A High Court action has been launched to establish whether the national minimum wage applies to trainee barristers during their pupillage.
Judges have been asked to clarify whether Rebecca Edmonds, a pupil at 23
Essex Street whose first six months of pupillage was unpaid, is entitled to
the minimum wage.
In 1997-1998 nearly 200 pupillages out of a total of 700 were unfunded.
The case has been brought under procedures designed to clarify the law,
introduced in the Woolf reforms, with the full co-operation of Edmonds'
chambers and the Bar Council.
Head of chambers Michael Lawson QC says: “There are severe implications
whichever way. This is such an important issue that I'm quite prepared to
be sued over it.”
Robin Allen QC of Cloisters is acting for Edmonds and James Goudie QC of
11 King's Bench Walk for 23 Essex Street, both on a pro bono basis.