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Updated: Apr 2, 2023

If you have decided to practice as a barrister you will have to complete the Bar Course and one of the things students are struggling with is the use of the White Book. We are going to look at how to use the white book (law).

The Bar Course

The Bar courses is basically the vocational component of bar training; however they go by a number of various titles and are recognised by a variety of different names. Even if various course providers give their programmes different names (previously BTPC) , it is essential to keep in mind that the end goal of all of these courses is the same: completion of the practical training component of bar preparation. The Bar course is also sometimes referred to as:

  • Bar/Barrister Training Course (abbreviated as BTC),

  • Bar Practice Course (abbreviated as BPC),

  • Bar Vocational Course (abbreviated as BVC), and

  • Bar Vocational Studies (BVS).

The White Book

If you have already enrolled in this course, the vast majority of you should already have the tiny mountain of books or electronic documents, but you will also have been given some heavy copies of legal textbooks that you will be utilising during the course of the coming academic year. As a result of this, we decided that it would be beneficial to have a look at the one that is the most significant throughout the course: the White Book.


What is the White Book?

Essentially the book is a set of rules namley the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR). The "White Book," sometimes referred to as "the CPR", is the standard reference for civil practitioners. You want to be aware of the fact that it includes the Civil Procedure Rules, which are very extensive and specific, as well as a great deal of insightful commentary and practise guidance from legal experts on the many sources of law are referenced throughout the book.


The books are heavy

You are expected to take both volumes of the White Book with you to your seminars, small group sessions, and advocacy sessions until you are very certain that there is nothing in the second book that you will need to reference.

Some tutors will recommend you have both at hand every week. Even while you may get by with simply using the first volume for a number of different subjects, it is still a good idea to be prepared. You might also ask your instructors ahead of time if you will need either volume or both volumes for each seminar.

There is another option. We have given you all of the most important provisions you will be using on the course in our Civil Litigation Handbook. In its most basic form, the Civil Litigation Handbook is meant to act as a guide to, or companion to, the White Book.

The Civil Litigation Handbook is a reflection of the White Book and contains cross-references to it. However, its structure differs somewhat from that of the White Book. That is, rather than covering all that the White Book does, it selects out the portions of the Civil Procedure that the writers feel are most in need of extra assistance. This is because the authors believe that certain areas of the Civil Procedure have the most potential for confusion. As a result, the White Book might be seen as benefiting from this literature and using it as a source of information. This book is also a wonderful resource to use as a refresher.

The White Book

Learning to navigate through the White Book

The White Book deals with civil litigation and provides legal materials regarding the practise and procedures of the High Court and county courts that are subject to the Civil Procedure Rules. These courts are subject to the jurisdiction of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR).

Again the Civil Litigation Handbook in the same way that the Bar Course syllabus and white book is broken up into sections, the chapters themselves are broken up into subheadings that correlate to the subject matter that may or may not be on the test. An extra summary is included at the end of each chapter of the Hanbook to chart your progression through the many topics covered in the curriculum. This is done so that you will be entirely ready to take the MCQ test in 2023. This enables you to have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you have covered all that is required to be properly prepared for the test in 2023.

Start using the White Book

The first thing you should do while looking for anything is to examine the contents which is located in the area immediately inside the front cover. On that page, you will find the list of Rules set out along with a general explanation of what each part addresses.

In most cases, it will be sufficient to get you into the appropriate chapter at the very least. However, if you are looking for a particular item, you should go to the back of the book and utilise the index as you normally would. Please be advised that the White Book's front cover as well as the index include references to both of the book's volumes.

Everything that is enclosed in square brackets, as seen here: [], will be included in the second volume, and everything that is indicated with a plus sign (+) will be included on the CD, if you were given one.

The Bar Course Providers expectations

You may anticipate receiving several instructions and breifs to work from and it will be versy similar for you to see "read CPR Part 23 before the time of the next small group session". Now, there are a few different approaches to taking for this.

  1. The most efficient way is to begin by reading the bits that are in bold, which are the real regulations. But other than that, it won't do much more than provide an overview and save you from appearing not to have done the reading before class.

  2. The information that is really helpful is hidden in the very fine print that is not in bold. Reading the fine print is going to be the most exciting thing you have ever read; nevertheless, it is (for the most part) easy to understand and gets right to the point.

  3. If you read this additional material, you will have a better grasp of the challenges that are associated with submitting an application based on that specific regulation.

  4. The Civil Litigation Handbook is helpful for students who are currently enrolled in the Bar Course or Exams, and its publication comes at a time when the BSB simply gives an overview of the white book as compulsory reading.

  5. Because the Civil Litigation Handbookis organised and constructed in such a manner as to help students to grasp the practical repercussions of what they are studying on their course, the book is supportive of that because it is organised and structured in such a way.

  6. It is recommended to read the Handbook first, since doing so will make reading the White Book much simpler.

Using the White Book (law)

The White Book vol 1 and 2

The analysis and application of case law, on the other hand, is going to be the source of the majority of your grades. Keeping all of this in mind, we would propose the following strategy as a way to go about how to read the white book:

  1. Before proceeding forward, it is highly recommended that the Civil Litigation Handbook be studied in its entirety.

  2. The handbook will either tell you what is in bold in the White Book or send you to the White Book where you may find it.

  3. After that, read the lighter print and simultaneously compile a reading list of all the cases it references and download them.

  4. Before you begin reading the cases, get a cup of your go-to caffeinated beverage and settle down with a good book.

  5. Ensure that you have a highlighter on hand, and use it to draw attention to passages that explicitly address the topic that you are now reading about.

  6. Then put it all away in a organised way!

  7. Since the Handbook is designed to be the collection of notes that you will continually return to over the duration of the class, it is important to go through it before things become hectic.

No White Book at hand

Nothing ever goes according to plan, and if you ever find yourself in a situation in which you absolutely cannot obtain a copy of the White Book you can access the section that is printed in bold either online or in the Handbook. Although it is not the whole White Book, having this on hand might save your bacon in the event that you suddenly realise you need a copy of a rule for one reason or another. Aside from that, navigating Westlaw is extremely simple, as it includes not just the laws in bold font but also the additional comments as well.



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