Chambers views prompt, regular and constructive assessment of pupillage not only as good practice but also as vital. On an informal basis, pupils are encouraged to continually monitor their progress by informal discussions with their Pupil Supervisors. In addition the Pupillage Committee meets all of the pupils on a regular basis so that any problems or complaints can be talked over and dealt with.
On a formal basis, and in addition to the Bar Standards Board checklists, Chambers operates an in-house training and assessment procedure.
At the conclusion of the pupil’s 1st and 2nd six month periods, the pupil and Pupil Supervisor will complete an in-house pupillage appraisal form based upon their own appraisal and the feed-back they have had from other members of Chambers, clerks, solicitors and other members of the Bar. The form deals with a comprehensive range of the pupil’s abilities and capabilities and also makes suggestions for the future development of the pupil. This is intended to assist the pupil to know how they are progressing in pupillage and identify those areas requiring improvement. The contents of the form will be discussed with the pupil within a month of him/her finishing that stage of their pupillage. Completed appraisal forms are held in confidence by the Chair of the Pupillage Committee.
The Appraisal Forms constitute an integral aspect of the pupil’s training and will form an essential part of any application the pupil makes to Chambers for further pupillage and/or tenancy.
In-house advocacy training
Pupils are encouraged to take part in any advocacy training offered by their Inns or the Circuit.
Additionally, throughout the twelve-month period, pupils take part in a rigorous in-house advocacy-training programme, delivered by experienced practitioners and on occasion, judges and other legal professionals. The programme is a mix of seminars and practical exercises aimed at developing up to date knowledge of the law, court procedure and advocacy skills.
Mock courts are regularly used to test the growing knowledge and confidence of our pupils. The training programme culminates with a number of written and oral assessments.
The training programme lasts approximately 70 hours in total. Workshops are conducted along the lines developed by Gray’s Inn and are run by members of Chambers. The sessions usually take place on the first and last Wednesday evening of each month. The training material has been compiled by members of Chambers and covers all of the ground that young members of the Criminal Bar can expect to encounter in their first few months on their feet and beyond. It is an intense course as we are able to have a very low ratio of Trainers to Pupils. We also have the advantage of being able to call on junior members of Chambers, who themselves have gone through the same course, to act as the witnesses/clients.
At 25 Bedford Row we are confident and proud of the fact that we offer our pupils among the most comprehensive advocacy training available at the Criminal Bar. By the time they get on their feet in their 2nd six months our pupils will have completed many hours of intensive advocacy training. Pupils must pass this course to the satisfaction of the Pupillage Committee in order to take up the 2nd six months and to attend court in their own right representing Chambers.
It is a very impressive set, with quite a diverse range of characters. There is something for everybody.