO has failed or will fail to fulfil the mandatory requirements set out in the Authorisation Framework;

.5 the BSB is of the view that the AETO is not providing the training for which it was authorised to an adequate standard or there has been a material change in the training provided; or

.6 the BSB is of the view that the continued authorisation of the AETO would inhibit the Regulatory Objectives.

Rule Q34 An AETO which is dissatisfied by a decision in relation to Rule Q31 – Q33 above may apply to the BSB for a review.


The authorisation process

7) Prospective AETOs may apply for authorisation from 1 April 2019.

8) To support the Authorisation Framework, the BSB has also published guidance for prospective providers of vocational training.

9) The BSB has also published guidance for prospective providers of the work-based learning (pupillage) component.

10) These separate guidance documents explain the different sets of evidence which the BSB requires from the two types of AETO to reflect the different components of training which they will provide. The evidence sought from a training provider offering vocational training to a large number of students will be of a different scope and nature to that required from a chambers with only one or two pupils, for example. This reflects the BSB's risk-based approach to Bar Training. 

11) For further guidance on the authorisation process for providers of vocational training or work-based learning (including information on fees and charges), please see Part 4B of the Bar Qualification Manual.

12) For further guidance on the review process for current PTOs (including information on fees and charges), please see Part 4C of the Bar Qualification Manual.