Want to find out how to become a Barrister? Read about the steps involved, the answers to questions such as what kinds of Barrister training you will need to undertake in order to succeed.

How to Become a Barrister: Qualifications

To become a barrister, you have to complete either a:

How to Become a Barrister: Training

Below are the steps to take after completing your law degree or conversion course.

  1. Apply for and complete mini pupillages 
  2. Apply for the vocational component of barrister training
  3. Join one of the Inns of Court (which must be done before commencing the vocational component of training)
  4. Sit the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) during the summer preceding commencement of your vocational training
  5. Complete the vocational training (click here to see institutions offering this option)
  6. Apply for pupillages in chambers or in house
  7. Complete your pupillage
  8. Qualify as a barrister and apply for tenancy in chambers
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Get Ahead with Barrister Work Experience

Start with a Mini-Pupillage

Mini-Pupillage Opportunities

How to Become a Barrister: Work Experience

If you want to become a barrister, it’s vital to undertake relevant law work experience. You can gain this through the following:

1. Mini-Pupillage
Work experience in a chambers in the form of mini pupillage is an excellent way to experience what life at the bar will entail.

2. Court Visits
Court visits allow aspiring barristers to experience first-hand what a barrister does and how they represent their clients in court. Observing hearings in courts of different levels will provide a range of experience. Magistrates Courts and Crown Courts are great places to start.

Contact your local courts to find out what opportunities are available. Many hearings are public proceedings, so it will be free for you to sit in the public gallery and watch. This will give you the chance to see how a barrister addresses legal facts in issue, and how they present their arguments in court.

3. Judge Marshalling
Judge marshalling allows you to shadow a judge in their daily practices. It offers a great opportunity to see how the English Legal System operates on a day-to-day basis.

Sitting on the panel with the judge in court will give you first-hand opportunity to hear exactly how a barrister presents their case, argument or application to a judge. For example, you may be able to hear bail applications and opening or closing statements for a criminal case.

In order to secure a judge marshalling placement, you can apply directly to the Inns of Courts, which often offer formal marshalling schemes. Alternatively, you could try contacting the court manager or listing officer at your local Crown Court or County Court to find out about judge marshalling opportunities.

4. Mooting
Mooting involves participating in a mock appeal trial. It provides the opportunity to practice what you will inevitably have to do should you choose to be a barrister.

Experience in mooting will also help you to get to grips with how to research, identify and address legal issues, and how to form and structure a legal argument. You will become more familiar with how barristers are expected to address people in court, whether it be the judge, the jury or opposing counsel.

Most universities have their own mooting societies, allowing you to get involved with practice hearings and debates with your peers. You can apply to be a part of the university mooting team. This is a great way to show future employers that you are committed to law and enthusiastic about being an advocate.

Who Regulates the Profession?

Bar Council

The profession of barristers, more commonly referred to as the Bar, is overseen by the Bar Council. The Bar Council is responsible for representing, supporting, advising and offering a variety of services to barristers in England and Wales. To find out more about the work of the Bar Council, why not take a look at our About the Bar Council page.

Bar Standards Board

The Bar Standards Board is responsible for monitoring and regulating both the training and conduct of barristers as well as dealing with conduct-related complaints.

Watch this video from the Bar Council about how to become a barrister:

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