Minimum pupillage award rises to £23,078 in London and £21,060 elsewhere

Avatar photo

By Legal Cheek on


Increases take effect 1 January 2024

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has confirmed pupillage awards will increase by 11% from January next year.

Rates for 12 month pupillages will move to £23,078 in London and £21,060 for those completing their on-the-job training elsewhere. Currently, awards sit at £20,703 and £18,884.

Where possible, the BSB said, chambers should consider increasing the pupillage award early to assist pupils in the most financial need.

The 2024 Legal Cheek Chambers Most List

The annual uplifts were first introduced in 2019 and are pegged against the hourly rates endorsed by the Living Wage Foundation, an independent organisation that promotes fair pay across the UK. Prior to the roll-out, the minimum chambers could pay their pupils was £12,000.

The Legal Cheek 2024 Chambers Most List shows that there is a clear divide at the bar when it comes to pupillage awards. Whilst many criminal sets provide pupil awards close to the regulator-set minimums, major commercial and tax specialists can provide sums of up to £100,000.



This will only reduce the number of pupillages and therefore access to the Bar.


Any set that can’t afford to pay £23,078 to pupils isn’t worth doing a pupillage at anyway.


That is the comment of someone who doesn’t know how the Bar works. There are many excellent small sets, particularly in the areas of Crime and Family work, that simply can’t afford to offer pupillages with increasing minimums, or where they previously could afford 2 pupillages, they can now only afford 1.

You will likely be too young to remember that payment for pupillage was largely brought about by the 1997 minimum wage legislation. Prior to this, sets such as 3PB London were offering 10 pupillages. After the legislation they offered 3 or 4.

Don’t be fooled into believing that the only ‘good’ set is the set offering £60k+ a year. Making it easier for chambers to provide pupillage would enable them to provide more of them which in turn would enable more people to prove themselves at the profession. It is far easier for someone to find grants/support/loans for 1 year, than them not having a pupillage in the first place an £30k+ debt to pay back.


Some pupils will be greatful to obtain pupillage without receiving money just to obtain the necessary training and to obtain the practising certificate. The BSB assessed foreign students as qualified transferring attorneys to do approximately 3 months pupillage. To obtain these 3 months is so difficult. The person has already approximate 12 year experience in her foreign country. In my days, I did articles for free which benefitted me.


It will reduce the number of pupillages. It will however mean that you don’t have to have a trust fund (or an incredible tolerance for debt) to consider going to the publicly funded Bar.


And what do you think happens to the people who already have high debt from university who now don’t have pupillage and therefore no effective way of paying it back?


Good lord. It wasnt so long ago peoplenin their early twenties were fighting wars and protecting our freedom. Now they just moan and complain for getting no money for having no skills. I wish this generation would look up from their iphones for a moment and listen to their parents and grandparents are realise how lucky they are.

Scouser of Counsel

As a relative youngster whose family always seemed to reproduce late, and who therefore had grandparents who were children of the First World War and fought the Second (and a Great Grandfather killed in the First), I completely agree.

If I’m ever tempted to feel stressed about work or life in general, I think about what they went through and the feeling soon disappears.

US associate

If you are intelligent why wouldn’t you join an elite US to make some serious bees and honey?

Civil barrister

Lol – I think what solicitors fail to realise is how much cash you can make at a decent London civil set. Not even necessarily doing commercial work. It is perfectly possible to keep pace with even US shops at such sets, without having to worry about psychotic partners ruining your life.

Earnings at the Bar at those sorts of sets is not at well well-publicised.

People tend to either think:

a) legally aided work pays terribly, which it does; or

b) counsel at top commercial sets make £££££££, which they do.

But they do not consider what is in the middle.

Obviously, if a solicitor makes partner at a good corporate firm then we barristers can’t realistically compete, save for those at b) above.


yeah but you’re also self-employed so lack of job security and doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get consistent work flow… theres pros and cons for both just depends what you want.


Because you can make more at the Bar.

Asking for a friend

Do you get 10-12 weeks holiday a year, a WFH option 4 or more days a week and clock off before 7pm 90% of the time at these US firms?


wow swimming in the pupilage money, sign me up

Join the conversation

Related Stories

Barrister apprenticeships could be available by spring 2024

Exclusive: Plans gathering pace

Oct 17 2023 8:49am

Barristers given fresh guidance on social media behaviour 

'Strike balance' between human rights and professional obligations, says regulator

Sep 21 2023 8:00am