Bar Practice Course

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Course Policy

Goals

  • Teach advanced advocacy, mediation, and other barrister skills, and an awareness of special considerations and requirements of different jurisdictions;
  • Provide practical insights into life and practice at the New South Wales Bar
  • Promote a strong spirit of professional support among new members

Lectures, workshops, court practice sessions and informal discussions address these aims. All methods strive to illuminate the role and responsibilities of barristers, and their place in the community, and in the administration of justice and the maintenance of the rule of law. The contributions of judges, magistrates, senior counsel, experienced barristers and some professionals from disciplines other than the law make the course an ideal introduction to practice as a new barrister and, for overseas and interstate practitioners starting practice in New South Wales, an effective means of becoming familiar with practice at the New South Wales Bar.

Some of the advocacy exercises performed by readers during the course are presided over by judicial officers and involve witnesses drawn from relevant professional fields.

Course dates for 2017

  • Monday 1 May - Saturday 27 May 2017 (includes Saturday 20 and 27 May)
  • Monday 28 August - Saturday 23 September 2017 (includes Saturday 16 and 23 September)

Cost

The course fee is $3,800.00. The fee is refundable with a $100 administration fee being charged if withdrawal from the course is not less than 30 days prior to the course commencement. Applicants providing less than 30 days notice of withdrawal will be charged a $500.00 administration fee. Less than 10 working days notice of withdrawal receives no refund.

BPC fees may be waived or reduced where it is considered that payment could cause financial hardship. Applications should be addressed to the Executive Director and should set out the reasons for the application – for example if you are a holder of a current Commonwealth concession card; or details of your current financial situation. The Association has a discretion to grant (or refuse) all fee waiver / reduction applications.

Registration

Registration forms for the Bar Practice Course will be sent to all eligible lawyers once they pass the NSW Bar Examination. While the examinee does not need to be admitted as a lawyer in order to attempt the Bar Examination, the registrant of the Bar Practice Course does need such qualification in order to apply for a practising certificate and commence the Reading Programme.

The Bar Practice Course must be commenced within 15 months of passing the examination.

When completing the registration for the Bar Examination, the registrant will be invited to indicate their preference for either of the thee Bar Practice Courses immediately following the examinations.

Acceptance of a place in the Bar Practice Course is deemed to have been confirmed only upon receipt of the 'Registration to attend the NSW Bar Practice Course' form and fee. Registration will require confirmation of admission, details of arranged tutors and chambers, a response to an advocacy experience questionnaire, and a current curriculum vitae.

Registrations are now open for the 1/17 Bar Practice Course commencing Monday 1 May 2017 - Register Now

Attendance

The first of the requirements for readers is that they attend all sessions punctually, and perform satisfactorily in the Bar Practice Course.

The course has a duration of one month. Attendance at the course is generally required between 8.30am and 6.30pm. Readers can expect to devote a further few hours in the evening in preparation for the following day. Readers are required to give their complete professional attention to course work.

It is a condition of the reader's practising certificate that the reader will not practice during the period of the course. In order to meet the requirement of satisfactory performance in the Bar Practice Course, readers must attend all sessions in the Bar Practice Course unless exempted or excused by prior arrangement and satisfactorily:

  • present applications before the court for each of the practical sessions;
  • perform an opening address, examination in chief of a witness, and cross examination of an expert witness in the advocacy sessions;
  • conduct a series of discrete mini hearings;
  • conduct conferences with witnesses for the purposes of the final trial;
  • prepare an advice in a matter set for trial; and
  • prepare and present a case for hearing at the final trial.

Course materials

On registration, a place in the preferred course will be offered and the registrant will be directed to the  Bar Practice Course Timetable on the Bar Association website. A comprehensive reading list will also be included. Additional course material will be distributed during the course and will, in most cases, be made available online.

The timetable highlights the material that will be used each day. The relevant papers for the day should be read beforehand. Any lecture notes and other teaching materials received prior to and during the Bar Practice Course cannot be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of the Bar Association. Video recordings of practical performances are reviewed by group leaders. Video recording of practical performances is compulsory.

Assessment

Readers are progressively assessed through instructors' completion of assessment sheets. Failure to attend all sessions punctually & perform satisfactorily constitutes a breach of practising certificate conditions.