The Bar Standards Board (BSB) launched its ‘future Bar training’ programme this morning, which includes “considering the future of the Bar Professional Training Course” (BPTC).
Following the example of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the BSB said its rules on education and training should be “less prescriptive” and there should be a more flexible approach to continuing professional development (CPD).
Simon Thornton-Wood, director of education and training at the BSB, said the programme would also be “looking closely” at the current qualifying degree requirements.
He said the programme was “a real opportunity for the Bar, the public, and the regulator to work together to shape a new era of legal education and training” and the BSB was “committed to ensuring the Bar remains in a strong position to deliver to its fullest potential in a constantly evolving legal services landscape”.
Mr Thornton-Wood said that along with “considering the future” of the BPTC, the regulator would be “seeking to improve the experience of pupillage for all involved.”
A BSB spokesman said the reform programme would, over the next three years, “reshape legal education and training for future generations of barristers”.
He said one goal was to ensure that the regulatory structure did not stand in the way of candidates for the Bar from the fullest range of backgrounds, another to maintain standards in a “changing market”.
Just as the SRA is attempting to do with its draft competence statement, the spokesman said the BSB wanted to clearly define “the benchmark that describes the knowledge and skills that all newly-qualified barristers should possess on their first day in practice”.
Among the other aims of the programme are reducing the cost of training, where possible, making the rules covering education and training less prescriptive and “ensuring that they are proportionate, transparent, and address the main risks”.
The spokesman said that over the next three years, the BSB would run workshops and open consultations on different work streams, which would be published on the BSB’s website.
Mr Thornton-Wood added: “We will provide plenty of opportunities for the Bar to contribute to the process, as we try to articulate better the knowledge and skills required of a barrister for the future and redefine our approach to training.”