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Bar Council confirms Pupillage Gateway date change U-turn with consultation launch

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Opinions of law students sought over on/off timetabling switch

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A student consultation into controversial changes to the Pupillage Gateway schedule has been launched, all but completing an embarrassing U-turn for the Bar Council.

The consultation is being done via a survey, which has been produced by the bar’s representative body. It seeks the thoughts and opinions of law students on proposed timetabling changes to the centralised pupillage application system.

Currently, aspiring barristers have from 4 April to 4 May 2016 to submit pupillage applications, with offers being made by chambers any time after 1 August.

However — before subsequently going back on its plans — the Bar Council had announced that pupil recruitment was to begin in early January 2016, with offers being made around April. This would have allowed students to know if they had secured a pupillage before having to commit to the costly Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).

When the dramatic timetabling overhaul was revealed on social media back in July, the move received a mixed response from the Legal Cheek readership.

However, after what Legal Cheek understands was heavy criticism from several chambers for having the change sprung upon them, the Bar Council succumbed to pressure, and had to reverse its decision.

Again, taking to its Twitter account to deliver the news, the Bar Council confirmed that the move was now on “hold” citing further consultation with the bar.

Addressing concerns at the time, a spokesperson for the Bar Council said:

The Bar Council is a truly representative body in that it listens to its members. We are sensitive to the fact that for some chambers, moving the Pupillage Gateway opening to January for 2016 is too soon and that there will be logistical problems for chambers already in the process of recruiting pupils for next year. Equally, some students have expressed a desire for us to hold off changing the date. Rather than turn a blind eye to what chambers and students are telling us, we are keen to take on board all concerns. It is therefore vital that we consult further on this matter.

But news of the consultation suggests that the plan to move the Gateway to January is now off — unless students and members of chambers strongly back the move.

The Pupillage Gateway timetable consultation can be found here.

Previously:

Pupillage Gateway might not move to January after all [Legal Cheek]