Bar students are threatening to set up an alternative pupillage clearing scheme following a wave of discontent over the Bar Council's own system.

The students' anger stems from the fact that 1,400 of them have been left stranded in the first round of the Bar Council's Pach scheme after all the available 865 pupillages were offered to just 365 students.

The second round of the system is supposed to tackle this imbalance, but the students at the Inns of Court School of Law say the scheme has serious administrative flaws and the application forms are badly put together.

They voted last week to boycott the second round and compile their own list of vacancies, after they failed to come to an agreement to speed up the process with the Bar Council last week.

Student representative Juliette Quashie said: “Students are not prepared to wait any longer. Our fear is that hundreds of students will be phoning up the chambers themselves in pursuit of the remaining places. In order to prevent chaos we are proposing to organise an official alternative system.”

Nigel Bastin, head of the Bar's education unit, said: “If chambers don't agree to the students' action they are within their rights to abandon the pupillages. We would advise students to stick with Pach. The only problem is the shortage of pupillages for applicants.”