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'Ancient' is the correct description. The requirement to purchase a wig, gown, bands, detachable collars, collar studs is a considerable expense on top of the cost of the BPTC (and the £150 BCAT is a not an inconsiderable expense), and the requirement to be a 'fit and proper person' implies not only the need for resources, but relevant social connections. Ergo, reading for and qualifying for the Bar, then obtaining a pupillage and tenancy is (aside from the academic requirements) confirmation that the English Bar is still an option which favours the upper-middle classes. The London bias of the profession, and the requirement to become a member of an Inn and to meet the dining requirements, is, frankly, manifestly absurd. It adds credence to arguments in favour of fusion, and an employed (i.e. not self-employed) profession, the end of the 'Chambers' structure and the adoption of the US model. It is somewhat ironic that there would be many students, who, dressing in fig for dining at the Inn, would usually be found on a weekday supping with their fingers care of 'the Colonel' or under the golden arches on Strand or Fleet Street. It is difficult to somehow view the status of being Counsel as unique. It makes for good television for the lay public and tourists, but for those without private means, working in either branches of the profession (assuming one is fortunate enough to qualify in the first place) means poverty.

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