A lawyer, when issued with an initial practising certificate with reader conditions, is termed a 'reader'. The reader embarks on the Reading Program, which has two major elements, the Bar Practice Course & reading with a tutor.

Reading with a tutor

The period of reading starts when the practising certificate with reader conditions is issued, and continues for a minimum of 12 months. Often referred to as the reading year. During that time, the reader remains under the supervision of at least one experienced barrister, who is called a tutor.  

Readers requiring assistance with finding a tutor can contact the Professional Development Department who maintain a list of current tutors who have satisfied the Bar Council’s requirements.


The Reader / Tutor Guidelines are intended to assist tutors and readers to obtain the maximum benefit from the reading period.


On 27 March 2014 Bar Council resolved that conditions should be attached to the practising certificate of readers under the Legal Profession Act 2004.

Civil and Criminal reading

A reader must, in the first six months of practice, satisfactorily complete 10 days of civil and 10 days of criminal reading. At the discretion of the supervising barrister the reader must participate as fully as possible in the case, including reading of the brief, discussion of issues, preparation of submissions, interviews with witnesses and attendance at court attendance.

A supervising barrister is defined as a barrister who is senior counsel or who has more than five years experience as a barrister and holds an unrestricted practising certificate.

For further details see the civil and criminal reading guidelines, which include the verification of reading form.

Tutor Policy

The Tutor Policy.