Call to the Bar
Calls in 2024:
You can apply for March Call 2024 via this form. This form will be open until Friday 15 December 2023.
If you registered your interest for November Call 2023, you do not need to reapply.
Booking links will only be sent to students when we have received a course result from their provider and we have their valid Call declaration. Please note that places for Call are offered on a first come, first served basis. As Call is often oversubscribed, we may not be able to cater for all students on the date they wish to be Called.
Call Declarations remain valid for a period of 12 months from date of signing.
When student members have successfully completed their Bar Course, their required minimum of qualifying sessions, Call declaration and DBS checks, they may be Called to the Bar. The Call Day consists of a formal ceremony followed by a champagne reception.
All international students who require a VISA for their Call to the Bar, must apply as far in advance of their Call date as possible. We will issue supporting letters for those who request via the Registry email. However, it is your responsibility to obtain a VISA ahead of your Call or this could impact your future booking.
Dates of Call / Eligibility deadlines
Please see below the upcoming dates and deadlines for Call.
Applying for Call
Registration now open
Registration will open January 2024
21 & 23 November
25 & 26 March
Friday 3 November
Wednesday 6 March
Call Day Fees
The Call Day fee is £119.
The Call In Absentia fee is £76.
Guest tickets are £36.
Gown Hire is £16.
Please note that these fees are reviewed annually and changes to the fee apply from July Call each year.
Eligibility criteria to be Called
All eligibility criteria must have been met by the below in order to be eligible for each Call by the registered deadline. The criteria are:
- An ink signed Call Declaration to be with the Inn (valid for 12 months from date of signature)
- The Inn to have received your Bar Course / BTT result from your provider
- Your Qualifying Sessions to have been completed
- A UK criminal records check to have been completed
- An international criminal record check to have been completed (where applicable)
Booking links will be issued to students who have a valid course result on record and a valid Call declaration.
It may be necessary for some students to be interviewed by a Bencher of the Inn before they are eligible to be called to the Bar. Students who regularly fail to attend booked qualifying sessions without good cause or behave inappropriately during their time as a student member will need to attend an interview to ensure their suitability to be called as a barrister.
Criminal Records Checks
The Inns have engaged an experienced external company, Due Diligence Checking Ltd (DDC), to administer the process of obtaining the necessary checks. We are confident that this will ensure the process is as straightforward and quick as possible for you.
After each Registration of Interest period has closed, the Inn will pass your details onto DDC Ltd to begin the criminal records check process.
The Inns cannot accept DBS certificates which have been obtained for other purposes. The obtaining of the criminal record checks is part of the process whereby the Inn decides if a person is fit and proper to be Called to the Bar. To enable it to do this conclusively the Inn needs to have taken each individual applicant for Call through the whole process. It is for this reason that the Inn is unable to accept DBS certificates which have been obtained by other organisations and it is in addition unable to use the update service which is provided by the DBS.
For full information, please view the Criminal Records Checks for Call to the Bar document.
Information on costs can also be found here.
DBS checks and Original Documents
With regards to documents, original documents are required in order for DDC to verify your identity. Before the pandemic, the Inns had been planning to pay for DDC staff to attend various locations on set dates so that our Call applicants could bring their documents and have the ID check carried out in person. At the moment that is not possible and so all applicants will have to use the postal option instead (unless you are able to visit the DDC office in Syston, Leicestershire).
DDC will send an envelope with their address on to applicants in UK but they advise this is not prepaid and it is for the applicant themselves to pay for the postage, and when choosing the postage method the applicants should ensure that they are covered for the contents of the envelope. Once DDC receive the documents they will then contact the applicant to arrange a video call to verify the documents and can then return the documents on the same day that they have been verified. They return the documents by Royal Mail Tracked delivery which is usually delivered within 48 hours but this is not guaranteed. It is possible for the applicant to arrange a courier to deliver and return their documents instead of Royal Mail- please liaise with DDC about this. You can email them on [email protected]
Do not send your DBS certificate to the Inn; DDC will let us know when it has been dispatched and we will update your records accordingly.
Criminal Records Checks - Waiver Applications
Some international students, or those currently practising overseas who are looking to transfer to the Bar of England and Wales, may be unable to comply with the identification (ID) requirements necessary for the criminal record checks to be undertaken prior to their Call to the Bar ceremony.
