Pupillages of the future

Chambers should be put back in charge of designing the pupillage experience for aspiring barristers, the Bar Standards Board (BSB) has said.

In Future Bar Training, published in February, the regulator suggested that it should instead focus on ensuring that barristers have the right knowledge and skills at the end of the educational process, through the establishment of a Professional Statement.


The proposals, which are due to be consulted on this summer, mark a significant departure from the current system in which the BSB must approve any pupillages that deviate from the standard format, and make it easier for pupillage training organisations to offer alternatives, such as secondments. The BSB will also explore how pupils – most of whom are self-employed – can be protected in the same way as employees or other trainees.

Director of Education and Training for the BSB, Dr Simon Thornton-Wood, said: “By clearly defining the end point of qualification – in terms of the skills and ability a barrister needs – we think routes to qualification will become more flexible, more innovative, and more creative.

“If this greater flexibility means that there can be more pupillages on offer that is also a good move.”

The increasing costs in training and education is a serious concern. “Inevitably, high quality training comes at a price, but we don’t want this to be prohibitive and a deterrent to those who have the aptitude and determination to become successful barristers,” Thornton-Wood added.

The cost of the BPTC in London is now typically in excess of £17,500 for a one-year course; and less than a third of students find work at the Bar.

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