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Steps one and twoThere has been plenty of talk but little action about introducing common education for both sides – barristers and solicitors – of the legal profession. Other than a university degree, the only qualification taken by both is the Common Professional Examination (CPE) for those who do not have qualifying law degrees. Details are the same as for solicitors. After that, it is make-your-mind-up time.Total cost so far: University tuition fees plus living expenses can add up to £18,000. The CPE costs of between £2,000 and £4,800 plus living expenses can bring the cost to £10,000, bringing the cost so far to £28,000 for the year.Funding: While there are a number of charities that give small bursaries, the main source of income will be from career development loans from the banks (see box, right), although the banks generally want repayments to start after the Bar Vocational Course (BVC) rather than pupillage. The Bar Council grants nine scholarships per year – interest-free loans of £4,000 – to those in financial hardship. Those headed for the armed services, the Crown Prosecution Service or the government legal service may get sponsorship.

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