Applicants to become members of the Victorian Bar must first complete a readers' course and a period of readership under a mentor. Candidates for the readers' course must first pass an entrance examination before being offered a place.
In order to gain admission to the Victorian Bar readers' course applicants must first sit and pass an exam. The minimum pass mark is 75%. The top 40 candidates are offered a place.
Twice a year the Bar conducts a general information session about the exam. At this session the chief examiner gives an overview of the structure of the next exam including making available the updated reading guide.
Exam information sessions are scheduled for Tuesday 20 February 2018 and Tuesday 21 August 2018. These sessions are held at 5.30pm in the Neil McPhee Room, level 1 Owen Dixon Chambers East, 205 William Street, Melbourne. Registration is not required. The session will be recorded and a podcast made available on the website afterwards.
A video recording of the most recent exam information session is available below.
Note - under ‘selected case law’ for Civil Procedure, Nicholson Street Pty Ltd v Lettern (No 4) is listed - this case will not be examined.
The exam preparation seminar is conducted twice a year and conducted by the chief examiner. The aim of this seminar is to assist candidates with their preparation for the exam.
Exam preparation seminar are scheduled for Tuesday 10 April 2018 and Tuesday 2 October 2018. These sessions are held at 5.30pm in the McPhee room, level 1 Owen Dixon Chambers East, 205 William Street, Melbourne. Registration is not required. The seminar will be recorded and a podcast made available on the website afterwards.
The most recent exam preparation seminar was held on Tuesday 3 October 2017. A video recording of the exam preparation seminar is available below.
Additional materials including past exam papers and sample answers can be downloaded via the links below.
The duration of the exam is three hours and is in partial open-book format. Candidates will be supplied with relevant statutes, or sufficient extracts of statutes relevant to the subject matter of the questions.
The Bar Entrance Exam will be held in May (for the September readers' course) and November (for the March readers' course) each year.
Bar Entrance Exams are scheduled for Tuesday 15 May 2018 and Thursday 1 November 2018. Exams are usually held from 9am - 12.30pm at Karstens, Ground Floor, 123 Queen Street, Melbourne.
Applications for the May 2018 exam are now open. Applications close at 5.00pm on Tuesday 10 April 2018. Late applications will not be accepted. Applications for the November 2018 exam are currently closed.
Candidates must pay a non-refundable application fee of $515 prior to sitting the exam.
Approximately 6 weeks after the exam, you will be notified of your result and may receive an offer to commence the readers' course.
Places in each readers’ course are limited to 40 readers. Please refer to s.6(7) of the Reading Regulations regarding allocation of places.
If you succeed in getting an offer you will be expected to participate in the next readers' course, approximately two months from the date you receive notification. A deferral to the next reading period may be granted only in exceptional circumstances. An exceptional circumstance includes where your current employment contract requires more than two months' notice of resignation. You cannot defer beyond the next reading period.
If you are unsuccessful in obtaining an offer you are welcome to sit the exam for future intakes, provided you pay the non-refundable application fee.
Yes, but you must give notice to the Bar Office at the time of registering for the exam. You will be expected to organise to sit the exam with your local Australian embassy, who will supervise the exam and send it back to us. If this is not viable, candidates will need to submit a proposed alternative exam process to the Bar Office for consideration. All associated costs in sitting the exam offsite will be charged to the candidate. These costs will be confirmed at the time of registration.
A request for special consideration must be made at the time of exam or as soon as possible thereafter. Special consideration will only be used if the candidate would not otherwise receive an offer.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Below you will find the reading guide and excerpts of examinable legislative provisions that will be reproduced in hard copy and provided to candidates in the examination room. Candidates must not bring their own copies to the examination.
The excerpts of examinable provisions reflect the law as it stands on 2 October 2017. Attention is drawn, in particular, to a number of additional provisions in the Jury Directions Act 2015 that came into force on 1 October 2017. All those provisions that appear in excerpts are examinable.
NB: The case of Nicholson Street Pty Ltd & Ors v Letten  VSC 307 has been removed from the cases and will not be examinable.