Pupillage

Your Pupillage at Becket Chambers

an introduction

Becket Chambers is committed to providing opportunities to the most talented pupil candidates regardless of background or any protected characteristic.

Who are we? 

Since our foundation in 1993, Becket Chambers has firmly established its reputation as a vibrant, sociable common-law set, operating across a wide range of practice areas in Kent, Sussex and the South East.

We specialise in Family and Civil law. We cover all aspects of family law, including public and private law children’s cases, injunctions, parental removal and abduction, divorce, and financial remedies whilst key areas within civil law include contract disputes, property matters, landlord and tenant and personal injury.

Our aim is to provide an unsurpassed service to our clients, whether via solicitors or using Direct Access. Our clients choose Becket Chambers not only for our unrivalled specialist knowledge across our practice areas, but also for our approachability and desire to enable all our clients to access the high quality legal advice and advocacy that they need, whatever their situation.

We offer an appealing combination of high-quality work and good quality of life whilst providing the opportunity to live and work in attractive areas of Kent or Sussex.

“Having grown up in Kent, Becket Chambers was a natural choice for me when applying for pupillage. However, when undertaking research through the pupillage application process and subsequent year-long pupillage itself, I was struck by the difference between the Chambers I had experienced in London and Becket Chambers.

Throughout my second six with Becket Chambers, I was given the opportunity to be on my feet in Court the majority of the time and on the rare days I was not in Court myself, the other members of Chambers were available to shadow. I quickly discovered that members of Becket Chambers were prepared to go above and beyond to ensure that pupillage was the learning experience it should be.” 

Sophie Gray – a Member of Chambers

Information about a Becket Chambers Pupillage

Oversight

You will receive a well-supported, challenging and broad pupillage experience at Becket Chambers. We have a positive and proactive recruitment strategy which aims to provide all of our Pupils with expert and practical training to fully prepare them for their role as a qualified barrister.  Ultimately, it is the intention of Chambers to offer pupillages with the clear potential for a tenancy to be awarded at the end of the pupillage.

To achieve this strategy, we believe that the best way is to provide each pupil with a wide range of Chambers’ work i.e. civil and the 3 core family practice areas.  We also aim to involve our Pupils in Chambers everyday life, thus illustrating what is expected of a Becket Chambers barrister in day-to-day practice.

“Pupillage with Becket Chambers was a fantastic experience despite the challenges posed by Covid 19 to chambers across the country. Alongside gaining varied drafting experience, I observed hearings across Chamber’s practice areas, shadowing members in person and remotely during my first six. Throughout my second six, I was supported by all members of Chambers when tackling the expected (and unexpected) challenges of being on my feet during the pandemic. I feel very lucky to have been part of a set where everyone was approachable and willing to offer advice during what was an exceptionally difficult year to complete pupillage.”             

Allen Worwood – a Member of Chambers

Number of Pupils per Year

The current policy of Becket Chambers is to offer at least one twelve-month funded pupillage per year.  The policy is reviewed annually by Members of Chambers at the Annual Chambers meeting.  Each pupillage will normally commence at the beginning of October in each calendar year.

Who Should Apply

We are keen on hearing from candidates with an interest in Family and Civil Law as we are looking to expand these teams to take advantage of the excess work we are being offered in these areas. Pupils will initially be expected to undertake work in all areas of law, in which Chambers operates. Members of Chambers can either maintain a general common law practice or specialise in a specific area of law.

We look for pupils with a high level of motivation, intellectual ability and professional compatibility with Chambers, who demonstrate a commitment to the Bar.

We employ a vigorous selection regime, as we intend to offer pupillages with a view to tenancy, and require a minimum 2:1 degree in Law or a relevant discipline. We also expect applicants to be a member of one of the Inns of Court before pupillage begins.

We positively encourage applications from groups who are currently under-represented in Chambers such as women, those from ethnic minorities and persons with a disability. We have no preference for an undergraduate law degree over the one-year conversion course. We look for the best and the brightest candidates whatever their background.

Chambers Recruitment (and Selection) Policy and Process

Chambers is a member of the Bar Council Pupillage Gateway Scheme (‘the PG Scheme’) and it is intended that, save for when not practical, all pupillage applications shall be dealt with in accordance with the PG Scheme rules. All applications must be made through the Pupillage Gateway Website (www.pupillagegateway.com) and in accordance with its timetable unless otherwise agreed.

The Head of Pupillage, as appointed by the Chambers Management Committee, is responsible for the recruitment process and will be supported by a Pupillage Selection Panel (all trained Pupil Supervisors).  Underpinning the recruitment and selection process is the more detailed Becket Chambers ‘Pupillage Recruitment – Policy & Procedures 2021’ document – which can be accessed here.

Pupillage Application

When a pupillage is advertised, you should apply using the following link to the Pupillage Portal (www.pupillagegateway.com) within the dates specified on the Portal.

Chambers operates a three stage assessment process:

Stage 1:  Shortlisting of Candidates –  This first stage is the consideration of the application forms received by Chambers via the Pupillage Gateway.  A shortlist of up to 15 candidates will be selected from all submitted applications.

Stage 2:  First Interview –  If selected, in your first interview, you will meet with a panel of interviewing barristers either in Canterbury or online. The first interview is (comparatively) informal, and will be your opportunity to tell the panel about yourself, ask and answer any questions that may come up, and demonstrate that you are a suitable person to join our very successful set.

