1. Chambers Pupillage Policy

1.1. Number of pupils
a) Chambers policy in 2014/15 will be to offer four 12 month pupillages [“12 month pupils”]. These pupillages will commence in October 2014.

b) In addition, Chambers may recruit additional ‘working pupils’ depending on the level of work available. These pupils will have completed at least six months of pupillage and more usually twelve [“working pupils”].

1.2. Finance

In the 2014/2015 year 12 month pupils will receive an award of £16,000 in addition to their earnings.

1.3. Choice of Pupils

1.3.1. Pupillage Committee

The Chairman of the Pupillage Committee will be appointed by the Head of Chambers.

The Committee will consist of at least five members of chambers including at least one Queen’s Counsel, one pupil supervisor and one junior barrister of under five years’ call.

All members of the Pupillage Committee will be familiar with the provisions of the Equality Code of the General Council of the Bar.

1.3.2. 12 month pupils

Applications for 12 month pupillages will be invited via the Pupillage Portal system.

Applications will first be screened by members of the Pupillage Committee to decide which applicants will be invited for a first interview.

Following the first interview there will be a second interview for selected candidates before the final decision is made.

1.3.3. Working Pupils

Chambers may take on working pupils in April and October.

Before creating such pupillages a decision will be taken by the Pupillage Committee as to how many working pupils are to be recruited.

The Pupillage Committee will decide which applicants should be invited to a first interview.

Second interviews may take place if the Pupillage Committee considers it necessary.

No working pupil will be accepted into chambers unless it is via this procedure.

Working pupils will be offered pupillages of six months’ duration.

1.4. Pattern of Pupillage

12 month pupils will be allocated three pupil supervisors for four months each.

Working pupils will be allocated one pupil supervisor.

Allocation of pupil supervisors is the responsibility of the Chairman of the Pupillage Committee.

1.5. Check List

Pupil supervisors will monitor the progress of their pupils to ensure that their pupils are given the opportunity to experience the full range of training available.

Pupil supervisors are responsible for maintaining the Check List of their pupils.

Chambers uses the standard Bar Council check list.

1.6. Recruitment of Tenants

a) Chambers has no policy on how many tenants will be recruited in any given year. Tenants will be recruited on the basis of merit only.

b) All pupils in Chambers will have the opportunity of applying for tenancy towards the end of their pupillages.

The Tenancy Committee will invite applications and set a timetable for interviews.

The final decision will be taken by a vote of a full meeting of Chambers.

1.7. Pupils not taken on as Tenants

The pupil supervisors of those not taken on as tenants will use their best endeavours to assist pupils in obtaining further pupillages or tenancies elsewhere.

Working pupils and 12 month pupils will, nevertheless, be expected to leave chambers immediately at the end of their pupillages or as soon as practicable thereafter. All applicants will be informed of this specifically when interviewed.

1.8. Equal Opportunities

The members of Chambers and Clerks will not discriminate against any applicant for pupillage or any pupil on grounds of race, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy or maternity, gender reassignment, disability, religion or political persuasion.

Specifically, the members of Chambers and Clerks will ensure that no pupil will be discriminated against:

In the opportunities for training or gaining experience which are afforded to him or her.

In the benefits, facilities or services offered to him or her.

1.9. Grievance Procedure

If possible, pupils should raise any grievance with their pupil supervisors in the first instance.

If this is not possible or if it does not resolve matters they should approach the Chairman of the Pupillage Committee or, in his/her absence, any member of the Pupillage Committee.

If matters are not resolved thereafter they should approach the Head of Chambers.

2. Statement of Role and Duties of Pupil supervisors and Pupils

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2.1. The Role and Duties of Pupil supervisors

2.1.1. General

All pupil supervisors must have been approved by their Inns, their names must appear on the current register of pupil supervisors and they must have attended the appropriate briefing session provided by their Inn.

Once a pupil has been allocated to a pupil supervisor by the Chairman of the Pupillage Committee the pupil supervisor must contact her/him immediately to arrange a meeting and to discuss arrangements for the start of the pupillage period.

