24 October 2017

We are seeking your views on updating some of the rules governing barrister training and qualification

As part of our ongoing Future Bar Training (FBT) programme, we have launched a new consultation on a number of aspects of the way in which barristers train and qualify. These include:

  • To what extent we should prescribe the role of the Inns of Court in the training and qualification of barristers; and
  • Future rules and regulatory arrangements for the work-based component of training (pupillage).

Our consultation paper recognises the historic and supportive role played by the Inns and by pupil supervisors in preparing new barristers for the realities of practice. We have no intention of changing what works well but we do want to deregulate in these areas if we can. For example, by removing certain prescriptive rules around pupillage, it may be possible to remove barriers to those parts of the Bar wanting to provide more innovative and flexible pupillage opportunities.

We are also seeking views on a new framework which will enable training providers (in the academic, vocational and professional stages of training) to develop new and innovative training programmes for aspiring barristers. This follows on from the publication of a policy statement in March 2017 in which we said we would authorise a limited number of new training routes for prospective students to qualify as barristers in the future, based on four core principles of flexibility, accessibility, affordability and high standards.

By seeking views on these important matters, we are keen to make sure that our rules governing pupillage and qualification remain fit for purpose over the long-term. We want to build on what already works well in the current system and to encourage innovation and flexibility for the Bar in the way that work-based learning for barristers is delivered.

The consultation closes on8 January 2018with any new rules expected to come into effect in 2019. 

We will be holding a series of meetings around the country to listen to the views of all interested parties. Details of these events will be available soon our website soon.

You can read the full consultation on our website.