The BSB, therefore, is providing a waiver from the requirement to have criminal record checks undertaken for candidates for Call to the Bar in certain circumstances. This waiver does not remove the requirement for candidates for Call to disclose relevant criminal records found on the Call Declaration.
Who is eligible to receive the waiver?
Inns’ student members, including transferring qualified lawyers who:
- Live in a country where it is unlawful to send original ID documentation; and/or
- Live in a country where sending original ID documents would represent a threat to their personal safety or freedom
To view the waiver information in full and to apply, please complete this form.
PLEASE NOTE: Please submit your application as soon as possible to give us enough to process your request. If you are not granted a waiver, you will not be able to be Called until you complete the criminal record checks.
Call in Absentia
Call in absentia is only granted to international students or to UK students in very exceptional circumstances. To be called in absentia you must have completed your minimum number of qualifying sessions prior to your call. If you are an international student and believe you may need to be called in absence you should ensure you have completed qualifying sessions before you leave the UK at the end of your Bar Course. The fee for Call in absentia is £72. Call in absentia is only granted in exceptional circumstances and must be requested by contacting the Registry team.
It has come to our attention over the last couple of years that non-European Union (EU) students are having greater difficulty in obtaining visas to come over to complete their qualifying sessions and attend their Call Day. We would, therefore, strongly recommend that if you reside outside of the EU and are likely to return home before call that you complete your qualifying sessions before leaving.
There is more than one ceremony held on different dates for most of the Call Days. The Inn will issue booking links for both Call dates and it is then available for you to choose which ceremony you attend; however, if the ceremony is sold out, we cannot allocate additional spaces if you cannot attend the alternate date. Please make sure you and any guests you wish to bring are available for all of the dates specified for the term you choose.
BPTC and Bar Course Results
The Inn will receive your results directly from your Bar Course Provider.
Should a student fail any of their exams after registering for call, their application will be withdrawn. It is the responsibility of the student to inform the Inn if they wish to be entered for a future call.
Call Day Dress Code
Dress for Call to the Bar is strictly formal, i.e. as you would wear in Court.
This means a dark suit and dark smart shoes. Collar and bands with a white shirt or a collarette (with a white top underneath) are generally worn and encouraged but, if you wish, you may wear a white shirt or blouse with a sober tie, blouse or formal top, as appropriate. A dark dress or skirt is acceptable but should be no shorter than knee length and must be worn with a jacket. Your arms must be covered. Hair should be neat and tidy. Long hair must be tied back and off the face and shoulders.
Wigs cannot be worn at the Call Ceremony but can be worn for your professional photographs. The Inn does have a small number of wigs that will be available in the photography studios.
Please note that if you arrive on Call Day in unsuitable attire, you will be asked to change. If you choose not to, it is possible you will not be Called to the Bar.
You are required to wear a gown for Call. You may hire a student gown from the Inn for the day or may wear your own Bar gown.
Supporting Letters for Visas
If you are an international student and due to be Called, you may be asked for a letter to support your VISA application. If this is the case, please email [email protected] to request a letter.
We do not offer separate support letters for guests. These are covered in the student’s letter.
Is my previous Call Declaration still valid?
Declarations are valid for a period of 12 months from the date of signature.
I posted my declaration but I haven’t received confirmation
Please allow us twenty working days after delivery to confirm it has been received.
Are references required?
References are no longer required for Call.
If I am Called in Absence, can I attend another Call Day in the future?
Unfortunately not. We are only able to Call people once.
Can I bring guests to Call Day?
You are guaranteed two guest tickets in the initial booking period. If there is capacity, we will release further tickets, however this is not always possible at larger Call Days. The Inn will be in touch with all Callees should more tickets become available.
Additional people without a ticket can join you for your professional photographs. You should only bring a small number of people though due to limited space.
All guests without tickets must be off site by 17:00.
Can I bring my children to Call Day?
Children are permitted to attend the Call Ceremony and reception. However, please bear in mind that it is a long event, and it may not be suitable for young children.
All children must have their own ticket and be accompanied by an adult guest. The Callee is separated from their guests for the duration of the Ceremony so cannot supervise child guests.
Subject to availability, you may book up to three child tickets. There must be at least one adult guest to every two children. Children under two years are free and for those aged two to seventeen, tickets are £12.