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Top commercial chambers to fund criminal pupillage cancelled due to COVID-19

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Keating Chambers stumps up £20,000

One of London’s leading commercial sets is to fund an aspiring criminal barrister through pupillage as the bar continues to assess the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Keating Chambers, a big player within construction law, is on the lookout for a criminal set which has had to withdraw its pupillage offer due to COVID-19. The chambers, which itself takes on three pupils each year, will provide £20,000 in financial support.

“The financial impact of the pandemic has been felt particularly by the criminal bar”, Marcus Taverner QC, head of Keating Chambers, told Legal Cheek. “Commercial sets are in the fortunate position of being hit less hard. We took a decision to provide support for the vital work carried out by the criminal bar in the legal system of England and Wales in these very difficult times.”

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Chambers wishing to be considered for funding should apply directly to the Criminal Bar Association.

The offer comes just days after the Bar Standards Board (BSB) published a report which predicted a drop in pupillage numbers over the next two years as a result of the pandemic, with training spots in criminal and family law forecasted to be hit hardest.

This year’s pupillage recruitment round saw 2,142 people submit at least one application via the Bar Council’s Pupillage Gateway. There were just 206 pupillage spots up for grabs.

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