The pupil supervisor will go through the Chambers induction procedure and general pattern of pupillage with the pupil and ensure that she/he has copies of all the relevant documentation. This includes:

  • Bar Council and Chambers documents.
  • An outline of the structure of the pupillage and what is expected of the pupil and the kinds of tasks pupils will be expected to undertake.
  • Security, financial arrangements, library, fax, photocopying and IT facilities.
  • Dress code, hours of work, holidays, etiquette in the clerks’ room.
  • Procedure for applying for extensions of pupillage and/or tenancy.
  • The Chamber’s complaints and grievances procedure. The pupil should be told who to contact in the event of the pupil supervisor being absent from Chambers.

Efforts should be made to introduce the pupil to as many members of Chambers as possible. If practicable, the pupil should be encouraged to spend time with, and do work for, other members of Chambers.

The pupil shall be housed in the pupil supervisor’s room when in Chambers, except in circumstances where the pupil is working with another senior member of Chambers or other unavoidable circumstances.

The pupil supervisor must take an emergency contact number in case of an accident involving the pupil.

Pupil supervisors will act in accordance with the Bar Council’s Code of Conduct.

2.1.2. First Six Months

The pupil supervisor must ensure the pupil has a copy of the criminal pupillage check lists that must be completed during the non-practising portion of pupillage. The check lists must be completed by the pupil and kept under constant review by the pupil supervisor.

There are several compulsory courses that must be completed by the pupil during this part of pupillage. The pupil supervisor must ensure that the pupil attends and is given appropriate preparation time.

The pupil should accompany the pupil supervisor to court unless there are exceptional circumstances. If the pupil supervisor is involved in case preparation or one lengthy trial during the currency of the pupillage, efforts must be made to ensure the pupil attends court regularly with other members of Chambers.

Whenever possible the pupil should attend conferences with the pupil supervisor. Again, if there are no opportunities during the pupillage efforts must be made for the pupil to attend conferences with other members of Chambers.

The pupil should be given the opportunity to do work for other members of Chambers. This must always be discussed with the pupil supervisor in advance.

All work that the pupil completes should be appraised and the pupil given appropriate “feedback”. The pupil supervisor must ensure that this is done by any other members of Chambers for whom the pupil works.

The pupil will be required to attend the Chambers’ advocacy programme. Every effort will be made by the pupil supervisor to attend relevant sessions and to read the critiques prepared.

Towards the end of the first six months of pupillage the pupil should be encouraged to spend time with junior members of Chambers and observe proceedings in the magistrates’ courts. Sufficient time must be provided for this by the pupil supervisor.

The pupil supervisor must complete a pupillage assessment form for the Pupillage Committee.

2.1.3. Second Six Months

The pupil supervisor will ensure that the pupil has been given the guidelines for the practising portion of pupillage. Time should be taken to discuss:

  • The practicalities of work allocation.
  • The arrangements for contacting solicitors.
  • The completion of claim forms.
  • The method for fairly distributing briefs and other work among pupils.
  • The arrangement for the paying of clerks’ fees on earnings during the second six.
  • The pupil supervisor should ensure that the pupil has contact numbers for the Bar Council and for members of Chambers to assist with queries.
  • During the second six months of pupillage the pupil often will be out of Chambers for much of the working day. Efforts must be made by the pupil supervisor for the pupil to work for other members of Chambers whenever possible.
  • Towards the end of the pupillage the pupil supervisor will explain the application procedure for extension of pupillage or for tenancy. The restricted provisions for “squatting” should also be addressed. The pupil supervisor is expected to use every effort to assist the pupil in finding alternative Chambers.
  • Approximately one month prior to the end of pupillage the pupil supervisor must complete a pupillage assessment form for the Pupillage Committee.
  • It is the duty of the pupil supervisor to inform a pupil who has applied for a tenancy of the outcome of that application as soon as possible after the Chambers meeting.

2.2. The Role and Duties of Pupils

2.2.1. General

If the pupil supervisor has not contacted the pupil to discuss arrangements in the week prior to the start of the pupillage, the pupil must telephone the Chairman of the Pupillage Committee.

The pupil will ensure that he speaks to the pupil supervisor as soon as he makes contact.

