Aspiring barristers anger as Pupillage Gateway glitch means applications are missing GDL and BPTC grades

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By Thomas Connelly on

Exclusive: Gateway’s copy-and-paste feature reproduces everything BUT vital grades on pupillage applications


A number of wannabe barristers have expressed their anger over an apparent Pupillage Gateway glitch that resulted in applications being sent with key academic results missing.

A copy and paste design feature permits certain pieces of information to be automatically replicated onto each application saving already stressed out law students and pupillage-hopefuls precious time. However, according to a number of Gateway users Legal Cheek has spoken to, there is a problem with the Bar Council-backed system.

The Gateway appears to copy across everything but applicants’ Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) grades. This has resulted in applications being sent without vital marks, potentially harming students’ chances of landing an interview.


Legal Cheek understands that some pupillage hunters were alerted to the problem when they were asked by chambers for their GDL and BPTC grades despite the fact the students had already submitted applications.

Speaking to Legal Cheek, one bar hopeful — wishing to remain anonymous — explained that while it was his job to review the application, it would be very difficult to spot the missing grades “in a 3000-word document”. He added:

If they [Bar Council] had just said ‘by the way, the grades for the GDL and the BPTC don’t get copied and pasted’ this problem wouldn’t have occurred. Every application I sent out was identical after the first one except for these specific grades which the Gateway deleted.

A Bar Council spokesperson said:

The current system part populates academic results for each application and a very small number of students have contacted us to make this point. We are looking at how this function can be made to operate more consistently, and at the different ways in which we can reinforce the point that applicants must check their forms thoroughly before submission. The Bar Council has contacted Chambers to explain that this is an issue which has affected a small number of applicants.

A large number of chambers advertise pupillage vacancies via the Bar Council-operated Pupillage Gateway. This allows wannabe barristers to apply for up to 12 trainee positions when the Gateway operates between 7 March and 1 August. Earlier this year the Bar Council confirmed that the Gateway would be open from January as of 2017.