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Qualifying Sessions

Student members are required to complete twelve qualifying sessions before they can be called to the Bar. All qualifying sessions must be educational and collegiate, and complement the formal training during the BPTC (Bar Professional Training Course).

Qualifying sessions also offer opportunities to learn more about the profession, meet peers on the BPTC and network with a variety of members of the Inn. Students must take part in all elements to be accredited. Attendance at the Call Day counts as the twelfth qualifying session, should you wish to be called in absence then you will be required to complete all twelve qualifying sessions.

Qualifying sessions complement and build on students’ academic and vocational education and form a bridge to pupillage. Through the provision of both practical and knowledge-based sessions, delivered by members of the profession and experts, the Inns equip students to undertake the next stage of training and to be fit and proper to serve the public as barristers. The links made with the profession through the Inns provide students with a foundation for pupillage but also for a career at the Bar thereafter.

The Inn’s qualifying sessions fall into the one or more of the following categories:

  • Ethics, Standards and Values
  • Advocacy Skills
  • Legal Knowledge, Justice and the Rule of Law
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Preparation for Pupillage, Career Development and Wellbeing

In the future it is likely that there will be a requirement that all students undertake a certain mix of these categories of sessions. At present there is no obligation on students to do so but we would strongly encourage you to attend as many types of sessions as possible, in particular the advocacy and ethics workshops.

Legal Terms

There are four Legal Terms: Michaelmas, Hilary, Easter and Trinity. The Inn holds qualifying sessions during each Legal Term. The number of qualifying sessions in each term varies, with the Easter and Trinity terms having the fewest events. Do plan ahead and think carefully about which qualifying sessions you wish to attend so that you do not need to fit a large number in at the end of the academic year. Please note that it is not possible to obtain all 12 of your qualifying sessions in the Trinity term.

Types of Qualifying Sessions

The Inn offers a variety of qualifying sessions. Please see the rates for the 2019/20 academic year below.


Student Rate

Scholar Rate


Introductory Event (London Students)

Introductory talks for new students.



1 QS

Introductory Weekend (Outside of London Students)

Introductory talks for new students over the course of two days.



3 QS

Residential Weekend

Further information below.



3 QS

Advocacy Workshop

Civil/criminal advocacy group workshop, with materials given in advance.



1 QS

Ethics Workshop

Ethics group workshop with scenarios given out in advance.



1 QS

Legal Research Seminar

Seminar given by the Inn’s librarians on various legal research topics and techniques.



1 QS

Advocacy & Ethics Day

A day long programme of advocacy and ethics sessions.



2 QS

Local Qualifying Sessions (for Outside of London Students)

Organised by the BPTC Student Representatives and the link bencher/barrister. Examples include advocacy workshops, lectures and Q&A panels.



1 QS

Debate Dinner

Dinner with a seating plan, followed by a debate on a legal topic with four student/pupil speakers and floor speeches.



1 QS


Lecture by a single speaker or panel, followed by questions and a reception.



1 QS

Lecture & Domus

Lecture given by a single speaker or panel, followed by questions and Domus dinner (mixed seating plan with members of the Bench and Bar).



1 QS


In order to book for qualifying sessions, please log in to the Online Booking System. If you have not used the system before you will need to register and create a password. It is recommended that you change this to something memorable when you log in for the first time. If you need to reset your passport at any point please use the link on the login page to do so. Payment is taken via Sage Pay, which accepts all major credit and debit cards.

When students book on to an event they should consider it a professional commitment. Students who book on to an event and fail to show up without giving prior notice will need to explain themselves to the Education Department. If necessary, the student will be referred to a bencher of the Inn and it may affect eligibility to be called to the Bar. Do plan and think carefully about which qualifying sessions you wish to attend so that you do not need to fit a large number in at the end of the academic year, particularly if you will be observing a religious festival during the course of the qualifying sessions programme.

Please note that booking for all qualifying sessions will close at least five working days in advance of the event.

Cancellation Policy

If you wish to cancel a booking for a qualifying session, notice must be given to the Education Department. For all qualifying sessions, with the exception of residential weekends, advocacy workshops and ethics workshops, notice must be given five clear working days in advance of the event. For residential weekends, advocacy workshops and ethics workshops, ten clear working days’ notice must be given. Failure to comply with this cancellation policy will mean that no refunds will be given.

If you are unable to attend an event due to illness, a doctor’s certificate must be provided for a refund to be issued.

