Pupillage

We aim to give our pupils the best possible grounding for their careers

As a pupil with us, you’ll have the opportunity to work on high-profile cases with some of the leading practitioners in their fields. Working with your supervisor and other Members of Chambers, you’ll experience a variety of work across the range of our expertise.

You’ll also be given the freedom to pursue work which interests you, and encouraged to start developing your own practice. We aim to give our pupils the best possible grounding for their careers.

You’ll be assigned to one pupil supervisor for each four-month period, though you should expect to work for other Members of Chambers during the course of the year. During your first six months, you’ll be in chambers and in court, working closely with your pupil supervisors. You’ll also take part in our Pupillage Training Course.

During your second six months, you’ll practise in the Magistrates’ and Crown Courts. You can also expect to gain experience appearing alone in the County Courts, the Divisional Court and the Immigration Tribunal.

We expect our pupils to become involved in the spectrum of work undertaken in chambers. In previous years this has included:

  • A secondment to St. Helena, to assist in the child abuse inquiry conducted by Sasha Wass QC.
  • Assisting Treasury Counsel at the Old Bailey in the Stephen Lawrence murder trial.
  • A secondment to a leading City firm to assist in the criminal law aspect of a proposed merger.
  • Assisting government departments on major litigation, including the Hillsborough Inquests, the Tchenguiz claim against the SFO, and the Mau Mau litigation.
  • Assisting a QC with an advice on charge concerning breaches of the Coronavirus Regulations and the compatibility with Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • Drafting an advice for a QC on the interpretation and scope of terrorism offences, with a focus on privacy rights.
  • Providing research for Treasury Counsel in the Old Bailey on points of law in live cases, including on whole life orders, alternative verdicts, coercive control and joint enterprise.
  • Watching the Manchester Arena Inquiry in which three members of chambers were representing a number of the victims’ families.
  • Shadowing a member of chambers sitting as a Deputy District Judge in City of London Magistrates’ Court as he presided over a number of Extinction Rebellion trials.
  • Shadowing a junior members of chambers prosecuting an extradition list in Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
  • Shadowing junior members of chambers prosecuting criminal trials in the magistrates’ court.
  • Editing material for publication, including in practitioner texts and academic journals, concerning extradition arrangements after Brexit.
  • Observing Treasury Counsel prosecuting a murder trial in the Old Bailey involving multiple defendants.
  • Researching prison conditions for a member of chambers defending an individual whose extradition was sought by the United States.
  • Providing research for a member of chambers concerning the terrorist financing offences and comparing how the provisions differ in the three jurisdictions in the United Kingdom.
  • Drafting a skeleton argument for an extradition appeal in which a member of chambers was representing the requesting judicial authority.
  • Pro bono work for organisations such as Liberty and Amnesty International.

We make our tenancy decisions in early autumn, following a structured tenancy assessment. We hope and expect that all of our pupils will be offered tenancy with us.

During the first six months of your pupillage, you’ll take part in our weekly in-house training programme. In addition to sessions on the law, advocacy, and ethics, the programme includes a mock trial in front of a District Judge, and a mock trial at the Old Bailey in front of a resident judge. The programme is run by Members of Chambers and has been consistently praised by the Bar Council.

For 2022/2023 our pupillage award will be £50,000

Following a review, our pupillage funding for 2022/2023 will be £50,000, supplemented by second six earnings.

The £50,000 consists of a grant of £25,000 in the first six, plus guaranteed minimum income of £25,000 in the second six.

The system of guaranteed minimum income means that, as a pupil, you will keep what you earn, but if your income falls below a certain level in any month, chambers will make up the shortfall.

Usually, our pupils earn in excess of the guaranteed minimum. Using an average over recent years, our pupils have earned around £8,000 over the £20,000 threshold and in some cases they have earned substantially more.

In addition to the grant and guaranteed earnings, we will fund your professional courses during pupillage, we will pay your travel expenses outside of the M25, and give you a book grant (enough to purchase a copy of Blackstone’s or Archbold). In recent years, pupils have received a free copy of Blackstone’s, and have access to Archbold and various other essential resources via our online Westlaw subscription.

We can also make some of your funding available during the BPTC year, something we are always happy to discuss.

We aim to offer the most generous pupillage funding arrangement at the criminal bar. This reflects both our commitment to attracting pupils from the widest possible range of backgrounds and our optimism about the future of criminal practice in chambers.

You will be assigned a mentor from among the junior members of Chambers for the duration of your pupillage year. Your mentor will have undergone pupillage with us themselves in recent years and will be able to offer you support and advice. He or she can be an additional port of call if you experience problems, ill-health or stress, and will be well placed to answer any questions you may have about Chambers, the Bar and being on your feet.

In addition, pupils benefit from the Wellbeing Programme which is offered to all of our members. This comprises: a 24/7 helpline, staffed by people unconnected to Chambers, which offers confidential advice and counselling; an online portal and app which provides useful wellbeing information and access to online counselling; and a referral system to an Occupational Therapist.