Qualifying Sessions and Events

Taking part in Qualifying Sessions is an integral part of your journey to become a barrister. 

Once you have joined the Inn as a student Member, in addition to passing the Bar Course, you must complete 10 Qualifying Sessions (QSs), during a period of no more than 5 years, in order to be called to the Bar.

If you started the course prior to September 2020, you are required to complete 12 Qualifying Sessions. Please see further details on transitional arrangements below. 

If you are a transferring lawyer, you must complete 10 Qualifying Sessions. Please refer to your correspondence with the BSB (Bar Standards Board) to ensure you are aware of your requirements.

Benchers and barristers no longer requiring QSs are welcome and encouraged to join students on QS nights.

Only 6 QSs will be counted per term. 

Transitional Arrangements 

In September 2020, the Inns introduced a new Qualifying Session Framework which affects the requirements for Call to the Bar. The new framework will affect students in different ways depending on their Bar Course start date, Call date and completed Qualifying Sessions. As a result, there are transitional arrangements in place for students who have already commenced the Bar Course and/or have undertaken Qualifying Sessions prior to 1 June 2020.

View an overview of these Transitional Arrangements (PDF). Please refer to the tables under paragraph 39 of the Joint Inns’ Education and Qualification Rules (PDF) for more detailed information. 

About QSs

There is no set format for a Qualifying Session, but all Qualifying Sessions have educational content, providing opportunities for professional and ethical development. QSs provide the opportunity to engage with the Inn’s community of practitioners and/or relevant experts, as some of the biggest names in the Bar return to Gray’s to give their time and experience develop the current and future generation. 

Each session will have a theme and you must attend a minimum of one session under each of the themes (listed below). At least two sessions must be interactive and require preparation in advance. 

  • Ethics, Standards and Values
  • Advocacy Skills
  • Legal Knowledge, Justice and the Rule of Law
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Preparation for Pupillage, Career Development and Wellbeing 

For students that started the course in 2019 or earlier, there is no obligation to complete the range of themed QSs, but we would strongly encourage you to attend as many types of sessions as possible.

Key QS Events

Due to Covid-19, Qualifying Sessions are being held online until the end of the year (December 2020). Please see our events pages or login to your GIOS account (Gray's Inn Online System) for details of specific sessions. 

Introductory events

All Bar Course students studying in London and on Circuit are required to attend an introductory event at the start of their course. Invites will be sent by email; these QSs cannot be booked via the online booking system or via the Registrar.

Moots

There are practice moots, senior moots and moot competitions throughout the year.  Mooting is an ideal opportunity for you to practise advocacy 'on your feet' and to receive feedback to help you improve.  Mooting also gives you the chance to demonstrate your motivation to become a barrister. Scholarship and pupillage interview panels will expect to see mooting listed on your applications. 

Your trainers (barristers) and judges will join you for a reception which follows most moots.  This is your chance to engage with them and other members to seek advice about your career aspirations. 

Prep4Practice

We host regular day and evening sessions to help you brush up on the practical knowledge and skills you need for practice. If you opt to attend the day sessions, you will join your trainers for lunch in Hall afterwards. If you choose the later sessions, you can rub shoulders with senior barristers and trainers and build valuable connections at the evening receptions.

Mixed Messes

This evening begins with a drinks reception where you can meet and later dine in groups of four (a mess) with barrister and judicial members of the Inn. 

Mixed Messes provide real opportunities and time for you to learn more about the Bar, various areas of practice and different ways of working as a self-employed or employed barrister. These evenings are popular with students, perhaps because the atmosphere is light and friendly and there is plenty of time to engage one to one or in small groups with members of Hall.  

Dinner is is preceded by a drinks reception and talk given by a guest of the Treasurer. 

Advocacy weekends

This is an opportunity for students on courses in London and on Circuit to spend a weekend engaging with one another, judges, barristers and advocacy trainers.

All Bar Course students will be invited to these weekends by email; these QSs cannot be booked via the online booking system or via the Registrar.

Education Weekend

Excellent support from senior Inn members!

The programme includes:

  • An advocacy exercise at the Royal Courts of Justice
  • A series of talks and/or career advice sessions
  • The 2nd round of the Moot Competition
  • A social event by AGIS (The Association of Gray's Inn Students)

The advocacy exercise provides a great opportunity for advocacy experience where you can examine and cross-examine witnesses in a real court, in front of a real judge, and receive feedback on your performance(s) from the Inn’s advocacy trainers. Worth 2-3 QSs.

Residential weekends

Fantastic weekend. Informative, useful, and taken away many pointers and tips for future use.

The programmes includes:

  • tuition in case analysis 
  • advocacy 
  • ethics 
  • closing speeches and talks from eminent members of the Inn
  • trial demonstration 

The weekends also offer time in a relaxed and informal setting to meet and interact with barrister, judicial and Bencher members of the Inn. Worth 5 QSs.

If you are a transferring lawyer, you must complete six QSs within three years of being called. 

Only 6 QSs will be counted per term. Benchers and barristers no longer requiring QSs are welcome and encouraged to join students and dine in Hall on QS nights.

Find out more