All barristers’ chambers will have to advertise and recruit pupils at the same time, following reforms to the process announced by the Bar Standards Board (BSB).
The process has long had quirks, allowing some chambers the ability to partially operate outside the Bar Council-operated Pupillage Gateway application system and set their own timetables for applications.
In 2018/19, for example, the Gateway opened for browsing in November 2018; candidates made applications between January and February 2019, with interviews in the spring and offers made to successful candidates in May.
However, some sets had much earlier deadlines, such as XXIV Old Buildings which closed its application process in November.
It will still not be compulsory for chambers to use the Gateway to process applications, but all pupillages must be advertised on the portal – though this has not stopped some chambers ignoring this rule in the past.
The BSB’s 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”.