Unfair support for BVC failures

The article "Cash crisis and poor prospects for young Bar" (The Lawyer, October 20) usefully highlighted the problems faced by students wishing to be called to the Bar.

Peter Goldsmith QC's recommendation for pupillage to be secured before the Bar Vocational Course (BVC) is useful, but it should be remembered that the BVC has a reasonably high failure rate.

Of greater concern is that students who fail the BVC are permitted to continue in pupillage. Passing the BVC is supposed to certify a student ready for pupillage, so presumably failing it means you are not. Yet the Bar Council allows those students to remain in pupillage while resitting the examinations.

It is very difficult for those students who pass the BVC and yet cannot secure pupillage, to watch those that have failed begin practice when they are theoretically not fit to do so.

This is something the Bar Council should address when it examines the whole area of pupillages.

Alisdair Gillespie, Durham University