Chambers adopts a set of selection criteria which are reasonably reliable and valid. When applying these criteria chambers will ensure that the Equality and Diversity Code for the Bar is fully complied with and that due account is taken of the extent to which an applicant has overcome disadvantage.
2. For pupillages commencing October 2020, applications will be accepted through the Pupillage Gateway.
3. Selection will be on merit and particular attention will be paid to:
3.1 Academic achievement.
3.2 Evidence of motivation, commitment and capability regarding both a career at the Bar and pupillage at 12 King’s Bench Walk;
3.3 Non academic achievement.
These criteria will be considered in the light of the type of work Chambers undertakes. Pupils will be selected on the basis of their written applications and thereafter candidates will be selected for interview.
4. Chambers will normally seek to shortlist applicants for interview following members of chambers separately analysing the application forms and thereafter meeting to draw up a short list. This task will be co-ordinated by the Pupillage Secretary. The short list will normally be in the region of 30 applications. Interviewing will usually be by a panel of three. Chambers expects to offer a minimum of two and up to three 12-month pupillages for the year commencing October 2020.
5. The funding of pupils from October 2020 is to be £55,000 for a twelve month pupillage. This is in the form of a £27,500 award for the first six months and thereafter a guaranteed income of £27,500 for the second six months when it is anticipated that most pupils will be in court reasonably regularly. Chambers will comply with the Bar Council’s proposals for compulsory funding of pupillage.
5.1 During the first six months pupils will receive a non-refundable scholarship of £27,500 payable at £4,583.33 per calendar month in advance.
5.2 During the second six months pupils will receive £27,500 guaranteed income payable at £4,583.33 per calendar month in advance refundable from fees received at any time for work billed during this period.
5.3 In the event that a pupil bills work to a value greater than £27,500 in the second six months, chambers will deduct clerks’ fees (currently 12%) from the surplus above £27,500 when the fees are received.
5.4 During the second six months, and for however long afterwards it takes to collect such sums billed during this period, all settlements against bills for work undertaken by a pupil will be paid directly to chambers. Chambers will monitor levels of invoicing and ensure that income in excess of £27,500, less clerks fees, is paid to the pupil concerned.
5.5 For the avoidance of doubt if a pupil remains in chambers for a third sixth months, or any additional period, any fees billed or paid for work done in this period will be subject to a deduction for clerks’ fees (currently 12%) but will not be deductible against the guaranteed income received in the second six month period.
5.6 Up to £10,000 of the award may be drawn down in advance during the Bar Vocational Course.
6. THE ROLES AND DUTIES OF PUPILS
Pupils will be:
- Assigned to a pupil supervisor but will be encouraged to attend court with other members of chambers and to undertake research for persons other than their pupil supervisors.
- Given a separate pupil supervisor after three or four months. This policy is designed to ensure that a pupil has exposure to as many tenants as possible and accordingly has an opportunity to become acquainted with a mixture of tenants.
- Expected to undertake drafting and the writing of opinions and also to engage in research.
- Required to complete the common law check list in their pupillage file and also to undertake the continuing education programmes which the Bar Council requires.
7. THE ROLES AND DUTIES OF THE PUPIL SUPERVISORS
Pupil Supervisors will:
- Require each pupil to work through the common law check list in the Pupillage File.
- Ensure that the pupil undertakes the compulsory further education required by the Bar Council.
- Encourage the pupil to mix with other tenants apart from the pupil supervisor.
- Encourage the pupil to go to court with junior members of chambers towards the end of the first six months so as to gain direct experience of the type of work the pupil will undertake in the second six months.
- Read and be familiar with the contents of the Bar Council’s ‘Pupillage File’.
- Keep under constant review the progress of their pupils and encourage improvement in any areas of perceived weakness.
- Keep a written record of the pupil’s progress which should be shown to and discussed with the pupil at least once during the period of supervision.
- Contribute to the selection process if the pupil applies for a tenancy and should therefore ensure that they have properly monitored the pupil’s progress and that they are in a position to assist the selection committee as to the qualities of the pupil.
8. DISTRIBUTION OF WORK
The senior clerks will monitor the distribution of work to pupils during the second six month period of pupillage by:
- Overseeing the distribution of work and will take all reasonable steps to ensure that each pupil is allocated work on an equal basis.
- Monitoring the distribution of work by looking at the diary for each week and ensuring that each pupil has a fair distribution of work.
- Looking at the income that each pupil has booked each month and will thereby ensure that all pupils are being allocated their fair share of work.
Any pupil who feels that he or she is not getting a fair proportion of work attributed to pupils should discuss the matter with their pupil master/mistress and/or with the Pupillage Secretary. In addition, the senior clerks are willing to discuss the distribution of work with a pupil should the pupil wish to discuss that matter with them.
9. THE END OF PUPILLAGE
Chambers recruits pupils with the intention of considering them for such tenancies as are available but reserves the right to advertise for tenants and to decline to offer any tenancy. Selection for tenancies will be based entirely on merit. If, however, a pupil is not offered a tenancy the pupil may stay for a while in chambers at the invitation of the Head of Chambers on the condition that he/she pays the percentage contribution at the time in question due on any fees received.
Chambers’ decision concerning the taking on of a pupil as a tenant will usually be communicated to the pupil by the end of the second week of July. At the request of the pupil the pupil supervisor will consider providing a reference and otherwise assisting in helping pupils to obtain a third six pupillage in other chambers or a tenancy elsewhere in respect of any pupils who have not been offered either a third six or a tenancy in these chambers. Pupils who remain in chambers will receive guidance and assistance from chambers with a view to promoting their continued progress.
If a pupil has any grievance concerning the conduct of his pupillage within chambers he or she shall have the right to discuss any problems with the Pupil Supervisor or Pupillage Secretary informally in the first instance. If the pupil prefers, such a discussion may be had with the Equal Opportunities Adviser and/or the Head of Chambers instead. If the matter has not been adequately resolved through such a discussion, or the pupil considers that the grievance is too serious to be dealt with informally, he or she should set out the grievance in writing to the Head of Chambers (or Equal Opportunities Adviser.) The procedure is set out in more detail in the Pupils & Tenants Grievance procedure.
Where the Head of Chambers considers that a pupil may be guilty of misconduct, he may invoke the procedure set out in the Disciplinary and Unfitness to Practise Procedure for Pupils and Tenants.
11. MONITORING OF THE PUPILLAGE SYSTEM IN CHAMBERS
The Pupillage Secretary:
- Is responsible for collating and preserving completed Pupillage Files from pupil supervisors.
- Is responsible for filing proper returns to the Bar Council.
- Will organise meetings at least annually to discuss with members of chambers engaged in the selection process and interviewing in what ways they think the system could be improved.
- Will furnish an annual report to chambers detailing the numbers of pupillage applications received, the numbers interviewed, the names of those persons selected for pupillage together with any policy reforms thought desirable arising out of the pupillage recruitment review.
Each year any new tenant taken on in chambers who has undertaken a pupillage within chambers shall be specifically asked by the Pupillage Secretary and / or Head of Chambers to comment on the quality of the pupillage system with a view to improving the quality of pupillage given within chambers.
12. Registration for VAT.
All pupils must register for VAT before the end of the first six months of their pupillage. For reasons connected with the chambers own VAT registration it is not possible for any pupil to use the VAT scheme known as the ‘flat rate’ scheme.