Cancellations will be accepted by telephone on 020 7405 1393 or email via


Students should arrive promptly. There is more information on timings and lateness in the next section.

Students are required to complete all the registration processes at each event they attend to receive their qualifying sessions. At most sessions students are required to sign a signature sheet at the end of the event to record their attendance. Your name plus your membership number must be given. The process for some qualifying sessions may vary but members of the Inn’s staff or your Student Representatives will be on hand to help.

Failure to complete the relevant registration process will mean that the occasion will not be counted as a qualifying session. It is not permitted to register on behalf of another student. Any disregard for this rule will result in disciplinary action being taken.

During every session, mobile phones must be switched off through the event and students should conduct themselves appropriately.

Timings & Lateness

Latecomers will not be awarded a qualifying session. Students should arrive promptly and allow ample travelling time. For all qualifying sessions there is an arrival time when registration takes place and a start time when the event will commence. If you arrive at or after the start time you will not be credited with the qualifying session. You must also stay until the end of the event including the drinks reception or dinner in order to be credited.

Should you wish to appeal for a waiver for lateness you must email as soon as possible to provide an explanation for your lateness. Reasons will need to be exceptional and evidence must be provided. A decision will be taken as to whether the qualifying session will be awarded but please note that waivers for lateness are only granted in truly exceptional cases.

Usual timings for qualifying sessions are below. Finish times are provided as a guide and may vary.




Finish (approximate)

Lecture Night (single speaker)

5.45 pm

6.00 pm

7.30 pm

Lecture Night (multi speaker)

5.45 pm

6.00 pm

8.00 pm

Lecture & Domus Dinner

5.45 pm

6.00 pm

9.15 pm

Advocacy / Ethics Workshop

5.45 pm

6.00 pm

8.30-9.00 pm

Advocacy & Ethics Day

9.30 am

10.00 am

5.30 pm

Residential Weekend

Before 6.00pm on Friday

6.00 pm on Friday

By 4.00 pm on Sunday

Debate Dinner

6:15 pm

6:30 pm

9:30 – 9:45 pm

Dress Code

Unless otherwise stated in the booking or event information, the dress code for all qualifying sessions is basically what you would be permitted to wear in court. This means a dark suit, with a shirt and a dark tie, blouse or formal top, as appropriate, and dark smart shoes. A dark dress or skirt is acceptable but should be no shorter than knee length and must be worn with a jacket. When gowns are required for a qualifying session, they will be made available in the cloakrooms. They must be returned at the end of the evening. Entry will be refused to any student who is not dressed appropriately.

Dining Customs

Dining has always been a part of the life of the Inn and it remains an important element of the social and collegiate life of the Inn. While dining on its own is no longer part of the formal qualification for Call to the Bar, the Inn still offers a number of opportunities for members to dine in the Hall throughout the year, as well as other social activities. These include Grand Day, Guest Nights, Sunday Luncheon, the Family Day and the Garden Party. Some social events are only open to benchers/barristers but the majority are also open to student members.  Details are advertised on the website and in the members’ newsletter.

In addition, the Inn’s Students’ Association arranges a number of social activities each year specifically for students. There are also a couple of types of qualifying sessions that include a dining element, namely Lecture & Domus Dinners and Debate Dinners.

Before dining please read the document regarding dining customs (downloadable from the right-hand side of this page).

Residential Weekends

The Inn organises three residential weekends per year. Only those currently undertaking the BPTC are eligible and it is recommended that you attend one of these weekends as they are a good opportunity to meet benchers and barristers of the Inn in an informal setting. However, the weekends are heavily oversubscribed so selection is by ballot.

Each weekend includes talks on different areas of law and advocacy, question and answer sessions with practising barristers, judges and pupils and criminal and civil advocacy sessions. These weekends are hard work and you are required to prepare for them and participate fully but they are also very useful and a lot of fun.  Attendance and full participation at a residential weekend will lead to the accreditation of three qualifying sessions.

The residential weekends for 2019/20:



Ballot Opens

Ballot Closes

Cumberland Lodge, Windsor

Friday 25 – Sunday 27 October 2019

The ballot will open in September.

The ballot will close in October.

Highgate House, Northampton

Friday 22 – Sunday 24 November 2019

The ballot will open in October.

The ballot will close in November.

West Dean College, Chichester

Friday 25 – Sunday 26 January 2020

The ballot will open in November.

The ballot will close in December.