Happy New Year As Thoughts Turn To The Future Of The Bar

Happy New Year & Best Wishes From Pupillageville…

May I first start by wishing everyone a Happy New Year and a prosperous 2013 from Pupillageville.

After a somewhat mixed 2012, I am hoping that 2013 will provide a much needed tonic to redress the highs and lows of the judicial forum. I am mindful that no doubt we will all see an ongoing change within our profession as the Government makes continued cuts to the Legal Aid system, but it is important that we stand resolute and address these changes together so as to dissipate and dispel those around us who may perceive that this could bring about the destruction of the Bar.

As we go forward into 2013, I hope that those acting for the best interests of the Bar are mindful that further possible options should not rule out working with our fellow legal colleagues from the Law Society and that combining forces, controversial as this may sound, could prove to be the much needed remedy.

Sadly, given my ongoing discussions across both sides of the legal divide, there is common ground in the belief that it is financially impossible to conduct criminal legal aid work at a sustainable level, especially in growing view of the position over competitive tendering.  Ultimately, one must be mindful and not lose sight of the fact that that general public depend on our honed skill set and the compelling ability to foster the demonstrable advocacy skills at the Bar.

So let us all put a very positive step forward and as the last of the New Year champagne corks and poppers fall to the floor with streamers abound, I raise a glass to you all and wish you a very happy and prosperous 2013!

As always

Stephen AKA Justin Time

1 comment to Happy New Year As Thoughts Turn To The Future Of The Bar

  • Juan

    I have to agree. I am just a few days away from finishing the BPTC and am no neraer to securing a pupillage. Whilst I am glad to have done the course, I can’ say that five years from now; if I still don’t have pupillage, that I won’t be imagining what the money could have been spent on. And it’s not just about the money (although that seems to be the main factor influencing the institutions). The course isn’t exactly the easiest thing I’ve ever done, nor has it been particularly stress free (especially with the issues this year over the centralised exams). I’m not saying that my hard work won’t have been worth it, but considering that the course is aimed at preparing you for pupillage, the benefits I take from it into other careers are likely to be limited.Thirdly, there are students who are going to struggle obtaining pupillage, whether it’s because of their undergraduate grade, lack of suitable work experience etc. The entry requirements for the course do not reflect the entry requirements for the profession. The response of BPTC providers will undoubtedly be that I am wrong and that there is a chance that these students will get pupillage. I agree with that. But why not let them secure the place before you take a315,000 off them? Chambers undoubtedly want pupillage applicants to tick certain boxes (mini pupillages, work experience, academics etc.) Some people may never be able to tick those boxes. For others (especially those coming straight from the GDL) it is a case of gradually building up their CV. If all this has to be done in the five years after the BPTC, there will likely be a number of people who don’t get pupillage simply because they weren’t quite ready enough (and not because they’re not good enough).Finally, I would have thought that a situation where all pupils have finished the course within the last six months would be preferable? Whilst I currently view the five year rule as a blessing, I have to admit that if you asked me to tell you what I did in my A Level French five years ago, I’d be struggling.

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