The pupil will attend Chambers on time every day. These arrangements will be made with the pupil supervisor but typically will be between 9 a.m. and 6.30 p.m.

A contact number for the pupil supervisor, for Chambers and for the Chairman of the Pupillage Committee will be provided. The pupil will be able to contact them in the case of any query. The pupil will give an emergency contact number to the pupil supervisor as well.

The pupil should have been sent a copy of the criminal pupillage check lists. If in any doubt about which check list should be completed, the pupil must speak to the pupil supervisor at once. It is the pupil’s duty to ensure that proper records are kept of all work completed and the check list marked accordingly. Any areas of concern should be addressed with the pupil supervisor.

It is the duty of the pupil to secure attendance on compulsory courses. Appropriate arrangements will be made with the pupil supervisor.

The pupil supervisor will explain the structure and practical arrangements of the pupillage. Any concerns or queries should be raised with the pupil supervisor at first instance; thereafter with the Chairman of the Pupillage Committee or any other designated member of Chambers.

If the pupil has any complaint or grievance this should be addressed to the pupil supervisor unless that is impractical for whatever reason. The Chairman of the Pupillage Committee or another designated member of Chambers can be contacted in those circumstances.

Pupils will be appropriately dressed at all times. Arrangements for the wearing of wigs and gowns will be made with individual pupil supervisors.

No pupil will behave towards any other person in a manner which is inappropriate with regard to race, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy or maternity, gender reassignment, disability, religion or political persuasion.

2.2.2. First Six Months

Pupils must ensure that their pupil supervisor is kept informed of their whereabouts at all times during the working week. The pupil supervisor should be informed in advance of any absences or, if the absence is unexpected, as soon as is reasonably possible.

Unless there is good reason, the pupil will attend court with his pupil supervisor. If the pupil supervisor is out of London for a lengthy period, or involved in a long case preparation the pupil will attend court with other members of Chambers. This will be arranged through the pupil supervisor.

Unless it is impractical the pupil will attend all conferences with his pupil supervisor.

The pupil will discuss with his pupil supervisor any requests to work for other members of Chambers.

A pupil’s working hours will be arranged with the pupil supervisor. A pupil may be required to spend time on written work outside of the normal working hours.

Pupils will fully participate in the Chambers’ advocacy programme.

Towards the end of the first six months the pupil must spend time with junior members of Chambers or observing cases in the magistrates’ court. The pupil supervisor will ensure that this is done.

2.2.3. Second Six Months

Each pupil will have been issued with guidelines for good practice which must be observed.

Pupils must supply the clerks with their home telephone number and mobile telephone number, if applicable.

Pupils must be available to work wherever instructed. A rota will be devised by a pupil for the allocation of Saturday and holiday cover. No pupil shall leave Chambers without confirming whether they are working the next day.

Should a pupil not have received work in advance on any given day, the pupil must attend Chambers not later than 8.45 a.m. on the day in question.

Pupils are expected to conduct their practices in accordance in with the teaching and training they have received in Chambers, the Code of Conduct, the Code for Crown Prosecutors and the Chambers Manual.

During the second six months the pupil is expected to work for his pupil supervisor in addition to carrying out his own work. The pupil must ensure that the pupil supervisor is informed of work commitments or other difficulties in completing work for the pupil supervisor.

It is also expected that the pupil will work for other members of Chambers during the second six months. Any requests for work must first be discussed with the pupil supervisor.

The pupil will speak to his pupil supervisor before applying for tenancy or an extension of pupillage.

The pupil will have found alternative Chambers by the expiry of their term of pupillage or, exceptionally, as soon as practicable thereafter.

Any request for an extension of pupillage must be made in person to the Chairman of the Pupillage Committee.

At the end of pupillage, the pupil must complete a report on the effectiveness of the pupillage and provide it in strict confidence to the Chairman of the Pupillage Committee.

3. The Method of Fair Distribution of Work

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3.1. Roles of the Clerks

The Senior Clerk is ultimately responsible for the fair distribution of pupils’ work.

The day to day clerking of the pupils’ work will be supervised by the Second Junior Clerk or any other clerk nominated by the Senior Clerk.

