Becoming a Solicitor or Barrister

Many of our international students join the School of Law with the intention of practising law, normally in their home country.

Our LLB (Hons) Law is recognised by many overseas legal professional bodies, particularly in Commonwealth countries, and we are very proud to be one of a select number of universities that are recognised by the Bar Council of India.

If you have a bachelor’s degree in law or another subject, you will receive a one-year exemption from our LLB, enabling you to complete the course in two years rather than three.

We also offer a law conversion course if you have a bachelor’s degree in law or a subject other than law. The Graduate Diploma in Law (Common Professional Examination) is a one-year, full-time course that is recognised by some overseas legal professional bodies. It is not, however, as widely accepted as the LLB. It is not, for example, recognised by the Bar Council of India.

If you intend to practise in your home country, you should contact your local Law Society or Bar Council to ensure the LLB or GDL is recognised. The majority will require you to undertake additional training after graduation before being authorised to practise law.

Routes to Qualification (England and Wales)

To qualify as either a solicitor or barrister of England and Wales, you must complete either an LLB or Graduate Diploma in Law conversion course from a university in England and Wales.

If you seek to qualify as a solicitor after graduating, you will need to complete the one-year, full-time Legal Practice Course (PgDip Legal Practice). Once you have completed this course, you must fulfil a two-year training contract with a firm of solicitors. As this is an employed position you will require a work permit. You will be qualified as a Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales upon completion of the two-year training contract.

If you wish to qualify as a barrister upon graduation, you must complete the Bar Professional Training Course. This one-year, full-time course is not offered by Birmingham City University, but can be taken at the College of Law (Birmingham) or Nottingham Law School (Nottingham). We have link with Nottingham Law School, and their academics visit our School to provide our students with guidance through the application process.

Increasingly, international students whose first language is not English are required to have an IELTS score of 7.5. For admission in September 2012 you will also have to take an aptitude test (this applies to all students, UK and international.

You are ‘called to the Bar’ once you complete the BPTC and are then entitled, without further training, to use the title Barrister of England and Wales. However, if you wish to practise in England and Wales you must also complete a one-year pupillage with a barristers’ chamber.

Qualification as an overseas lawyer

Some overseas Law Societies and Bar Councils will offer exemptions from all or part of their own training requirements to those who qualify as a solicitor or barrister of England and Wales. For example, the Malaysian Bar recognises both solicitors and barristers of England and Wales – to be authorised as a solicitor and advocate of Malaysia such persons complete a pupillage in Malaysia.

If you intend to practise in your home country, contact your local Law Society or Bar Council to enquire about the recognition of qualifications and subsequent training requirements.