Top legal aid set Tooks Chambers has withdrawn two 2014 pupillage places for which it had accepted applications just last month. One will not be filled due to continuing uncertainty about the future of the publicly-funded Bar, while the other has been taken by a student who was due to start pupillage at the set this year but has been forced to defer. Wannabe barristers who have used up one of their precious 12 Pupillage Gateway application choices on Tooks are understandably rather annoyed…
This is the email that students who’d applied to Tooks received at the end of last week:
One Bar hopeful told Legal Cheek: “This means I have effectively wasted one of my applications. As the system is now closed, and I am not allowed to apply to other chambers, I am not sure what can be done.”
The news follows decisions by Guildhall Chambers and Charter Chambers to ditch their criminal pupillages for next year. Significantly, both chambers announced those decisions before the Pupillage Gateway closed on 9 May.
A spokesperson for Tooks said: “Due to uncertainty created by the Ministry of Justice’s plans, we have decided to offer one pupillage next year. We have had to offer that to a pupil who was due to commence this year, but due to personal reasons had to defer.”
Earlier this year, two barristers from Tooks generated controversy by arranging a ‘How to get a pupillage’ event which they initially attempted to charge students £186 each to attend. The event was subsequently made free of charge.