The Regulatory Framework for Pupillage
1.1 Chambers’ policy is to ensure that effective procedures are in place for the management by it of pupillage/s. The Pupillage Committee coordinates the management of pupillage/s. The Pupillage Committee monitors and reports on the effectiveness of Chambers’ pupillage policies and practices every year in advance of the Annual General Meeting.
1.2 The number of pupillages on offer each year is for the Members of Chambers to determine at the Annual Meeting in June. This number may increase following a recommendation by the Pupillage Committee. The Head of Chambers must approve the recommendation, which will be communicated to all applicants in the advertisement placed on the Pupillage Gateway. Chambers will presume that any pupil offered a pupillage will want to remain in the Chambers following at the end of it. Prospective pupils are made aware of this from the beginning of the process.
1.3 Chambers’ current policy is not to offer third six-month pupillages or allow squatters. The length of the pupillage on offer is twelve months. In certain circumstances, Chambers will consider offering pupillage of less than 12 months should the applicant have completed part of their pupillage in another way. Each case shall be judged on its own merits.
1.4 Chambers follows section 7of the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and Annex R to the Code of Conduct. The award is in line with the Bar Council guidelines. Chambers rent is not payable on either the award in the first six, or the income in the second six.
1.5 Chambers do not expect pupils to re-pay the award if his/her pupillage is completed. This applies even if the pupil decides not to remain in Chambers. Chambers also pays for any obligatory training required during pupillage. Chambers reimburses pupils for travel expenses reasonably incurred during pupillage. Pupils leaving before the completion of their pupillage are not required to repay all or part of the monies received prior to their departure, except in the case of misconduct.
2. Recruitment and Selection for Pupillage
2.1 All applications for pupillage must be in response to an advertisement on the Pupillage Gateway. Chambers seek to recruit pupils of the highest calibre.
2.2 The Head of Chambers appoints the Pupillage Committee. The Committee follow the principles set out under section 6 of the BSB Handbook. All applications will be acknowledged.
Stage One: Shortlisting for the written exercise
2.3 At least two members of the Committee conduct the short-listing for interview. They assess applicants on the basis of Chambers’ selection procedure and criteria. The Committee agrees the selection criteria in advance of the procedure.
The Committee keeps a record of the procedure and criteria. The Committee strives to draw up a list of about 12 potential candidates to complete the written exercise.
Stage Two: shortlisting for the assessment day
2.4 The Pupillage Committee will review the written work submitted by the 12 candidates against set criteria. From those 12 candidates, 6 will be chosen to attend the assessment day.
Stage Three: the assessment day
2.5 The assessment day is comprised of three parts:
2.5.1 An advocacy exercise;
2.5.2 A team exercise, not related to the Law;
2.5.3 An interview with the Panel.
2.6 The interview is based on the selection criteria. Each candidate is asked a number of set questions. Candidates can expect to have to answer any supplementary questions that might arise out of replies to the set questions and perhaps their CV. The Committee will have agreed the set questions in advance of the interviews. Each member of the Committee assesses the applicant during the course of the interview, in accordance with the agreed criteria. Records of such assessments are kept for three years. The Committee votes on a candidate following discussion after the assessment day.
2.7 The Committee decides which, if any, candidate should be offered a pupillage on the basis of a majority vote. If the candidates are not of sufficient quality, then no pupillage will be offered. The Committee takes account of the views of those members of Chambers who may have met the candidates during any time they may have spent in Chambers, whom they have met at the selection day, or through another forum.
2.8 The Committee sends an offer of pupillage, or rejection letter, to each candidate as appropriate.
3. Supervision of Pupils
3.1 The Pupillage Committee will review the availability of pupil supervisors each year. Chambers encourages all eligible members to apply to become a pupil supervisor, to ensure that pupils in Chambers have the opportunity to be involved in as wide a range of work as possible. The aim of the review is to maintain the right balance of pupil supervisors for the areas of practice in Chambers. Chambers wish to reflect our development strategy. Chambers wishes our pupils to gain the required cross-section of experience.
3.2 All pupil supervisors must abide by section 4.1 of the BSB Handbook.
3.3 It is our policy that all pupil supervisors comply with section 4 of the BSB Handbook relating to eligibility and his/her duties towards his/her pupil. All pupil supervisors are registered. They have completed the required training referred to under Section 5.5 of the Handbook.
