The bar regulator has delayed the introduction of compulsory written pupillage agreements which could tackle the ‘abusive’ treatment of pupils.

In May the Bar Standards Board proposed that written agreements should be drawn up between chambers and pupils to help both parties ‘understand their obligations’.

The suggestion was embraced by the Bar Council, which said written contracts would help to counter the ‘truly shocking’ and ‘abusive’ treatment of some pupils. It said that some instances of behaviour towards pupils ‘indicate a complete failure on the part of the authorised education and training organisation to appreciate the nature of pupillage and their responsibilities towards their pupils’. 

Mandatory written agreements were due to be implemented in November. However the regulator has announced that more time is needed, stating: 'We proposed that these requirements would be introduced as conditions of [authorised educator] authorisation in November 2019, but we have now decided that, if these proposals are adopted, more time would be needed for implementation. We will announce the outcome of the engagement programme and any dates by which implementation would be required in due course.’

The BSB has also delayed the introduction of a common pupillage timetable designed to promote diversity in the profession.