For students starting Bar training courses from September 2020, as part of our reforms to Bar training, the assessment of Professional Ethics is split between the vocational component of training, and the pupillage/work-based learning stage. 

Authorised Education and Training Organisations delivering the vocational component of training, are required to provide tuition in, and assessment of, Professional Ethics to a Foundation level. Students starting a vocational Bar training course from September 2020 will sit this new provider-set assessment as part of their course.

The pupillage stage examination in Professional Ethics will assess specified learning outcomes at the standard expected of barristers on their first day of practice as defined in the Professional Statement. The first such assessment will be sat in January 2022 for those who start their pupillage in 2021.

The assessment of Professional Ethics during pupillage will be an examination that is set and marked centrally by us. It will be an open book examination comprised of six short-answer questions. We will not be prescribing any programme of prior study by way of preparation for the examination but will develop a mock examination that candidates can use for developmental purposes. You can download a syllabus for this assessment from this webpage.


For more information on the new approach to assessing Professional Ethics, please read the paper which we first published in April 2020.

Download the paper