30 Jun, 2011


A newly formed team of legal practitioners and academics has been appointed by the Bar Standards Board (BSB), as examiners for the new centralised examinations initiative. The new centralised exams will form part of the assessment of students undertaking the vocational stage of barristers’ training, known as the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).

The initiative stems from a recommendation arising from the 2008 Wood Review of the bar course (now the BPTC), which stated that the BSB should work towards introducing centralised examinations, in core subjects in order to ensure consistency across course providers and closer regulatory oversight of standards.

From April 2012 three core subjects on the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) will be examined by papers set by the Central Examinations Board. These will be:

  • Civil Litigation, Evidence and Remedies
  • Criminal Litigation, Evidence and Sentencing
  • Professional Ethics


Students at all BPTC providers will simultaneously take the papers for each of these subjects. Answers to short exam questions will be marked locally by providers and multiple choice questions will be marked electronically at the BSB. The Central Examinations Board will then sample and take an overview of marks across all providers, making any adjustments that are deemed necessary for consistency. Confirmed marks for the centralised subjects will then be returned to providers and combined with marks for other parts of the course to give an overall BPTC score.


The team of examiners will be led by Professor Mike Molan, Executive Dean at London South Bank University who will Chair the newly formed Board.


Prof. Molan said: “A lot of thought and planning has been put into this project by BSB colleagues and I think we are fortunate to have been able to put together such an able and impressive team of examiners. I’m very much looking forward to working with them and the providers to ensure a successful transition to centralised assessments.”


Mr Nigel Cooper QC (Chair of the BPTC Sub-Committee) said: “The BSB is continually working to ensure that the Bar Professional Training Course delivers a high calibre education to all students training for the Bar. Centralised examination is an important initiative in ensuring consistent delivery of the course across all the providers and the BSB is pleased both to be working in close cooperation with the providers to introduce centralised assessment and also that it now has in place a high calibre examinations team ably led by Professor Mike Molan to oversee the centralised examinations.”


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