The Bar Standards Board (BSB) has today announced reforms to the advertisement and recruitment process for pupillages.
The reforms will require chambers and other Authorised Education and Training Organisations (AETOs) to recruit pupils in line with the Pupillage Gateway timetable in order to make pupillage recruitment fairer and more consistent. The Gateway is operated by the Bar Council and the timetable runs annually from late November to early May. This prescribes the timelines for each stage of recruiting pupils, including the publication of adverts, submission dates for applications, shortlisting, interviews and making offers. While it will not be compulsory to use the Pupillage Gateway to process applications, adherence to a single recruitment timetable will be in addition to the existing requirement to advertise all pupillages on the Gateway.
The BSB will also require written agreements between pupils and their chambers or other AETO in order to improve each party’s awareness of their obligations.
Written pupillage agreements must be used for all pupillages commencing from 1 May 2020, and compliance with the Gateway timetable will be required from 1 November 2020, both of which will be conditions of being authorised by the BSB to provide pupillage or work-based learning.
The BSBs announcement follows a period of engagement with the profession and other key stakeholders during 2019 about the proposals, which along with other recent changes introduced by the regulator, aim to make training for the Bar fairer and more accessible.
Commenting on the reforms, BSB Director of Strategy and Policy, Ewen MacLeod, said: “The introduction of a single timetable will make pupillage recruitment fairer and more consistent, while written pupillage agreements will enhance pupils’ and chambers’ understanding of their obligations. The decision to introduce these measures reaffirms the BSB’s commitment to make Bar training more accessible, affordable and flexible while sustaining high standards. We are committed to working closely with the profession and the Bar Council to implement these reforms”.
You can read the BSB’s full decision document on the BSB website.