BSB allows university to restart Bar training course

Hertfordshire University: Efforts have paid off

Hertfordshire University can start taking Bar training course students from September again, after the Bar Standards Board reinstated its authorisation.

The regulator stopped it enrolling students last August amid concerns about weaknesses in its course delivery and initially said that it would have to defer its next intake to January 2024.

A BSB report in March 2023 on the Central Examination Board exams in civil and criminal litigation said Hertfordshire’s students had a pass rate of 23% in the former and 20% in the latter; the figures for all students in England and Wales were 56% and 50% respectively.

December 2022 was the first time Hertfordshire had entered candidates on the course – 13 took the civil exam and 15 the criminal. It had been the first university to be approved to offer the Bar course since 1997.

The BSB announced last week that it has now decided to allow the university to recommence course delivery from September 2024.

In a statement, it said: “The BSB has worked with the university over the last year to ensure the necessary improvements are being implemented and we recognise the considerable work put in by the University to ensure that appropriate standards are met.

“We will continue to closely monitor course delivery to ensure that the University is complying with the mandatory requirements in the authorisation framework and that students are properly supported.”

Professor Penny Carey, the law school’s dean, said: “We have been working extremely hard and very closely with the BSB to respond to their recommendations and ensure all necessary requirements are met.

“We are delighted these efforts have paid off, and look forward to reintroducing BSB-accredited, vocational Bar training for our students from this September.

“Our focus firmly remains on increasing much-needed accessibility and diversity within the legal profession, and we look forward to continuing to work with BSB to ensure the long-term, successful delivery of this objective.”

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