“Byrom Street Chambers is strong for civil instructions and offers an ‘excellent service’ aided by ‘unparalleled clerks’ support' ”

Mini-Pupillage and Work Experience Policy 

 

Chambers offers a limited number of mini-pupillages throughout the working year to under-graduate students and graduates who have applied to Chambers in accordance with the procedure detailed below, which is administered by the Mini-Pupillage Co-ordinator.

 

Chambers also offers work experience at various times of the year to school-aged students who have been selected through schemes, such as the Bar Placement Week operated by The Social Mobility Foundation.

 

It is intended that mini-pupillages and work experience opportunities will provide students and graduates who are interested in a potential career at the Bar with the opportunity to experience the work of a barrister, by shadowing one or more members of Chambers at court and in client conferences. There will often also be opportunities to read and discuss case papers with members of Chambers.

 

Chambers does not offer pupillages.  Undertaking a mini-pupillage is therefore not a pre-requisite to pupillage.

 

This policy sets out the procedures for processing applications for mini-pupillage and work experience, and also applications for assistance with funding.

 

This policy also provides a framework for barristers and clerks to ensure that Chambers manages the potential risks arising from mini-pupillages and work experience in the context of:

 

(i) confidentiality and privilege

(ii) data protection

(iii) client understanding and wishes

(iv) conduct of mini-pupils

(v)  safeguarding good practice (in the case of work-experience students)

 

 

Processing Applications

 

Applications for mini-pupillage shall be made by the applicant submitting their CV with a covering letter addressed to the Mini-Pupillage Co-ordinator.

 

Applicants for mini pupillage must be aged 18 or older, and usually should be in or entering their penultimate year of undergraduate study (law) or ultimate year of undergraduate study (non-law); work experience applicants must be aged 15 or older. Applicants must be able to demonstrate a genuine interest in pursuing a career in at the Bar in England and Wales and some potential to succeed.

 

Applicants who are considered to meet the above criteria by the Mini-Pupillage Co-ordinator, in his or her absolute discretion, will be offered a mini-pupillage, usually for a duration of up to five consecutive working days, within the next slot reasonably available. Wherever possible, the dates offered will fall within any preferred dates notified in the relevant application.  The Mini-Pupillage Co-ordinator’s decision shall be final.

 

Mini-Pupillages will be offered to candidates without regard to any protected characteristic as defined in the Equality Act 2010

 

Where the applicant is unable to attend on the dates offered for good reason, and the applicant notifies the Mini-Pupillage Co-ordinator of such difficulty in good time, one further offer will be made for an alternative slot.

 

The applicant will be required to confirm their acceptance of the offer of a mini-pupillage to the Mini-Pupillage Co-ordinator.

 

Applications for work experience will be processed in the same way as described above, save where either

 

(i) the student has been selected by an official work experience scheme, or

(ii) the applicant is being sponsored by a member of Chambers, or clerk, in which case the relevant member of Chambers, or clerk, will be directly responsible for ensuring compliance with the requirements set out below in the sections headed “Preliminary Formalities”, “Conducting Mini-Pupillage and Work Experience”, and “Safeguarding Good Practice”.

 

Financial Assistance

 

Chambers shall maintain a fund for assisting mini-pupils with travel costs and similar expenses on the basis of exceptional circumstances. Chambers may pay the reasonable travel costs and similar expenses of students on work experience.

 

Chambers shall state in the mini-pupillage section of its website that such financial assistance may be offered in exceptional circumstances.

 

Applications for financial assistance should be directed to the Mini-Pupillage Co-ordinator, and may be made either at the time of application for mini-pupillage or at any time before the mini-pupillage commences. 

 

The Mini-Pupillage Co-ordinator may ask the applicant to provide such details and documentary proof as he/she considers appropriate.  The Mini-Pupillage Co-ordinator will in his/her absolute discretion determine whether and how much assistance Chambers will give any mini-pupil.  In making his/her decision the Mini-Pupillage Co-ordinator may take into account the available funds, the mini-pupil’s costs of travel (or other costs), any exceptional circumstances demonstrated including financial hardship, the merits of the mini-pupil’s application, the length of mini-pupillage, and any other factor that he/she considers relevant.

 

As a general guide, any financial assistance given will usually be limited in amount to the cost of public transport and a daily subsistence allowance.

 

The Mini-Pupillage co-ordinator will aim to communicate his/her decision to the mini-pupil within 28 days of an application being made, or prior to the commencement of the mini pupillage, whichever is sooner.  The decision of the Mini-Pupillage Co-ordinator shall be final.

 

In considering applications for financial assistance Chambers will not discriminate on any grounds prohibited by law.

 

Preliminary Formalities

 

On the first morning of each mini-pupillage/work experience, a member of the clerking team shall take the mini-pupil/work experience student through a Confidentiality Undertaking.

 

Before inviting the mini-pupil/work experience student to sign the Confidentiality Undertaking the clerk shall check whether the mini-pupil/work experience student has any queries or concerns about the contents of the undertaking. If the mini-pupil/work experience student raises any such queries or concerns and the clerk should seek assistance from either a senior clerk, the Mini-Pupillage Co-ordinator or a senior member of Chambers.

 

The mini-pupil/work experience student must have signed the Confidentiality Undertaking before being allowed to undertake or observe any work in Chambers. The clerks shall retain original undertakings for a period of at least 6 years following completion of the mini-pupillage/work experience.

 

The clerk will also undertake an informal induction, identifying the location of the toilets, kitchen facilities, emergency exits and designated first aiders.

 

Conducting Mini-Pupillage

 

The Mini-Pupillage co-ordinator and/or clerking team will allocate mini-pupils/work experience students, if appropriate, to various members of Chambers during the course of each mini-pupillage/work experience, which will allow the mini-pupil/work experience student to accompany the relevant barrister to Court or a conference, or to read papers relating to a particular case or matter.

