Rival sets reignite Pach row

The row between rival chambers over the future of the pupil selection system has blown up again.

The Lawyer reported on 25 October that Blackstone Chambers and 4-5 Gray's Inn Square were in dispute over an alleged unfair competitive advantage relating to the Pupillage Application Clearing House (Pach) scheme.

Michael Beloff QC, joint head of chambers at 4-5 Gray's Inn, protests that sets operating outside Pach can compel students to accept early offers thereby limiting their choice.

The problem which continues to threaten the entire Pach system has reignited because a pupil who had originally accepted an early offer from Blackstone has now broken that agreement in order to go to 4-5 Gray's Inn.

Beloff says students are left with only three options – to accept the early offer and stick with it, accept and then break the agreement, or take a gamble and wait for a later offer from a Pach member.

A specially convened meeting will be held on 11 December to decide whether to make fundamental changes to the Pach scheme. If changes are not made it is understood that some of the leading commercial chambers will pull out of the scheme.