24 March 2019

Pupillage and Work-based Learning Component

Pupillage is currently the final requirement on the route to qualification as a barrister.

Completion of pupillage fulfils the professional requirements of training for a career at the Bar. During pupillage, pupils gain practical training under the supervision of an experienced barrister. Pupillage is divided into two parts: a non-practising six months (also known as the first six) and a practising six months (also known as the second six).

Pupils must be paid no less than £12,000pa, plus reasonable travel expenses as appropriate.

How to apply for pupillage

Structure of pupillage

Training during pupillage

Mini pupillage

  Future Bar Training (FBT) - What's changing?

Pupillage will remain an essential element of training for the Bar, so all prospective barristers will continue to have to complete this component of training successfully in order to be authorised to practise.The earliest that training on a new pathway might be authorised is in early 2019 although if, as a result, any new courses become available, they are not likely to start until later than this. If and when such training becomes available that impacts on pupillage or the Work-based Learning Component we will update this webpage accordingly.In addition, subject to Legal Services Board approval, there will be further changes in relation to the rules governing pupillage as described below.

  • Whilst we expect that the vast majority of barristers will continue to obtain this component of learning via a traditional "pupillage", our new rules introduce greater flexibility with a view to encouraging a wider range of AETOs to offer this component. This "work-based learning" might, for example, be offered by employers offering training to future members of the employed Bar.   

  • Any organisation providing a pupillage can maintain the system of having pupil supervisors supervise only one pupil at a time. However, the new rules, when they come into effect in 2019, will permit supervisors at the self-employed Bar to supervise up to two pupils (one practising and one non-practising). Greater flexibility will be permitted in the structure of pupillage supervision for the employed Bar, subject to approval through the authorisation process.

  • The normal duration of pupillage (and other forms of work-based learning) will continue to be twelve months (or part time-equivalent) although the new rules do permit it to be longer - up to no more than 24 months - as long as this is authorised by the BSB.

  • The normal duration of the non-practising period of pupillage (or work-based learning) will stay the same - six months for full-time 12-month pupillages. A provisional practising certificate can be applied for after this time. An AETO may exceptionally apply for a variation to this norm as part of the authorisation process.

  • The minimum funding award for pupillage or work-based learning is to be set in line with the Living Wage Foundation's recommendations. The rate for the minimum pupillage award that will apply from 1 September 2019 will be £18,436 per annum for pupillages in London and £15,728 per annum for pupillages outside London. The minimum award will then be increased in future with effect from 1 January each year, the first such increase being in January 2020. 

  • AETOs will be required to assess pupils in line with the threshold standard and competences specified in the Professional Statement.

  • Pupils will no longer need to complete courses in Forensic Accountancy and Practice Management during pupillage or other forms of work-based learning. A new mandatory Negotiation Skills course will need to be completed during this component of training. The compulsory advocacy course during pupillage or work-based learning will remain. The requirement to complete the Forensic Accountancy Course will cease on 1 March 2019. Those already registered on the course will still have the opportunity to benefit from, and complete, the course as BPP will provide continued support until 28 February 2020. The standard access period is 12 months starting from the date you enrolled onto the programme with BPP. If your enrolment to the programme has expired, please contact BPP to discuss this matter further.

More information about changes to the rules governing pupillage is provided in the August 2018 Pupillage Handbook which is available to download on this webpage.If you would like to read more about all the FBT changes in one place please visit our Future Bar Training webpage.