 

If appropriate, mini-pupils/work experience students will be allowed to attend and observe court or tribunal hearings held in public, and to read case papers which are already in the public domain.

 

Where a mini-pupil/work experience student attends and observes a court or tribunal hearing or a conference or meeting, the barrister should introduce the mini-pupil/work experience student and explain their role to both professional and lay clients. Where practicable, the clerk or barrister should give advance warning to the professional and/or lay client of the proposed attendance by a mini-pupil/work experience student, and give them an opportunity to refuse.

 

Both clerks and barristers must consider the extent to which it is appropriate for a particular case to be attended or papers read by a mini-pupil/work experience student. Particular consideration and assessment of the risks of disclosure must be had to cases which involve, or are likely to involve, the disclosure of personal data relating to the barrister’s lay client or third parties such as witnesses and opposing parties. The young age of work experience students is likely to be highly relevant in considering whether any particular case is appropriate.

 

It is likely that cases involving children and/or persons with physical and/or mental disabilities may involve the disclosure of sensitive personal data, and may not be appropriate for a mini-pupil/work experience student to observe or read. Where it is proposed to allow a mini-pupil/work experience student to accompany a barrister in relation to such a case, the barrister must seek the express permission of his/her professional and/or lay clients.

 

Neither clerks nor barristers should allow a mini-pupil/work experience student to retain custody of papers relating to any case whilst outside of Chambers and should not email or otherwise provide an electronic copy of case papers to any mini-pupil/work experience student. Where a mini-pupil/work experience student has either been given copies of papers or compiled notes during the course of attending a case or reading case papers, the barrister must ensure that the mini-pupil/work experience student returns or disposes of such materials in so far as they contain personal data confidential to the relevant case.

 

Where either a clerk or barrister becomes concerned or has reason to doubt the ability of a particular mini-pupil/work experience student to comply with his/her Confidentiality Undertaking, such concern must be raised immediately with either a senior clerk, the Mini-Pupillage Co-ordinator or a senior member of Chambers, so that the importance of client confidentiality and data protection can be explained promptly to the mini-pupil/work experience student. Clerks and barristers must be vigilant to ensure mini-pupils/work experience students are aware of the risks of inadvertent breaches of confidentiality by the use of social media.

 

If the conduct of any Mini Pupil or work experience student gives cause for concern, such concern must be raised immediately with either a senior clerk, the Mini-Pupillage Co-ordinator or a senior member of Chambers.  If such conduct is considered to have breached the trust and confidence of Chambers in the Mini Pupil or student, and/or raised issues of confidentiality or honesty or integrity or to have risked the reputation of Chambers, the Senior Clerk or the Mini Pupillage Co-ordinator, or Senior Member of Chambers may take such action as appropriate and in their absolute and final discretion, including asking that Mini Pupil or student to leave Chambers and terminate the placement.

 

Safeguarding Good Practice

 

Most, if not all, work experience students will be minors and further safeguarding and child protection measures apply to ensure the best possible protection of these young people whilst they are under the supervision of Chambers.

 

Safeguarding involves the protection of children from maltreatment and preventing impairment of children’s health or development. Maltreatment includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect, whether deliberately or recklessly caused or failing to protect the child from injury or harm, and whether physical contact is involved or not.

 

Barristers and clerks should demonstrate exemplary behaviour when dealing with and supervising work experience students. The following good practice guidelines will serve equally as a protection for adults working with work experience students, as they will also afford the required protection for the students themselves:

 

(i) Work in an open environment where possible, avoiding private situations such as being alone in a conference room with the student

(ii) Maintain an appropriate physical distance from the student

(iii) Do not collect or drop off a student by car 

(iv) Ensure that electronic communication communications with the student are appropriate and work-related

(v) Do not share personal contact details with the student

(vi) Do not drink alcohol in the company of the student

(vii) Avoid requests for the student to engage in any physical activity such as lifting or carrying heavy cases etc

(viii) Give enthusiastic and constructive feedback but avoid negative criticism, especially in front of others

(ix) Treat all students with respect and dignity

 

In addition to the above good practice guidelines barristers and clerks must not, under any circumstances, do any of the following in relation to a work experience student:

 

(i) Arrange to meet up with a student in a personal capacity

(ii) Engage in rough physical or make sexually provocative games

(iii) Allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching

(iv) Allow the student to use inappropriate language unchallenged

(v) Make sexually suggestive comments to a student

(vi) Do things of a personal nature for a student that they can do for themselves

(vii) Invite or arrange for or allow a student to meet somewhere other than at a venue directly connected to the work experience

(viii) Fail to report to the Mini-Pupillage Co-ordinator, the Head of Chambers or the Senior Clerk (as appropriate) any incident concerning, or inappropriate conduct towards or on the part of, the student.

 

Incidents which must be reported to, and recorded by, the Mini-Pupillage Co-ordinator, the Head of Chambers or the Senior Clerk (as appropriate) include the following:

 

(i) If a barrister, clerk or some other adult injures the student, even if unintentionally

(ii) If a barrister or clerk witnesses inappropriate behaviour, whether from another adult or from another student

(iii) If the student seems distressed in any manner

(iv) If the student mentions that they are in danger at home or in school

(v) If the student mentions that they want to harm themselves or others

(vi) If the student appears to be physically attracted to a barrister or clerk or another adult

(vii) If the student misunderstands or misinterprets something said or done by a barrister or clerk

(viii) If the student makes suggestive or inappropriate comments, either in person, electronically, or by using any other form of communication

 

 

 

©2018 Byrom Street Chambers. All Rights Reserved.