Pupillage Gateway will be moved to January from 2017

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By Thomas Connelly on

After previous false start the Bar Council finally gives date change the go-ahead


The Bar Council has revealed that the Pupillage Gateway timetable will be moved to January from 2017 onwards.

The move — that has finally been given the green light after a previous false start — means students will know if they have secured a pupillage before committing to the costly Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).

The vocational element of bar training — that all aspiring barristers must complete prior to pupillage — can cost as much as £18,500 at some London providers.

As it stands, wannabe barristers have from 4 April to 4 May 2016 to fire off their pupillage applications via the Gateway, with offers being made any time after 1 August. They must accept a place on the BPTC in early April.

Today the Bar Council has today confirmed that this timetable will be ditched in 2017. However for those with a strange feeling of déjà vu — yes we have been here before.

Back in July 2015 a clearly over-excited Bar Council employee took to the representative body’s official Twitter account to reveal the move would take place as of January 2016.

After what Legal Cheek understands was stinging criticism from several disgruntled chambers for being left out of the loop regarding the date switch, the Bar Council was forced to perform an embarrassing U-turn.

Taking to its social media account only one month later, the Bar Council placed the move “on hold” claiming that further “consultation” with the bar was needed.

Having launched the consultation in November, the Bar Council has today revealed that it received 126 responses, including 45 from chambers. The feedback appears to be — on whole — in favour of change, with “the majority of chambers” supporting the move, while an “overwhelming” number of students were “positive” about the January switch.

In one of her first announcements since taking up the role, chairman of the bar Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC said:

This is a common-sense decision by the Bar and students. Given the high costs associated with the BPTC, the new Pupillage Gateway timetable, which will run from January to April as of 2017, means that at least students applying through the Gateway will know if they have pupillage before committing to the BPTC.

Acknowledging that not all the feedback was positive, with many chambers having already opted out of the Gateway all together, she continued:

We intend to learn from the experience of those chambers who are already recruiting earlier in the year and will work with our members to make the move work for them.


Bar Council confirms Pupillage Gateway date change U-turn with consultation launch [Legal Cheek]

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