A lawyer, when issued with an initial practising certificate with reader conditions, is termed a 'reader'. The reader embarks on the Reading Program, which has two major elements, the Bar Practice Course & reading with a tutor.
Reading with a tutor
The period of reading starts when the practising certificate with reader conditions is issued, and continues for a minimum of 12 months. Often referred to as the reading year. During that time, the reader remains under the supervision of at least one experienced barrister, who is called a tutor.
Readers requiring assistance with finding a tutor can contact the Professional Development Department, who maintain a list of current tutors who have satisfied the Bar Council’s requirements.
The Reader / Tutor Guidelines are intended to assist tutors and readers to obtain the maximum benefit from the reading period.
Civil and criminal reading
A reader must, in the first six months of practice, satisfactorily complete 10 days of civil and 10 days of criminal reading. At the discretion of the supervising barrister the reader must participate as fully as possible in the case, including reading of the brief, discussion of issues, preparation of submissions, interviews with witnesses and attendance at court attendance.
A supervising barrister is defined as a barrister who is senior counsel or who has more than five years experience as a barrister and holds an unrestricted practising certificate.
For more information, see the Civil and Criminal Reading Guidelines, which include the verification of reading form.
Practising certificate conditions
What a reader can and cannot do is determined by conditions attached to his or her practising certificate.
In order to assist new readers, the Bar Association publishes Readers Rooms, a page with all the relevant information regarding chambers, such as fees, application dates, selection criteria and contact details.
Bar Council's Tutor Policy sets out the requirements for becoming a tutor.