BSB to introduce single pupil barrister recruitment timetable

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Standardised approach will be ‘fairer’, says regulator

All chambers in England and Wales will need to bring their pupil recruitment processes in line with the Pupillage Gateway timetable, the Bar Standards Board (BSB) has confirmed.

The Gateway, operated by the Bar Council and runs from November through to May, prescribes the set timetable for each stage of pupil recruitment, including the publication of adverts, submission dates for applications, shortlisting, interviews and making offers.

Previously chambers were required to advertise their pupillage vacancies on the Gateway but did not have to adhere to its timetable.

The BSB says the new rule, which comes into force on 1 November, will make pupillage recruitment “fairer and more consistent”

The Pupillage Gateway closes next week:  Find out more about life at the leading chambers by checking out Legal Cheek's 2020 Chambers Most List

Separately, the regulator confirmed it will now require mandatory contracts between pupil barristers and their chambers in order to improve each party’s “awareness of their obligations”.

The written agreements, which must be in place for all pupillages commencing from 1 May, will make the pupillage experience across the bar more consistent and could, according to the regulator, help reduce the risk of pupil barristers being subjected to “inappropriate behaviour”.

The Bar Council previously backed the move, claiming some sets were guilty of “truly shocking” treatment of their pupils, and that written contracts might concentrate chambers’ minds on their responsibilities.

Commenting on the reforms, BSB director of strategy and policy, Ewen MacLeod, said: “The introduction of a single timetable will make pupillage recruitment fairer and more consistent, while written pupillage agreements will enhance pupils’ and chambers’ understanding of their obligations.”

He continued:

“The decision to introduce these measures reaffirms the BSB’s commitment to make bar training more accessible, affordable and flexible while sustaining high standards. We are committed to working closely with the profession and the Bar Council to implement these reforms”.

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