How we select our pupils and what you need to consider.
There are 4 stages:
At each stage you are assessed in the manner and according to the criteria set out below.
You will be notified accordingly whether you have progressed to the next stage. Please note you have to pass each stage to progress to the next.
Throughout chambers will contact you via email and in exceptional circumstances via telephone.
Applications are considered and marked by individual members of the pupillage committee.
The committee members are all practicing barristers and members of Chambers.
The applications are marked against the marking scheme having been anonymised.
The pupillage committee will then moderate the individual decisions as necessary.
The top candidates judged by the following marking scheme will then be invited to proceed to the Advocacy stage.
We require an upper second class honours degree (2i), irrespective of the subject or the educational establishment you studied at. Points will be awarded for a first class honours degree, other academic awards, scholarships or prizes.
In wholly exceptional circumstances a 2ii honours degree may suffice, but only where verifiable circumstances exist to explain why an expected 2i honours degree was not achieved.
Bar Training Course Results
Most of our applicants will have applied before they know their Bar Training Course results, but we are looking for candidates who have or are expected to pass the course with a “Very Competent” grading or higher (or equivalent).
Applicants who have completed the Bar Training Course should supply us with their final overall grade and grades for individual subjects.
We expect from applicants currently on the Bar Training Course the grades that they have achieved so far.
Students of the Bar Training Course are obliged to undertake advocacy exercises and we take such results into account.
We are looking for applicants that have demonstrated a real desire to practise their communication skills. This may be demonstrated, for example, by extra-curricular activities at university or other forums such as mooting, debates, acting or other forms of public speaking.
Tell us what you have done, with what measure of success and what it taught you about communicating effectively and persuasively.
Very few members of these Chambers have family links with the legal profession and none are looked for.
We also bear in mind that it is not as easy as it was to obtain legal-related part-time work as a student; points will be awarded for such work, but such experience is not a requirement. Nevertheless, we do look for candidates that have made some kind of commitment to gaining relevant experience of life at the Bar such as mini-pupillages and/or some form of judicial marshalling.
We expect you to have done your homework about us.
Work experience linked to the criminal law will also be taken into account. Points will also be awarded for active participation with FRU, CAB or other advisory services in the community. Again, tell us what your experiences have taught you.
We are a purely criminal set. Whether prosecuting or defending we are normally dealing with people whose experience of life and outlook is very different to our own; most of our pupillage applicants have led a relatively sheltered and/or cultured life in comparison.
Tell us about your own background and your experience of life in so far as it may make you a better advocate for it.
However much an advocate may have the “gift of the gab”, preparation for a case and the ability to persuade by written argument can count for a lot.
The way in which you present yourself in your application form, your ability to present the issues simply but persuasively, will count for a significant number of the points.
Reasons for Practice
We are interested to know why you want to practice criminal law in these Chambers on the Midlands Circuit.
Other Exceptional Features
There will always be the possibility of some feature specific to a particular applicant that is not covered by the generality of this marking scheme.
The pupillage committee may, in its discretion, award a proportionate number of additional points to reflect such a matter; however, this discretion will only be exercised in exceptional circumstances.
This is a short criminal advocacy exercise, such as a plea in mitigation, conducted in front of members of the pupillage committee.
It will be marked on the following criteria:
- Are you able to identify the essential issues?
- Can you communicate those issues clearly, fluently and persuasively?
- How you deal, on the spot or afterwards, with any points arising.
- Your overall presentation.
From this round a short-list will be compiled of the candidates scoring highest marks.
The top candidates will then be invited to proceed to interview stage.
This will a formal interview before a panel and will take place in Chambers.
The interview panel will normally comprise members of Chambers drawn from different levels of experience, gender and race.
The interview will last approximately twenty minutes.
The interview will include an ethical question. No notice of the question will be given. There is not necessarily a right or wrong answer. The panel are interested in the candidate’s ability to think through the problem in an ethical way and articulate his or her thought process clearly.
A formal offer of pupillage will be made to the successful candidate in line with the Pupillage Gateway timetable.
Exceptionally, if a consensus cannot be achieved on a particular candidate, a mini-pupillage will be arranged for each of the relevant candidates with the proposed pupil supervisor; the pupil supervisor will report back to the pupillage committee for a final decision to be taken.
The successful candidates must be available to start pupillage as advertised.
The details of the pupillage will be set out in the formal offer. Some details such as the financial award are set out in the advertisement for the pupillage as published on the Pupillage Gateway website.
Any offer of a pupillage is conditional upon the candidate providing evidence that he or she has passed the BTC to the required standard and the receipt of suitable references.
Candidates are expected to inform Chambers promptly if this condition has not been met.