The Bar Standards Board (BSB) is to assess the future of pupillage after the deadline for chambers to respond to a consultation on reforms passed on Sunday.
In May, the Gazette reported that alternatives to pupillage could be implemented over time as part of the BSB’s Future Bar Training (FTB) programme, which proposes changes to the training of would-be barristers. The BSB, which then began surveying chambers, said although the ‘vast majority’ of aspiring barristers will continue to go through pupillage, it expected new forms of training to emerge over time.
In a report published for its most recent board meeting, the BSB said: ‘All organisations, including all chambers and BSB entities, and other existing pupillage training organisations have been asked whether they wish to offer/continue to offer pupillage. When we have a view of the data (e.g volume of potential pupillage providers) an approach to authorisation will be developed.’
The future training proposals also cover the role that the traditional Inns of Court play in the training of barristers. The BSB was originally intending to limit the Inns’ influence but was forced to backtrack on its plans after criticism from the Bar Council, which said they ‘play a fundamental role in nurturing and developing the shared culture of the bar’. The Bar Council also told the BSB that part of the training proposals that would exempt solicitor advocates from parts of the qualification process would ’unacceptably dilute’ the bar’s standards by giving solicitors an easy route to entry.
The council warned that it would ’be attractive to solicitors who regard admission to the bar as a badge of achievement, and who will recognise that this route to that badge is fundamentally less arduous than the route barristers currently take.’
The new rules are expected to come into effect from 2019, subject to approval by the Legal Services Board.