The Legal Services Consumer Panel has warned the Bar’s regulator against increasing the qualification threshold to come to the Bar.

The panel said that increasing the current requirement that students have attained a 2:2 to a 2:1 would ‘unduly restrict access to the profession’.

Responding to the Bar Standards Board’s consultation on Future Bar Training, the panel said the change was ‘disproportionate’ and could prevent ‘meritorious’ students from joining the profession at a time when the Bar is seeking to improve access to the profession.

It said there is ‘little or no evidence’ that those who achieve a 2:2 ‘would deliver poor outcome for consumers’ or ‘offer inferior services’.

While the universities classification process might have ‘passed its sell by date’, said the panel, the ‘flaws in the system cannot be used to justify a blanket ban’.

In its response, the Bar Council said that a lower second class degree should remain the minimum requirement.

Importantly, it suggested the creation of a two part Bar Professional Training Course whereby only those who pass the first part may continue to the second, in order to cut down on the number of students paying huge fees and expenses who have no hope of securing a pupillage.