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PgDip Bar Practice

Why choose Herts?

  • Professional accreditation: A internationally recognised master’s degree incorporating the vocational requirements for qualification as a Barrister of England and Wales
  • Work-related learning: Real-life scenarios inform your teaching, and you will gain client-facing casework experience working in legal services within our award-winning pro-bono Law Clinic providing community-based legal services such as employment tribunals, FRU and Citizen Advice.
  • Advocacy: 40 hours of face-to-face advocacy training by experts including Judges, Barristers and Solicitors.  You will have the opportunity to work on authentic, real-life scenarios and practice your skills in our full-scale replica Crown Court.

Professional Accreditations

The course has been designed to meet the requirements of Bar Vocational Training as prescribed by the Bar Standards Board as well as provide valuable knowledge and skills applicable to any area of legal or professional practice.

The University is an Authorised Education Training Provider delivering an approved Bar Vocational Training pathway. 

About the course

The Postgraduate Diploma Bar Practice programme covers the vocational elements of training for a Barrister (previously the BPTC).  Its innovative design focuses on developing you to manage both a face to face and digital practice. The course is experiential with a focus on developing excellent personal and legal skills which are relevant for professional practice as a barrister or in any other professional career. As digital practice has become more prevalent across the professions, the programme incorporates this into delivery and provides you with a laptop with access to key resources as part of your tuition fees.

Programme delivery

This one-year full-time course runs over two semesters, on campus over four days of the week.  You will be required to complete guided study on your non-teaching days. You will learn by doing and, in several ways. Significant contact time of 10-16 hours a week, supported by small class sizes means you get to practice your skills weekly.  The programme is delivered via in-person and online workshops which enables you to work in a variety of ways. The programme will prepare you for a digital practice as courts and legal professionals move increasingly online. You will be taught in small class sizes of 1:6 and 1:12, by qualified legal professionals and academics who have experience in teaching and legal practice.

Advocacy is taught in our multi-million-pound replica Crown Courtroom, and conference skills are taught in groups of 6 students. You will follow several case studies which enable you to take your client from instruction through to completion of their case using your knowledge and developing those essential skills. Your practice is recorded and stored in the cloud, giving you the opportunity to watch and reflect on your practice anytime. Your contact time is supported by rich digital resources enabling you to learn, practice and reflect in a variety of ways. Using online practitioner texts gives you maximum flexibility over how you use your resources including annotation, bookmarking and printing.


The programme has a variety of assessments including coursework and examinations. There are 10 assessments in total including the three BSB centralised assessments in criminal and civil litigation.   There are oral assessments in conference and advocacy, written assessments for drafting and legal research and computer-based examinations for professional ethics. You will have weekly practice on the Multiple-Choice Questions and Single Best Answer questions needed for the centralised assessments and there are additional practice assessments in every module.

Programme outcomes

At the end of the programme, you will leave us with a postgraduate diploma in Bar Practice, the knowledge and skills required by the legal profession and other potential employers and, with the opportunity to be called to the Bar of England and Wales (subject to you completing your dining obligations and any additional requirements set by the BSB).

There is also an option to extend your study with the LLM Bar Practice by completion of an additional 60 credits of study including a practice-based module in the law clinic and two electives.

Find out more about our LLM Bar Practice

Why choose this course?

  • Enhancing employability: Throughout the programme, you’ll develop professional connections through our extensive employability programme and participate in a range of co-curricular courses. 
  • Professional accreditation: A internationally recognised master’s degree incorporating the vocational requirements for qualification as a Barrister of England and Wales
  • Work-related learning: Our award-winning Law Clinic covers a number of practice areas and pro bono opportunities which will enable you to put the skills you learn on the programme into practice in the community. The LLM component involves a compulsory Legal Research project based in the Law Clinic which provides you with practical, real-world, client-based experience.
  • Advocacy: 40 hours of face-to-face advocacy training by experts including Judges, Barristers and Solicitors.  You will have the opportunity to work on authentic, real-life scenarios and practice your skills in our full-scale replica Crown Court.
  • CV-enhancing activities: An extensive array of co-curricular activities including trial advocacy led by a former member of the judiciary, client interviewing, conferencing, debating, commercial awareness and mooting.
  • Strong industry links: Hertfordshire Law School has close links with the Law Clinic and Careers Service providing you with the skills and support you need to make the most of your time on the programme and succeed in your chosen career.
  • Fantastic facilities: We are one of the few providers of legal education in the country with a full-scale multi-million-pound replica Crown Courtroom which is fully equipped with the latest technology to enable you to perform your Advocacy skills and prepare you for practice.
  • Teaching excellence: You’ll be taught by experienced practitioners in the legal field including Barristers, Solicitors and former Judges as well as academics, all of whom understand the context of the modules in practice.
  • Exceptional student learning experience: 85% overall satisfaction score in Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey ranking 1st overall.
  • Award-winning: Voted Best Contribution by a Team of Students helping vulnerable people at risk of homelessness in Hertfordshire. (Law Works Student Pro Bono Awards, 2022), and ranked 4th overall for law in the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES, Advance HE, 2023).

What will I study?

Semester one

In the first semester, you will study the knowledge modules of Civil Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution and Criminal Litigation, Evidence and Sentencing alongside Professional Ethics. These modules contextualise and develop your knowledge together with practising core skills, and you can expect to find ethical questions appearing across all modules.  In this semester, you will also formally study you first core skill, conferencing.  MCQ questions and exam technique are integrated throughout your modules so you get plenty of practice before any centralised BSB assessments.

Semester two

In your second semester, with the core knowledge under your belt, you turn your attention to developing your skills with the compulsory modules of Advocacy; Opinion Writing; Legal Research and Drafting. All are taught within the context of real-life briefs.

  • Level 7
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Civil Litigation & Alternative Dispute Resolution 15 Credits Compulsory
    Criminal Litigation, Evidence & Sentencing 15 Credits Compulsory
    Professional Ethics 15 Credits Compulsory
    Conference 15 Credits Compulsory
    Drafting 15 Credits Compulsory
    Opinion Writing 15 Credits Compulsory
    Legal Research 0 Credits Compulsory
    Advocacy 30 Credits Compulsory
  • Further course information

    Course fact sheets
    LLM Bar Practice Download
    Programme specifications
    LLM Bar Practice Download
    Additional information

    Sandwich placement or study abroad year


    Applications open to international and EU students


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