1. Pupils’ responsibilities for registering pupillage

This section is of special interest to pupils, who are responsible for registering their pupillage with the BSB on the relevant forms.

Registering pupillage

1.1) Before starting any period of pupillage (including any period of external training) a person must apply to the BSB for registration of the pupillage by submitting an application in the form prescribed by the BSB.

1.2) If a person applies to the BSB for registration of a pupillage after the pupillage has started, the pupillage will be treated as having started on the date the application is received, unless the BSB permits otherwise.

Important guidance for pupils

Pupils must register their pupillage with the BSB on the appropriate registration form before pupillage commences. The BSB will only approve an application for retrospective registration of pupillage where there are good reasons for failure to register on time. Otherwise, periods of pupillage undertaken prior to registration will not be recognised.

Registration forms should be submitted at least two weeks prior to commencement of pupillage, if possible. Pupils must provide the name of the designated pupil supervisor and the commencement date; it is therefore advisable that such arrangements are made in advance. Registration will be confirmed by email.

Changes in pupillage

1.3) If any of the information provided in an application for registration of a pupillage changes before the pupillage has been completed, the pupil must promptly notify the BSB in writing of the change using the prescribed form. The periods of time involved must be noted.

1.4) The declaration must be signed by the Head of Chambers or other person authorised by the Head of Chambers in the case of a pupillage in chambers. For a pupillage in employment, it should be signed by a person authorised by the employer.

1.5) There is no specified maximum amount of time that a supervisor may be absent or unavailable (eg overseas or ill) before an alternative supervisor must be appointed. However, it is the duty of the supervisor to ensure that the BSB is contacted for advice when a material change occurs so that special provision can be made where necessary.

2. Other practice requirements for pupils

Pupils must understand their responsibilities to be insured, comply with the Data Protection Act and manage their personal tax obligations.


BSB Handbook

Rule rC76 of the BSB Handbook requires barristers to:

.1 ensure that you have adequate insurance (taking into account the nature of your practice) which covers all the legal services you supply to the public; and

.2 if you are a BSB authorised person or a manager of a BSB authorised body, then in the event that the Bar Standards Board, by any notice it may from time to time issue under this Rule C76, stipulates a minimum level of insurance and/or minimum terms for the insurance which must be taken out by BSB authorised persons, you must ensure that you have or put in place within the time specified in such notice, insurance meeting such requirements as apply to you.

Rule C77 Where you are acting as a self-employed barrister, you must be a member of BMIF, unless:

.1 you are a pupil who is covered by your pupil supervisor’s insurance; or

.2 you were called to the Bar under Rule Q98, in which case you must either be insured with BMIF or be covered by insurance against claims for professional negligence arising out of the supply of your services in England and Wales in such amount and on such terms as are currently required by the Bar Standards Board, and have delivered to the Bar Standards Board a copy of the current insurance policy, or the current certificate of insurance, issued by the insurer.

Rule C78 If you are a member of BMIF, you must:

.1 pay promptly the insurance premium required by BMIF; and

.2 supply promptly such information as BMIF may from time to time require pursuant to its rules.

2.1) Pupils are covered by their pupil supervisor’s Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund (BMIF) insurance, or their employer’s insurance, for work performed during pupillage.

2.2) Once pupillage ceases, pupils must apply immediately to the BMIF for their own cover for legal services offered in self-employed practice. Practising barristers entering into so-called “third six” arrangements should also contact BMIF to agree their own insurance cover.

2.3) Employed barristers should ensure that their employer has appropriate professional indemnity insurance in place for them.

2.4) The Government Legal Service does not have specific insurance because it bears its own risk.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018

Competence 4.5 in the Professional Statement is to “Maintain the confidentiality of clients’ affairs, adopting secure technology where appropriate”. This includes complying with relevant data protection requirements.

2.5) Every individual self-employed practising barrister is a data controller. All self-employed barristers, including practising pupils, and chambers are required to comply with the GDPR and the Act if they process personal data.

2.6) From 25 May 2018, the Data Protection (Charges and Information) Regulations 2018 require every organisation or sole trader who processes personal information to pay a data protection fee to the ICO, unless they are exempt.

