Pupils to get living wage


Pupil barristers must be paid a living wage, the Bar Standards Board (BSB) announced among a raft of other training reforms.

The regulator said that the minimum amount paid to those undertaking pupillage will be set in line with the wages recommended by the Living Wage Foundation, and will increase annually in line with that figure.

That will mean that the minimum wage of £12,000 currently paid, will rise by 43% to £17,212 in London and £14,765 outside the Capital.

In a Policy Statement, the BSB announced that would-be barristers will still have to complete a 12-month pupillage, but changes will be made to the teaching and assessment of the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).

BPTC providers will be given greater flexibility in the way they deliver the course and the class sizes. The civil litigation exam will be assessed in two papers – a closed book civil litigation and evidence exam and an open book civil dispute resolution exam.

Professional ethics will be tested in two open-book exams, the first set and marked by the law schools during the BPTC and the second taken during pupillage and conducted by the BSB.

The current grade boundaries ‘Very Competent’ and ‘Outstanding’ will be scrapped and pupils will no longer have to complete the Forensic Accountancy and Practice Management course during pupillage.

BSB director of strategy and policy, Ewen MacLeod, said: ‘Our Future Bar Training programme has been a comprehensive review of all aspects of the training and qualification process for barristers.’

He said that the changes, which will come into effect in 2019, were an ‘important milestone’ in its reform programme.

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