Bar School unveils fees hike

March 17, 1995

The Bar School has announced a 30 per cent increase in fees for its 1995/96 vocational course as it prepares to lose its training monopoly.

The move is likely to plunge the school into further conflicts with students who have been campaigning for wider access to the course, even though it has opened its doors to more would-be barristers.

Fees for the one-year course will rise from Pounds 3,980 to Pounds 5,200 - which could deter many of the 1,200 students who this week received offers of places.

The offers were based on the results of a selection system brought in last year in response to strong criticism of proposals for a critical reasoning test and assessment of A-level scores. The new selection formula is based instead on degree results and applicants' performance in written tests and a videotaped presentation.

The school said it expected to fill about 1,050 places. Last year 828 offers were initially made to fill 660 places, but 1,000 students eventually received offers in response to complaints that the selection system put some groups of students, such as those from ethnic minorities, at a disadvantage.

This year 22 per cent of those receiving offers are from ethnic minorities, while 61 per cent are men and 39 per cent women. Of those who joined the course last year, 13 per cent were from ethnic minorities and 36 per cent were women.

The school has blamed the fee hike on the loss of its Pounds 500,000 subsidy for next year from the Inns of Court, to which bar school students are attached.

David Machin, under-treasurer of Grays Inn, said the subsidy had been withdrawn partly in response to the decision to open the training market to other institutions. "There are concerns about how it would be viewed if just one school was receiving a subsidy from the Inns," he said.

Graham Hamer, the Bar School's registrar, said the fees would have to be reviewed when the market was opened in 1996/97.

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