Following calls from students and chambers, the Bar Council will be moving the Pupillage Gateway timetable starting in January 2017.

The decision will mean that pupillage applicants know the outcome of their applications before they commit to the expensive Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) and pupillage interviews will no longer risk clashes with exams.

Prior to making the decision, the Bar Council ran a consultation about the move. There were 126 responses to the consultation (45 were from chambers). The majority of chambers supported the move and the overwhelming response from students was positive.

Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC, Chairman of the Bar, said: "This is a common-sense decision by the Bar and students. Given the high costs associated with the BPTC, the new Pupillage Gateway timetable, which will run from January to April as of 2017, means that at least students applying through the Gateway will know if they have pupillage before committing to the BPTC.

"However, this was never going to be about simply changing the date of Gateway. The Bar Council has an ongoing and crucial role to play in supporting students and pupillage providers. Over the next year we will be raising awareness about mini-pupillages, providing support via the Bar Council's Pupillage Fair and continuing to equip students with the knowledge they need before they commit to the BPTC."

While most respondents to the consultation were in favour of the Gateway timetable change, the Bar Council acknowledged that it would work with those who saw some challenges with the planned new timetable.

Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC said: "We intend to learn from the experience of those chambers who are already recruiting earlier in the year and will work with our members to make the move work for them."


Notes to editors

  1. The Pupillage Gateway facilitates a fair, transparent and accessible pupillage application process, to help ensure that the profession is open to all with the talent to succeed.

  2. The Pupillage Gateway is the method through which barristers' chambers are able to advertise and recruit pupils. The Gateway timetable currently runs from the end of April, which is the closing date for pupillage applications, to August when acceptance of offers takes place. The result is that, for example, an undergraduate law student can apply in April of their third year at university for a pupillage beginning in the September or October of the following year. 

  3. The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes: 
  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services
  • Fair access to justice for all
  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and
  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board.