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BSB delays introduction of compulsory pupillage contracts aimed at tackling ‘inappropriate behaviour’

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More time needed, says regulator

Plans to introduce mandatory contracts between pupil barristers and their chambers in a bid to curb “inappropriate behaviour” have been delayed, the Bar Standards Board has confirmed.

As part of a consultation earlier this year, the regulator said it was looking to implement compulsory written agreements to ensure that supervisors and pupils “understand their obligations”. The more formal approach aims to make the “pupillage experience across the bar more consistent” and could, according to the BSB, help reduce the risk of pupil barristers being subjected to “inappropriate behaviour”.

The Bar Council’s Education & Training Committee backed the move, saying that contracts might concentrate chambers’ minds on their responsibilities. It went on to claim that some sets are guilty of “truly shocking” treatment of their pupils, with some calls to its helpline disclosing behaviour verging on “abusive”.

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The plan had been to introduce mandatory written agreements this November, but the BSB has “now decided that, if these proposals are adopted, more time would be needed for implementation”.

A report produced by the Bar Council last year revealed that bullying was still a big problem at the bar, with around 30% of employed and 17% of self-employed barristers having reportedly witnessed abuse — a rise of roughly 8% on the 2013 figures.

The BSB also proposed making all chambers follow the Pupillage Gateway recruitment calendar, saying that the “applicants without social capital are likely to be disadvantaged” by the different application deadlines enforced by different chambers. This too will now be delayed.

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26 Comments

b

While a good idea, it should also cover false allegations.

Anonymous

Pathetic. Failed pupils will clog up practitioners’ time with allegations they were not “trained” properly. No-one in their right mind would offer to supervise once this goes through.

Anonymous

Yep could you imagine if there were a subset of lawyers who had some kind of contract for their training period? If something as ridiculous as a “training contract” existed the entire legal profession would become non functioning!

Anonymous

One cannot compare a firm with a sole practitioner in terms of ability to provide a suite of training experiences.

Wake Up Folks

Of course they are delaying this – the problem of bullying and sexual harassment is so widespread by some barristers that they are terrified their abuse and shouting will become public knowledge.

It happens in chambers, tribunal charities and to people from all backgrounds.

They derive all their self-esteem from their job and now they are about to be exposed for the selfish and horrible people they really are.

Can you see why they gaslight, blame the accuser and deny everything?

Anonymous

How’s that chip on your shoulder doing, hun?

aj

Its because of massive instances of false accusations.

Anonymous

You got any empirical (not anecdotal or emotion-based) evidence of mass false accusations of bullying and harassment against barristers?

d

Of ‘sexual harassment’, yes (although not sure why you’re not interested in emotional or anecdotal evidence). However it is for an accuser to assert that what they say is true, not for the accused to have to show that an accusation is false.

Anonymous

Do you want to show the rest of the class where this evidence of mass false accusations of sexual harassment against barristers exists?

Because if it exists only in your head, I’m inclined to believe the IBA members across the globe who keep reporting the same thing.

d

You may be in a classroom. We’re not.

It is for the IBA members to prove the accusations they are making, not for those falsely accused to prove that accusations are false.

Innocent until proven guilty. As you will learn. In your classroom.

Anonymous

Great gaslighting ‘d’.

Distract everyone by pretending that the BSB is swamped by ‘false’ accusations of harassment, so that the barristers who harass and bully pupils aren’t treated with the contempt they deserve.

Delays, filibustering, lies and distractions. The truth stands on its own though.

You are never going to truly silence people from speaking out and no barrister can ever really ‘get away’ with disgusting behaviour anymore.

f

Why ‘gaslighting’ – sounds like (yet) another false allegation. Sounds like you don’t know the meaning of the term.

Makes one wonder about the truth of some of the other accusations of ‘gaslighting’ being bandied about.

Paul Paught

“Gaslighting” a millenial knee jerk comment if there ever was one. FFS.

Clint

“applicants without social capital.” Delicious.

Anonymous

Delay delay delay.

The BSB, like the SRA, are the epitome of jobsworths with endless amount of time on their hands. They do not need more time. Delays are just their way of passing the buck.

Perhaps if they actually did their jobs they wouldn’t be such a significant contributing factor to bringing the profession into disrepute.

Anonymous

These contracts are also necessary to prevent the more pedestrian inappropriate behaviour of using a pupil as an admin assistant or, worse, personal errand runner. Contracts at the minimum need to set out that a pupil will be provided with and feedback given on the work necessary to obtain a practising certificate as well as the basis of assessment for tenancy.

Anonymous

It’s incredible that you need to spell out in writing to presumably educated adults not to exploit someone as a personal errand runner.

But yes, there we are.

Kikjuj

Giving snowflake millenials a contractual right to sue when they learn they are not good enough for tenancy is an awful idea.

Tripos

Millennials?

Contracts between a master and an apprentice for many professional crafts have existed since the Middle Ages.

Kikjuj

But those were days when people did what they were told, could take criticism square on and readily accepted judgment. That is not now.

Tripos

When have you ever seen a QC pupil master not explode with rage and screaming if you criticise them?

Have you seen what they are like on Twitter?

You’re in the wrong profession if you think the whining ‘snowflakes’ are the pupils…

Give me £100 every time this happens in the profession

Yes they should.

Nepotism is for weak people who’ll never forget they weren’t really good enough to be there in the first place.

It also takes a place away from applicants who actually worked hard to meet academic and professional standards.

People want to laugh at corruption in other countries, but turn a blind eye when it happens in the UK?

I doubt she’ll stick around the firm too long after qualifying. Imagine always being worried that people will find out you needed ‘help’ to get your TC?

If the firm is really that awful, she might then become a #bossbabe for an easy life of travel Instagramming.

Wellbeing at the Bar

Abuse and bullying is an integral (and often much needed) aspect of working at the Bar.

Learning how to abuse and denigrate your pupils is a skill taught by our Wellbeing group, as part of a successful wellbeing strategy.

There is nothing better for your own wellbeing and self esteem issues, than to take out your frustrations and failures on a young and vulnerable pupil who will be too scared to say anything through fear of not gained my tenancy.

BSB need to wake up to the realities of the Bar.

Wellbeing at the Bar

Abuse and bullying is an integral (and often much needed) aspect of working at the Bar.

Learning how to abuse and denigrate your pupils is a skill taught by our Wellbeing group, as part of a successful wellbeing strategy.

There is nothing better for your own wellbeing and self esteem issues, than to take out your frustrations and failures on a young and vulnerable pupil who will be too scared to say anything through fear of not gaining tenancy.

The BSB need to wake up to the realities of the Bar.

Not TV

TV dramas. Real life. Learn the difference.

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