Stage 3:  Second Interview – If successful at first interview, you will then be invited to return to Canterbury for a second round interview (online if required by Government Guidance). This second interview involves a practical exercise which enables you to showcase your advocacy ability in a mock hearing. You will be given papers to review beforehand, and the hearing will be set up so as to be as realistic as possible. Although the case itself will be fictional, it will be based on real scenarios which our barristers have experienced in court. Following the practical exercise, a further interview will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of law and current events, and discuss your application with us.

At each stage in the selection process, our recruitment panel of experienced pupil supervisors  will use a pre-determined scoring matrix to select the candidates to go through to the next round.

The successful candidate will be selected from the second interview and offered pupillage at Becket Chambers.

Unsuccessful candidates in this process will be provided with feedback, if requested.

The Pupillage Structure

The aim is for a pupil to gain experience in civil and our 3 core family practice areas.

The pupil will be allocated a pupil supervisor who will monitor the progress of the pupil to ensure that s/he is given the opportunity to experience a high level and range of training

All pupils will be assessed in accordance with the threshold and competencies in the BSB Professional Statement for Barristers 2016 on a monthly basis by their pupil supervisor and quarterly by both the head of pupillage and the pupil supervisor.

Pupillage at Becket Chambers is practical and rewarding. During your first six, you will shadow our experienced barristers in all areas of law, gaining an understanding of their daily professional lives.  Our pupils particularly benefit from extensive time spent attending court, with their pupil supervisor and other members of Chambers, from the outset of their pupillage. You will have the opportunity to attend conferences and hearings in Kent and Sussex, operating from our main chambers in Canterbury, as well as from our Brighton Annex.

During your second six, you will begin to take on your own cases, supervised and supported by your pupil supervisor, with regular feedback on your work.

You will also have the opportunity to get to know and to work closely with our Clerking Team whilst starting to learn about how to build a successful practice.

You will be expected to play an active part in Chambers life, which includes attending Chambers events, which may be seminars, client meetings, and any other events at our premises. As a pupil, you will also be expected to write a number of articles and case studies throughout your pupillage, which will be published on our website. This will help you to build your profile in readiness for developing your own practice as a tenant.

“My first six was marked by the start of the Coronavirus pandemic.  Becket Chambers were very quick to ensure that the phones and video cameras of members were open to me to ensure I could join as many remote hearings as possible.  My supervisor immersed me in the preparation, paperwork and drafting skills that I now need and use daily.  As the courts started to operate more in person hearings again, I was fortunate to be taken under the wing of a local District Judge for an extended period of marshalling which was instrumental in allowing me to see some of the case types I had missed due to the restrictions.  Second six was busy and varied but made much easier because of the care and skill members of chambers, members of the judiciary and my supervisor had afforded me during those first six months.”                                                                                                                                         

Christian Fox

Pupillage Funding

Our pupillage award is always fully funded in accordance with BSB funding requirements and we call that your guaranteed basic earnings. We will always pay the BSB minimum pupillage award for the year of your pupillage on an equal monthly basis.  However, in the Second 6 if you receive over and above your guaranteed basic earnings this will be due and payable (in accordance with the terms of your Pupillage Written Agreement (see below). For the avoidance of doubt, at no stage will you receive less than your guaranteed basic earnings during your practising period.

There is, therefore, scope for significant earnings rivalling many London sets. No pupil at Becket Chambers has ever failed to earn significantly more than the BSB minimum pupillage award. In recent years pupils have earned in their second six (in addition to the award for the first six) between £22,000 and £51,000. If offered a tenancy, earnings are expected to increase further still.

In addition, you will be reimbursed for any reasonable amounts paid towards travel and training courses – as set more clearly within the Pupillage Written Agreement.

Pupillage Written Agreement

Pupils will be provided with a written Pupillage Agreement, complying with current BSB requirements, before starting pupillage.  This will set out the duties of Chambers as the AETO,  duties of the pupil and details of the pupillage amplified by the ‘Pupillage – Expectations, Roles & Responsibilities of Pupils’ document referred to above.

Applications for a Tenancy in Chambers

There is no guarantee of a tenancy in Chambers at the end of your pupillage but, subject to your performance throughout your pupillage, Chambers has an expectation that it will both be in a position to offer a tenancy to you and that you will make an application for a tenancy with Chambers.

Equal Opportunities Statement

Becket Chambers is committed to creating a diverse workspace. All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment without regard to race, colour, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status. We encourage and welcome applications from women, Black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals, neurodiverse and disabled people and those who are LGBT+, as well as candidates from other underrepresented groups.

We encourage candidates for pupillage to give us a full picture of any mitigating circumstances, including neurodiversity and late diagnosis neurodivergence if applicable. We will make reasonable adjustments to enable disabled or neurodiverse candidates (including where a mental health issue is classified as a disability) to demonstrate their suitability for the position.

Articles on Pupillage

Please do look at the articles written by our previous Pupils about their experiences within their pupillages:

Advocacy training 101: What to expect from the Middle Temple Pupils’ Course – by Magdalena Cass – Becket Chambers

Survival tools for a “hybrid” pupillage – by Magdalena Cass – Becket Chambers

Pupillage Q and A – by Christian Fox – Becket Chambers

2 Months In, Onwards and Upwards…Life as a Pupil Barrister – by Allen Worwood – Becket Chambers

A ‘remote’ pupillage, without a controller – Becket Chambers

3 Weeks Down, 49 Weeks to Go… Life as a Pupil Barrister – by Nicole Jennings – Becket Chambers

It’s Interview Season Again…Tips to Survive Pupillage Interviews – by Cara Radford – Becket Chambers

Life as a Pupil Barrister – Becket Chambers – by Cara Radford

Life as a Pupil Barrister – Becket Chambers – by Samuel Davis

Life as a Pupil Barrister – by Lavinia Glover Becket Chambers