Student to challenge Bar school's selection

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The Independent Online
A STUDENT has won leave to take the Bar's law school to the High Court over its new selection procedure, which has provoked an outcry from rejected applicants and universities, writes Jason Bennetto.

Jane Nightingale, 25, was yesterday given permission at the High Court to challenge the system by judicial review. The test case could affect hundreds of other students who have been denied a place on the one-year course - an essential step to becoming a barrister - because of below average A-level results.

About 500 unsuccessful candidates are appealing against rejection from the Inns of Court School of Law. They are particularly critical of the new procedure's emphasis on A-level passes. The school now ignores the class of degree a student obtains. During yesterday's judgement, Mr Justice Judge said it was at least arguable that it was 'unfair and unreasonable' that students who do well at university should not have those later results taken into account.

Alan Moses QC, appearing for Miss Nightingale, said ethnic minority students and mature students who had overcome under-achievement at school were among the chief victims of the new system.

The case was brought by the Public Law Project, a charity to help individuals to challenge decisions of government and other bodies.

The Council of Legal Education, which runs the school, has 21 days to prepare a defence. A full hearing is likely to take place at the beginning of next month.