3.2. October to April

During October to April “working pupils” will have first priority over the available work, followed by any remaining pupils who have neither been offered a tenancy nor yet found a pupillage in other Chambers [“remaining pupils”].

It shall be the duty of the clerks, as far as is practicable, to distribute the available work first among the “working pupils”, thereafter among any “remaining pupils”, subject to their discretion, which must be exercised fairly, to chose any pupil who they consider is especially suited to any particular case.

3.3. April – October

During April to October “twelve month” pupils will have first priority over the available work, then any “working pupils”, followed by any “remaining pupils”.

It shall be the duty of the clerks, as far as is practicable, to distribute the available work evenly first among the “twelve month” pupils, then among any “working pupil”, thereafter among any “remaining pupils”, subject to their discretion which must be exercised fairly, to choose any pupil who they consider is especially suited to any particular case.

3.5. The Monitoring and Review of Work Distribution

The Second Junior Clerk, or such other clerk nominated by the Senior Clerk will be responsible for keeping a record of the pupils’ work distribution.

At first instance he will be responsible for monitoring the fair distribution of the work, but ultimately that responsibility will be the duty of the Senior Clerk.

A review of the distribution of pupils’ work will be made at quarterly meetings of the Head of the Pupillage Committee, the Senior Clerk and the Second Junior Clerk.

3.6. Complaints procedure

Should any pupil wish to complain that the distribution of work is unfair, he/she should make the complaint to his/her pupil supervisor, who will take the matter up with the Senior Clerk.

If after a complaint has been made by a pupil supervisor to the Senior Clerk and the pupil supervisors and/or the pupil is dissatisfied with any response to the complaint, the pupil supervisor must take the complaint to the Chairman of the Pupillage Committee who will take the matter up with the Senior Clerk.

If the pupil supervisor is unavailable, the pupil should make the complaint to the Chairman of the Pupillage Committee who will take the matter up with the Senior Clerk.

It is the policy of Chambers that complaints about unfair distribution of work should be made by pupils in the best interests of Chambers. It should on no account be thought that the making of a complaint by a pupil will in any way be held against that pupil.

4. Pupillage Checklists and Returns to the Bar Council

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4.1. Reports and Returns

Such reports and returns to the Bar Council as are required will be made by the Pupillage Committee, particularly with regard to the operation of and recruitment under the OLPAS system, to which Chambers subscribes.

Chambers’ policy is that pupil supervisors are responsible for maintaining the checklists of their pupils.

4.2. Completed checklists

Completed checklists will be returned to the Bar Council by the Head of the Pupillage Committee together with any other returns that are required.

5. Assessment of Pupils’ Progress

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5.1. Pupils’ Assessment

The progress of pupils will be assessed in writing by report from:

  • the pupil supervisor;
  • the Chairman of the Advocacy Committee;
  • the Senior Clerk.

5.2. Contributions to pupillage recruitment review

The pupillage committee will review its recruitment procedures each October.

In relation to 12 month pupils the Committee will consider reports from:

  • members of Chambers, who are not members of the pupillage committee, involved in the first round of interviews;
  • members of the Committee, who will have been involved in both the first and second rounds of interviews;
  • successful applicants, who will be expected to provide critical analysis of the procedure.

In relation to 3rd 6 pupils the Committee will consider reports from:

  • members of the Committee;
  • successful applicants, who will be expected to provide critical analysis of the procedure.

5.3. Feedback on the effectiveness of Pupillage

The pupillage committee will review the effectiveness of the previous twelve months’ pupillages for 12 month pupils in the latter part of September each year.

The committee will consider reports from:

  • the pupil supervisor (this report may be made in conjunction with the report required in by para 5.1(a)(i));
  • the pupils themselves at the conclusion of their pupillages.

This report will be strictly confidential between the Head of the Pupillage Committee and the individual pupils. The pupil will be expected to provide a critical analysis. To maintain this confidentiality in informing the Pupillage Committee of the feedback on the effectiveness of pupillage as reported by the pupils, the Head of the Pupillage Committee will not ascribe any feedback to individual pupils.