The Bar Transfer Test is the test for lawyers from overseas jurisdictions transferring to the Bar of England and Wales. The purpose of the Bar Transfer Test (BTT) is to enable candidates who are qualified lawyers to have the opportunity to transfer to the Bar of England and Wales, without having to undergo the full course of education and training as required in the Academic Stage (Qualifying Law Degree or conversion course) and the Vocational Stage (Bar Professional Training Course, ‘BPTC’).

The Bar Transfer Test consists of a maximum of 13 separate assessments, the majority of which are time-constrained formal written examinations, the remainder being oral assessments. The examination papers relate to the knowledge of the Foundation subjects as specified by the Joint Statement and covered in the Qualifying Law Degree (QLD) or the Common Professional Examination (CPE) or Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and to the knowledge, skills and competencies that are assessed on the BPTC. Together these form the essential components for Call to the Bar of England and Wales. In some circumstances, it may not be necessary for individual candidates to take all papers and oral assessments but candidates are required to demonstrate their ability in all papers that are required. In addition, those candidates sitting the Advocacy assessment are required to attend a compulsory training course at the Test Provider, before undertaking the assessment. The elements of the BTT framework and requirements are as follows:

Part A (relating to the CPE/GDL)

  • Public Law (Constitutional Law, Administrative Law and Human Rights)
  • Law of the European Union
  • Criminal Law
  • Obligations including Contract, Restitution and Tort
  • Property Law
  • Equity and the Law of Trusts
  • English Legal system

Part B (relating to the BPTC)

  • Advocacy
  • Civil Litigation, Evidence and Remedies
  • Criminal Litigation, Evidence and Sentencing
  • Ethics
  • Opinion Writing
  • Drafting

The Qualifications Committee has the power to exempt qualified lawyers from the Academic, Vocational and/or Professional stages of training for the Bar of England and Wales. Such exemptions may be granted subject to passing certain sections of the Bar Transfer Test (which must be taken at a single sitting). Prospective candidates may not apply directly to undertake the Test, but must first apply to the Qualifications Committee under one of the approved routes of transfer to the Bar. In some circumstances it may be preferable or necessary for a candidate to take the CPE/GDL rather than a large diet of assessments from Part A.