Bar Practice Course
The Bar Practice Course teaches advanced advocacy and mediation, as well as providing practical insights into life and practice at the New South Wales Bar. Lectures, workshops and mock trials demonstrate the responsibilities of barristers and their vital role in the administration of justice. The contributions of judges, magistrates, senior counsel, experienced barristers and professionals from other disciplines make the course an ideal introduction to practice as a new barrister. For overseas and interstate practitioners, the course is an effective way to familiarise themselves with practise at the New South Wales Bar.
Applicants are advised to read the Bar Practice Course Policy.
The course fee is $4,200.00. The fee is refundable, minus a $250 administration fee if withdrawal from the course is not less than 14 days prior to the course commencement. Applicants providing less than 14 business days notice of withdrawal receive no refund.
BPC fees may be waived or reduced where it is considered that payment could cause financial hardship. An application for a fee reduction or waiver should be addressed to the executive director and should set out the reasons for the application – for example, if you are a holder of a current Commonwealth concession card; or details of your current financial situation. The Association has a discretion to grant (or refuse) all fee waiver / reduction applications.
Registration to the Bar Practice Course is by invitation only. A registration link will be sent to all eligible lawyers once they pass the NSW Bar Examination. While the examinee does not need to be admitted as a lawyer in order to attempt the Bar Examination, the registrant of the Bar Practice Course does need such qualification in order to apply for a practising certificate and commence the Reading Programme.
The Bar Practice Course must be commenced within 15 months of passing the examination. When completing the registration for the Bar Examination, the registrant will be invited to indicate their preference for any of the three Bar Practice Courses immediately following the examinations. While all efforts are made to accommodate each registrant's preference, there is no guarantee that a registrant will be able to enrol in the course of his or her choosing. In order to ensure the efficacy of the course and the ability to obtain the optimal learning outcomes, the number of places in each course is limited. The limits that are applicable and the manner in which the places in the course are allocated are set out in the Bar Practice Course Policy.
In summary, for 2020 there will be a limit of 54 places in each Bar Practice Course. Those places are allocated on the following order of priority:
- Firstly, to applicants who have agreed to defer their application to the next course, or who, having passed their Bar exams, have applied for the previous course and were not accepted;
- Secondly, to Indigenous applicants, and International visitors who have been invited by the Association to participate in that Course; and
- Thirdly, in accordance with the grades awarded in the NSW Bar Examination, beginning with the applicant achieving the highest grade.
In addition, for the May 2020 and September 2020 Bar Practice Courses, additional priority will be given to those applicants who were eligible to enrol in the Bar Practice Course as at October 2019 prior to the implementation of the capacity limits for the course.
Acceptance of a place in the Bar Practice Course is deemed to have been confirmed only upon receipt of the 'Registration to attend the NSW Bar Practice Course' form and fee. To complete the registration application form you will need to have the following information at hand:
- Confirmation / date of admission in an Australian jurisdiction
- Details of arranged tutors, including at least one signed tutor form
- Details of arranged chambers
- A current curriculum vitae
Participants must attend all sessions punctually, and perform satisfactorily in the Bar Practice Course.
The course has a duration of four weeks, including two Saturdays. Attendance at the course is generally required between 8.30am and 6.30pm. Readers can expect to devote a further few hours in the evening in preparation for the following day.
Readers are required to give their complete professional attention to course work. It is a condition of the reader's practising certificate that the reader will not practice during the period of the course. In order to meet the requirement of satisfactory performance in the Bar Practice Course, readers must attend all sessions in the Bar Practice Course unless exempted or excused by prior arrangement and satisfactorily:
- present applications before the court for each of the practical sessions;
- perform an opening address, examination in chief of a witness, and cross-examination of an expert witness in the advocacy sessions;
- conduct a series of discrete mini hearings;
- conduct conferences with witnesses for the purposes of the final trial;
- prepare an advice in a matter set for trial; and
- prepare and present a case for hearing at the final trial.
On registration, a place in the preferred course will be offered and the registrant will be directed to the Bar Practice Course Timetable. A comprehensive reading list will also be included. Additional course material will be distributed during the course and will, in most cases, be made available online. The timetable highlights the material that will be used each day. The relevant papers for the day should be read beforehand. Any lecture notes and other teaching materials received prior to and during the Bar Practice Course cannot be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of the Bar Association. Video recordings of practical performances are reviewed by group leaders. Video recording of practical performances is compulsory.
Readers are progressively assessed throughout the course. Assessments are conducted via a number of written and oral exercises, instructor-completed feedback forms and mock hearings. Failure to attend all sessions punctually & perform satisfactorily constitutes a breach of practising certificate conditions.
|Bar Practice Course 1/20|
|Monday, 27 April 2020, 5.00pm to 7.00pm|
|Course||Monday, 4 May to Saturday, 30 May
(includes Saturday, 23 May and Saturday, 30 May)
|Bar Practice Course 2/20|
|Monday, 24 August 2020, 5.00pm to 7.00pm|
|Course||Monday, 31 August to Saturday, 26 September
(includes Saturday, 19 September and Saturday, 26 September)