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25 Bedford Row – 12 Months – October 2024
About AETO and Structure of Pupillage
At 25 Bedford Row, we pride ourselves on maintaining our reputation as a top criminal defence set and on our ability to stay frontrunners in the legal industry. We provide a client-focused service throughout our involvement of some of the very highest profile cases. Our priority is to protect our clients, whether they are individuals, organisations or businesses of any size or industry. With expert representation and strategic advice from start to finish, our barristers will always strive for the best possible outcome, no matter how complex the case.
Chambers offer up to three 12-month pupillages each year, terminable at the end of the twelve months by either Chambers or the pupil, but this policy is subject to review each year by the Pupillage Committee in consultation with Chambers’ Management Committee. At the expiration of the 12-month period, pupils are entitled to apply for a further 6 months in chambers (“Probationary Tenancy”).
The aim of Chambers is to recruit pupils who we consider to have the ability, commitment and aptitude to succeed at the criminal bar and in our chambers. We recruit in the hope that successful candidates will progress to the stage where, at the expiration of pupillage, they meet the standard of excellence we consider necessary and appropriate to become a tenant in chambers.
We look for applicants with proven academic ability and who have demonstrated an interest and a commitment to criminal defence work.
Chambers views prompt, regular and constructive assessment of pupillage not only as good practice but also as vital. On an informal basis, pupils are encouraged to continually monitor their progress by informal discussions with their Pupil Supervisors. In addition the Pupillage Committee meets all of the pupils on a regular basis so that any problems or complaints can be talked over and dealt with. On a formal basis, and in addition to the Bar Standards Board checklists, Chambers operates an in-house training and assessment procedure.
For the first six months, a pupil will ordinarily spend each working day with their supervisor. This means that they will be expected to meet with their supervisor to each day and to help them with their cases. This provides the pupil with the opportunity to engage in all aspects of being a criminal defence barrister. Pupils will be expected to assist in all aspects of case preparation and management and to undertake written work at the direction of the supervisor.
This will include:
- Attending court hearings;
- Attending case conferences/site visits;
- Reading case papers;
- Taking written notes at hearings and during conferences;
- Carrying out legal research online and in the Inn’s libraries;
- Preparing schedules of evidence;
- Drafting advices and other documents;
- Preparing bundles for court hearings.
On some dates the supervisor will not be in court for all or some of the day. Such days provide an opportunity for the pupil to carry work that is needed by the supervisor or for another member of chambers. If the Supervisor is not in court then a pupil should ordinarily attend chambers and work from there.
Pupils are also expected to do written work/research for other members of chambers.
The important and significant difference is that for the second six months of pupillage, pupils will be able to practice in court. To do this the pupil will need to have successfully completed their first six months in chambers.
During their second six, pupils will be allocated to a (different) Pupil Supervisor for the duration of the second six-month period. However, pupils will no longer be expected to ‘shadow’ their supervisor at court on a daily basis and instead will be available to attend court in their own right. This means that they will be available to cover cases for other members of chambers and to be instructed in their own name.
Financial and Other Support Available
For the first six months, pupils are not entitled to practice and so do not receive any income from appearing in court. Chambers therefore provides funding to cover living and other expenses for this period. For the year 2023/24 the award will be for £20,000.
During the second six months, it is hoped that pupils will be in court most weekdays and therefore will be earning their own income. However, to ensure each pupil receives an appropriate income, for this period pupils will receive a guaranteed income of £20,000. This means that for each month, the pupil will receive a base level of income of £3,333.33.
Equality Diversity and Inclusion
We operate an equal opportunities policy in all aspects of pupillage. That means it applies to the selection process, for the duration of pupillage and in considering applications for tenancy.
We strive to give pupils a comprehensive programme of training and education and to equip them for the many challenges that the profession involves. Pupillage can be a very demanding experience and it is imperative that pupils are treated equally and with respect at all times, and are not subject to discrimination, bullying or harassment.
We adopt and adhere to the principles and policies set out in BSB handbook, the BSB Bar Qualification Manual and the BSB Equality and Diversity Objectives and Strategy document.
How to Apply
Aspiring barristers are invited to apply to chambers between Wednesday 4 January 2023 and Wednesday 8 February 2023 using the Pupillage Gateway application system to search for the relevant Pupillage Vacancy and selecting ‘Apply for this pupillage’.
In addition to the standardised Bar Council questionnaire, candidates will be asked to respond to the following questions from Chambers:
- Why do you want to be a criminal barrister? (2500 character limit)
- 25 Bedford Row is known as a criminal defence set. Was that a factor in your decision to apply? If so, why? (2500 character limit)
- List five attributes in order of importance for a successful criminal barrister, and explain the reasons for your answer. (2500 character limit)
- Do you agree that terms of whole life imprisonment should never be imposed as there should always be the prospect of release if the offender has been rehabilitated? (2500 character limit)
- Do you agree that a jury should be unanimous before a defendant can be convicted (as in the USA) and we should not have majority verdicts? (2500 character limit)