2.7) Please refer to the Bar Council Guidance on GDPR, which provides support to barristers and chambers in meeting their data protection requirements. 


2.8) Pupils should become familiar with tax requirements, including VAT and National Insurance, for self-employed practice.

2.9) The Bar Council provides a taxation guide on its ethics website.

3. Complaints against pupils

This section is relevant to anyone who wishes to make a formal complaint to the BSB about the conduct of a pupil, and to pupils who are facing an allegation against them.


BSB Handbook

We regulate barristers and BSB entities operating in England and Wales and are responsible for making sure that the high standards of the profession are maintained.

We will consider taking action where there is evidence that the BSB Handbook has been breached, under our Enforcement Regulations (Part 5 of the BSB Handbook) and our Enforcement Strategy.

3.1) Anyone who has a concern about the conduct of a pupil who has been Called to the Bar can make a report to us.

3.2) If they have been Called to the Bar, the pupil’s Inn of Court plays no formal part in the disciplinary system, except via the Council of the Inns of Court (COIC) which arranges tribunals. An individual Inn would have a role in pronouncing any findings of a Disciplinary Tribunal.

3.3) A concern about a pupil who has not been Called to the Bar should be reported to the pupil’s Inn of Court.

3.4) Information for pupils facing an investigation into a concern about them reported to the BSB is available on the BSB website.

4. Summary of the responsibilities of pupils

This section is of particular importance to pupils to help ensure that they do not breach the BSB Handbook or break the law. It summarises the responsibilities of pupils during the various stages of pupillage, and after completion of pupillage, that are explained elsewhere in the Bar Qualification Manual.

Beginning pupillage

Pupils must:

General requirements in pupillage

Barristers, including pupils, are required to adhere to the Core Duties and Conduct Rules, as set out in the BSB Handbook.

Pupils must:

  • Ensure that the required standards are met, maintaining appropriate training records (see Part 2C (C5) of the Bar Qualification Manual).
  • Undertake compulsory courses that are required by the AETO and the BSB (see Part 2C (C5) of the Bar Qualification Manual).
  • Behave at all times in accordance with professional ethics and conduct as stated in the BSB Handbook.
  • Preserve the confidentiality of every client’s affairs in accordance with the BSB Handbook.
  • Notify the BSB of any material changes in pupillage arrangements, eg change in pupil supervisor, change in start or end dates of pupillage.

In the non-practising period of pupillage

Pupils must:

  • Not exercise any reserved legal activities, including rights of audience. A noting brief may be undertaken with permission of the pupil supervisor or Head of Chambers.
  • Ensure their pupil supervisor signs the form declaring satisfactory completion of the non-practising period, submit it promptly to the BSB and apply for a Provisional Practising Certificate (see Part 2C (C6) of the Bar Qualification Manual).

In the practising period of pupillage

Pupils must:

  • Exercise rights of audience only with permission of their pupil supervisor or Head of Chambers or equivalent, having obtained a Provisional Practising Certificate from the BSB (see Part 2C (C3.2) of the Bar Qualification Manual).
  • Register with the Information Commissioner (see Part 2C (C3.2) of the Bar Qualification Manual).
  • Ensure compliance with taxation requirements. If relevant, register as self-employed with HMRC upon commencing the practising period of pupillage.

At the end of the practising period of pupillage

Pupils must:

  • Ensure their pupil supervisor signs the form declaring satisfactory completion of the practising period, submit it promptly to the BSB and apply for a full Practising Certificate. A Provisional Practising Certificate is only valid for 30 days after pupillage (see Part 2C (C3.2) of the Bar Qualification Manual).
  • An AETO may support a pupil in the process of obtaining an annual Practising Certificate, but it is the responsibility of the pupil to ensure that they have a valid Practising Certificate when holding themselves out as a barrister and undertaking reserved legal activities.
  • Apply to the BMIF for their own insurance cover for legal services offered in self-employed practice (see Part 2C (C3.2) of the Bar Qualification Manual).
  • Notify the BSB of changes in status (eg self-employed, employed or not in practice) and contact details (see Part 2C (C6) of the Bar Qualification Manual).