What Will You Do During Pupillage?

What Will You Do During Pupillage?

Pupillage is the professional and final stage of bar training that all aspiring barristers in England and Wales are required to complete following successful completion of the Barrister Training Course (BTC). Pupillage is one-year practical apprenticeship divided into two stages: Pupillage 1 and Pupillage 2.

Pupillage 1
Also known as the "non-practising" or "first six" pupillage, this stage lasts for six months. During Pupillage 1, aspiring barristers work under the supervision and guidance of an experienced barrister known as the pupil supervisor. The primary focus of Pupillage 1 is on learning and observation, allowing pupils to gain exposure to the practical aspects of barrister's work.

During this stage, pupils typically assist their supervisor with legal research, drafting documents, attending court hearings, and observing advocacy. They have the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of the day-to-day activities and challenges faced by barristers. Pupils also have the chance to interact with clients, witnesses, and other legal professionals under the guidance of their supervisor.

Pupillage 2
Also referred to as the "practising" or "second six" pupillage, this stage also lasts for six months. Pupillage 2 builds upon the foundation established during Pupillage 1 and allows pupils to develop their advocacy skills by taking on their own cases and appearing in court. Pupils will need to apply to the Bar Standards Board (BSB) for a provisional practising certificate which authorises them to exercise a right of audience before every court in relation to all proceedings. During this stage, they gain practical experience by representing clients in various legal proceedings, including hearings, trials, and appeals.

During Pupillage 2, pupils are no longer limited to observing and assisting their supervisor but are actively involved in their own caseload under their supervisor's supervision. They are expected to handle legal matters independently, prepare arguments, cross-examine witnesses, and present their cases before the courts.

Tenancy
At the end of Pupillage 2, pupils can apply to the BSB for a full practising certificate. They may be offered tenancy (i.e. permanent employment) within a barristers' chambers, subject to their performance during the pupillage period. Tenancy offers the opportunity to practise as a fully qualified barrister and take on a wide range of cases independently. Once they accept the offer, they are the tenants of the chamber, sharing the costs of administrative services and other overheads.

Pupillage serves as a crucial period of practical training for aspiring barristers, allowing them to apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the BTC in real-world legal practice. It provides valuable hands-on experience, mentorship, and the opportunity to develop their advocacy skills before embarking on their career as a barrister.
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