4. Training and Responsibilities
4.1 Pupils are expected to start their training on their first day in Chambers. The Chambers Administrator will deal with the general introduction to Chambers. The pupil supervisor will deal with the following:
Chambers background, services and clients;
- Organisation, Committees and key personnel;
- The responsibility for the management of pupillage (the Pupillage Committee);
- The pupils’ responsibilities and duties (as detailed in the BSB’s Handbook);
- The pupil supervisor’s duties and responsibilities (as detailed in the Handbook);
- Chambers’ management systems;
- The procedures specific to pupillage; and
- The grievance procedure.
5.1 The appointed pupil supervisor has the duty of overall supervision of a pupil during his/her pupillage. However:
(a) The pupil can also expect to work with other Members of Chambers during the first six months of pupillage. He/she will assist them with the preparation of court work, conferences and general research. Pupils also spend at least three days with the Crown Prosecution Service and a firm of defence solicitors.
(b) During the second six months’ of pupillage, he/she will conduct his/her own work (with assistance from the pupil supervisor where necessary) but also accompany his/her pupil supervisor, or others, if not doing his/her own work. Pupils may also undertake marshalling for a few days.
6. Roles and Duties of the Pupil Supervisor and Pupil
6.1 Pupil Supervisors
6.1.1. Supervisors will make themselves available at all reasonable times, for discussion with the pupil, regarding all work – related topics. They will also seek to assist with any personal issues raised which may affect the performance of the Pupil.
6.1.2. Supervisors will conduct the assessment of the pupil in accordance with the checklists set out under section 9 of the BSB Handbook.
6.1.3. The Supervisor will encourage the pupil to undertake work for other Members when the opportunity arises. Any requests to do so will be made through the Supervisor.
6.1.4. The Supervisor will include his/her pupil in discussions at all stages of his/her cases, including research, preparation and conferences.
6.1.5. If the Supervisor is away from Chambers, the pupil will be assigned to another member of Chambers.
6.2.1. Pupils must ensure that they maintain confidentiality at all times.
6.2.2. Pupils must complete a contemporaneous record of the following:
- Registration of pupillage document,
- Bar Council checklists,
- Induction records with Chambers Administrator,
- Any review forms (and ensure their supervisor completes his/her won review forms) and forward copies to the secretary of the Committee.
6.2.3. They should help maintain Chambers’ Library in terms of updating loose leaf publications.
6.2.4. They may take holidays in accordance with the agreement of their Supervisor and the Senior Clerk.
6.2.5. During the first six months of pupillage, the pupil is generally expected to work between the hours of 8.30 and 17.30. Such timings are subject to the expectations of the Supervisor.
7. Monitoring and Review of Progress
7.1 Chambers follows sections 9 to 11 and 14 of the Handbook.
7.2 Chambers tries to ensure that effective procedures are in place for the monitoring and review of the progress of the pupillage. The Supervisor is expected to monitor the work and progress of the pupil. The review process ensures that any problems or difficulties may be raised and dealt with quickly and effectively.
7.3 After one month of pupillage, the pupil and Supervisor must independently of one another, confirm to the Head of the Pupillage Committee that the pupillage is working.
7.4 The Pupil and Supervisor should meet at least once a month to discuss the progress of the pupillage. The pupil and the Supervisor will complete a review form (see Appendix A) at the following stages:
These are sent to the Secretary of the Committee. The Secretary shall circulate the review forms to the rest of the Committee.
7.5 After the review at month five, the Supervisor shall indicate to the Head of the Pupillage Committee whether or not they are prepared to sign the first six pupil off at six months as being fit to practice.
7.6 If the Committee has any concerns, the Head of the Committee will set out these concerns for the benefit of both the pupil and the Supervisor. It is the responsibility of the Secretary of the Committee to arrange the reviews.
7.7 The Committee holds a review of the pupillage after about ten months. They take into account all the review forms, a report from the Senior Clerk together with the progress and performance reports obtained by the Supervisor from, for example, solicitors and Judges, if appropriate. The Committee decides to recommend to Chambers an offer of tenancy or not.
7.8 The Supervisor ensures that the checklists have been fully completed. They sign them and provide copies to the Committee Secretary and the Bar Council. Copies of the checklists are kept for a minimum of three years. They are available for inspection on request.
7.9 In addition to the grievance procedure referred to below, the Supervisor, any Member of Chambers, or any member of the Pupillage Committee, may request a meeting of the Committee to discuss any issues arising from the pupillage. These might include, for example, the review forms, the fair distribution of work, or any other relevant matters. Chambers will strive to deal with them quickly and effectively.
