Disadvantaged students given an insight into life at the Bar

THE Social Mobility Foundation and the Bar Council have, for the second year, worked together to enable 34 bright A level students from low income backgrounds to spend a week finding out about life at the Bar. The students spent a week shadowing barristers at work, touring the Inns of the Court and attending a Crown Court. The students had an insight into the work of both employed and self employed barristers including meeting clients, reviewing papers and each was paired with a nominated barrister.


Only the most promising students were selected by the Foundation. To be eligible the students were required to have obtained at least 5 A grades at GCSE (and a minimum of grade B in Maths and English). The students are in Year 12 (aged 17) and are predicted to get at least one A and two B grades at A level. Finally, every student is a recipient of the Education Maintenance Allowance, which is only available to the least well off members of society. The Chairman of the Bar Council Tim Dutton QC held a reception to thank chambers who participated in the scheme and a prize was awarded by him to Janini Paramsothy who won the essay competition. In November 2007 Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury published a report which set out recommendations for widening access to the Bar. His second recommendation was that the Bar participate in placement schemes such those run by the Social Mobility Foundation. The chambers placement scheme gives effect to this recommendation and demonstrates the Bar Council’s commitment to implementing Lord Neuberger’s recommendations. The chambers placement scheme was coordinated by a Working Group chaired by Robert Francis QC who said today:

“The feedback which we received following last year’s chambers placement scheme was highly positive and we anticipate more of the same this year. The scheme is but one among many which seeks to widen access to the Bar. It is in the profession’s interest to attract the very best young talent irrespective of their economic circumstances and I am pleased that so many chambers have got involved.”

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