When does the readers’ course run?
The readers’ course runs for eight weeks in March and September each year.
How much does the course cost?
The readers’ course is $4300.
When do I have to pay by?
Payment is due one week after you have been offered a place in the course.
What can I expect?
The Victorian Bar has long enjoyed an international reputation for the quality of its readers’ course. In September 2011 the Victorian Bar introduced a redesigned curriculum, utilising some of the best legal educators and experts in the world.
Students can expect intensive training in:
- Oral advocacy, including interactive workshops and mock trials held in real court rooms
- Written advocacy, including drafting exercises for pleadings, affidavits and outlines of submissions
- Effective communication, including workshops from trained actors and sessions with the Bar’s most entertaining and engaging advocates
- Forensic decision making, including lectures and workshops on exercising good judgment, reasoning to avoid bad judgment and a session on detecting deception.
- Ethics and conduct, including sessions from community organisations and senior barristers who approach topical issues such as direct briefs, risk management and dealing with difficult clients
- Practice development, including advice from expert marketers, clerks, and one-on-one sessions with a business coach
- Court and justice facilities, including excursions to correction centres, the Victorian Forensic Science Centre and the courts
Is there assessment I have to pass?
The readers’ course is assessed through several moots which take place at all stages throughout the course. Participation is mandatory. Assessment is on a pass or fail basis.
What if I don’t pass the assessment?
You will not be eligible to sign the Bar Roll. However, the Readers’ Course Committee may consider seeking a personal undertaking from you.
Is there anything I have to do before the readers’ course starts?
If you are currently a practising lawyer you must undertake before the date of commencement of the Readers’ Course to:
- remove your name from the letterhead and business name of your former practice and
- pay all counsels’ fees for which you have become liable while acting as a principal. Alternatively, you must make arrangements, satisfactory to the Applications Review Committee and to each barrister concerned, to transfer liability for the payment of outstanding fees to the applicant’s successor in their former practice.
I have passed the exam and been offered a place in the readers’ course. Can I defer the date I’m due to start the readers’ course?
People who have contractual notice periods in excess of nine weeks (for example partners at law firms and university professors) can defer their offer to the following course. Otherwise may defer if the Readers’ Course Committee considers that the individual’s personal circumstances warrant a deferral.
Candidates can defer no further than to the next readers’ course. If the candidate seeks deferral beyond this date they will need to re-sit the exam.
I am a very experienced solicitor advocate. Is it possible to be exempted from some aspects of the readers’ course?
No. The whole eight weeks is compulsory. Even solicitor advocates face a sharp learning curve over this time.
What if circumstances arise during the readers’ course that prevents me from completing the course?
Seek advice from the Professional Development Coordinator, Wendy Pollock, as soon as you can. The Readers’ Course Committee will need to agree on an outcome related to your personal circumstances.
I have paid for the readers’ course but now I want to withdraw from the course. Can I get a refund?
If you withdraw before the commencement of the course, your fees will be refunded, less a $300 administration fee. You will not get a full refund after the course commences.
Do you allocate spaces to indigenous lawyers?
Yes. Two free spaces will be reserved in the course each year for indigenous candidates.