8. Offer of Tenancy
8.1 The decision to offer tenancy or not must be based on striking a balance between work levels at the junior end of Chambers and our ability to accommodate another tenant.
8.2 The final decision is taken at a full meeting of Chambers at least two months before the end of the pupillage. This is in accordance with the Chambers Constitution. The pupil is notified of the decision as soon as practicable thereafter.
8.3 If the pupil is not offered a tenancy, Chambers will, wherever possible, support the pupil to find alternative pupillage, or tenancy.
9. Distribution of Work
9.1 If more than one pupil is in his/her second six months of pupillage, Chambers keeps the fair distribution of work under constant review. The Committee will ensure that the results of the reviews of the fair distribution of work are kept documented. Any action required is implemented without delay.
9.2 The Senior Clerk ensures that all pupils are offered for all available/suitable work. She monitors the distribution of work on a day-to-day basis. She provides the Committee with a report outlining the distribution of work between pupils. This details the number of appearances in court, the identity of instructing solicitors and the nature of work undertaken.
10. Complaints and Grievances
10.1 Chambers makes every effort to ensure that the pupillage is free of problems. However, we recognise that difficulties and problems may arise from time to time. Chambers has regard to section 15 of the Handbook.
10.2 In the unlikely event of day-to-day difficulties or problems, we encourage pupils to raise the matter/s with his/her Supervisor so that such matters can be dealt with informally. However, in those cases where the grievance is more serious, or where informal discussion does not lead to improvement, Chambers uses the grievance procedure set out below.
10.3 The object of this procedure is to provide any pupil who considers he/she has a grievance with an opportunity to have it examined quickly and effectively. If a grievance is deemed to exist, Chambers wants to make sure it is resolved, if possible, at the earliest practicable moment. All grievance proceedings and records will be kept strictly confidential.
10.4 This procedure establishes the appropriate steps to be followed when pursuing and dealing with a grievance.
10.5 At all stages of the procedure, the pupil has a right to be accompanied by a Member of Chambers other than their Supervisor, or another appropriate person, at any hearings. Chambers will keep a record of all meetings or hearings.
The record must be agreed by those present as a true and accurate account.
If a pupil has a grievance relating to his/her pupillage, he/she should approach his/her Supervisor in the first instance. He/she will ensure the matter is discussed with the pupil within five working days from the time the grievance is first raised.
In the event that:
(i) The pupil feels the question has not been satisfactorily resolved; or
(ii) The grievance relates to the Pupil Supervisor
he/she may raise the matter with the Head of the Pupillage Committee. Upon receipt of such a request, the Pupillage Committee will arrange to meet to hear the grievance. If the Supervisor is on the Committee, he/she shall not have a role in the grievance procedure.
It is the responsibility of the Head of the Pupillage Committee to arrange for the hearing to be held within five working days of the grievance being raised with him/her, or as soon as is reasonably practicable thereafter. There must not be any undue delay in hearing the grievance.
If the Pupil is not satisfied with the response from the Pupillage Committee, or has not received a response from it, within three working days after the hearing, he/she may request a meeting with the Head of Chambers. The Head of Chambers will then arrange to hear the grievance. The Head of Chambers’ must arrange for the hearing to be held within five working days of the grievance being raised with him/her. He/she will provide a decision as soon as possible and no later than ten working days from the grievance being heard.
The decision of the Head of Chambers is final.
11. Pupillage File
Chambers keeps a Pupillage file. Any pupil, Supervisor or Member of Chambers may consult the Pupillage File, or the Secretary to the Committee to clarify any matters concerning pupillage.
Chambers has no formal policy in relation to the recruitment of tenants. It follows the best practice recommended by the BSB. Any applications for tenancy are welcome at any time. They should take the form of a covering letter and CV. Applicants will be invited for interview with relevant members of Chambers. They should attend with any relevant documents, including any references, recommendations and financial information. Chambers will deal with correspondence and communicate any decision quickly.
There is no set time-period for taking Mini-Pupils, each application for Mini-Pupillage is judged on its own merits. Ordinarily applications for Mini-Pupillages will be accommodated depending on workload and the situation in Chambers at the time. Members of Chambers wishing to offer a Mini-Pupillage to a suitable candidate of their own volition may do so, but it is their responsibility to look after that Mini-Pupil throughout their time in Chambers. Chambers takes part in Bar Standards Board mentoring schemes to ensure that Mini-Pupils from less privileged backgrounds have an opportunity to experience Chambers.