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Supreme Court launches paid internship for underrepresented aspiring barristers

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Week-long scheme will see bar hopefuls shadow judicial assistants

The Supreme Court has teamed up with a diversity charity to launch its first-ever paid internship aimed at aspiring barristers from underrepresented communities.

The UK’s top court today announced it will recruit eight bar hopefuls for a “challenging” and “intellectually stimulating” five-day placement to run later this year.

Successful applicants will observe cases, discuss legal arguments with justices, and gain insights and guidance from their assigned judicial assistant.

In preparation for the programme, interns will receive two days of “coaching” courtesy of Bridging the Bar, a charity committed to increasing the equality of access to opportunities in the legal profession across all underrepresented groups.

In order to apply, candidates must come from a non-traditional background and have completed or accepted an offer with the intention of completing the Bar Course. Participants will receive the London Living Wage.

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Vicky Fox, chief executive of the Supreme Court, commented:

“I am delighted to announce the launch of the Supreme Court’s first paid internship programme, which offers a real insight into the work of the court. The court recognises that it has a leadership role to play to support increasing diversity of the judiciary and it is our intention that this programme will support the progression of underrepresented groups into the legal profession and ultimately into judicial roles.”

She added: “We are looking forward to learning from the interns and hope that the programme will provide an intellectually stimulating experience for participants and support them to pursue a career in the law.”

Applications open on 10 June and close on 10 July 2021.

A diversity report published last year by the Bar Standards Board shows that 14.7% of barristers are from a black, asian and minority ethnic background, while over half of British-educated QCs attended a fee-paying school.

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11 Comments

A.Barrister

“It was FIVE whole days in the Supreme Court!

Yes, my chambers last took on a BAME pupil in 1999, but we are 100% committed to diversity and equality. As we have to say now.

It’s completely out of chambers’ hands who the pupillage committee chooses to take on. It is in fact the universities’ fault, the parents’ fault, the housemaid’s fault and the hoover’s fault we have so few underprivileged pupils. Why are you so hateful?

Please, please like me? I’m so loving, generous and kind. We gave them FIVE whole days of our time!!”

(36)(14)

Anonymous

‘It is completely out of chambers’ hands who the pupillage committee chooses to take on’ – what nonsense. The pupillage committees are formed from various members of chambers’.

Moreover, under the Equality Act 2010, employers are permitted to take positive action in situations where a group of people with a shared protected characteristic (such as gender, race or disability) are disadvantaged or under-represented in connection to that characteristic.

In other words, in cases where there is a clear imbalance of opportunity, employers can take proportionate measures to address the disadvantage and encourage participation without leaving themselves exposed to discrimination claims from individuals who don’t share the relevant protected characteristic.

Either way, it sounds like you are shunning opportunities to presented to those from disadvantages backgrounds.

You are shameful.

(6)(29)

Anon

Employers you say? I did not know Chambers “employed” barristers. Do explain that to me a little more.

(11)(2)

Oh The Cringe 😬

/whoosh

(8)(0)

Touker

Positive action is essentially equality of opportunity. Positive discrimination, which is still unlawful yet is what many of the wokeists advocate, is equality of outcome. The issue is that we have seen way too many of the supposed diversity schemes fall into the latter category, especially because they target race (based on the fallacy of systemic racism) instead of economic class (which is the real problem). Too many workplaces have been allowed to specifically discriminate in favour of one specific racial group just because it is on trend (and to avoid getting cancelled), even though it is clearly positive discrimination against other ethnic minority groups (which apparently don’t have as much clout).

(35)(7)

Anonymous

It’s nice of the supreme court to offer these opportunities. Like most it is hard to know if it reaches those who need it most, or those who tick the boxes and do very well for themselves.

It seems this is aimed at an underdog, so I might give it a read and apply being BAME, working class, no Russel Group, first generation I might tick the boxes.

I think it’s worth us throwing our hat in the ring, might be it’s the one that gets picked up.

(6)(0)

Barry

So you want to get a role based on ticking boxes and then entering what is basically a lottery… the more boxes ticked the more entries you get…

Wouldn’t you rather be able to take pride in getting something on merit?

(8)(4)

Anon

Disappointing that something like this is decided on a basis of factors other than merit.

(33)(8)

Anon

If barristers were really taken solely on ‘merit’, you wouldn’t have QCs with Russell Group 2.1s demanding that every pupil has a BCL, an Oxbridge sporting Blue and an OBE.

(24)(5)

Anonymous

How can i apply for this

(3)(2)

Anonymous

So true. Names are an accurate class indicator. You don’t need CV blind applications. Just get people to disclose their names. If you are called Henry or Emma, you are likely to be privately educated. The Kevins and Hannahs of this world likely went to a state school and thus belong to the white lower classes – which are underrepresented at the Bar.

(1)(1)

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