The Review recommends that the four core skills (conduct, advocacy, conferences and negotiations; and legal research and drafting) should continue to be the focus of training. However the Review proposes that defined standards and checklists for all areas must be used to verify that training has been satisfactorily completed. In addition, the standard of performance which a pupil’s work must achieve is defined as the standard at which the work (oral advocacy or written) is “capable of rendering a real and valuable service to the client”.
Other key proposals include raising the minimum amount of the pupillage award from £10,000 to £12,0000 pa;  training for pupil supervisors to be strengthened, and overseen by the BSB. Supervisors must attend a course in order to be registered and attend a refresher course every five years; each Approved Training Organisation should appoint a director of pupil training to oversee pupillage; and all pupillage selection panels must include at least one member who has received formal equality and diversity training.

Welcoming the Pupillage Review, the Chair of the BSB, Baroness Deech DBE, said: “The Report makes a number of recommendations that the Board fully supports including the increase of the minimum funding for pupillages and that pupillages are properly established and overseen. 

“Above all, the Board is keen to ensure that attaining pupillage is a fair and open process for all those who apply as well as a guarantee to everyone that someone who undertakes pupillage will be properly skilled at the end of it.  Making sure that this happens is vitally important in the interests of consumers, for encouraging a strong and diverse profession and for the public interest.  The Board will now move on to ensuring implementation of the report’s recommendations.”

Commenting on his Review, Derek Wood said: “It is essential that the Bar modernises its approach to pupillage. While there is a lot to be commended in the present system, it also presents challenges in the extent to which it meets modern expectations for a properly supervised system of vocational training and preparation for practice.

“The Bar has much to be proud of in the excellence and specialisation that it offers the legal services sector. However, it is of critical importance that its role in the market is reinforced by state of the art approaches to training and development.”

The new report follows the BVC Review in 2007-08: the third review, covering Continuing Professional Development, is now underway. Further information on the Pupillage Review is available at

(See also Counsel’s Pupillage Focus – on the interview process  and split pupillages –  at pp 18-22 and 24-26 of this month’s issue.)