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The Council of the Inns of Court welcomes the Bar Standards Board’s call to ensure a level playing field in training for the Bar.

The Council of the Inns of Court notes the two reports published today by the Bar Standards Board and welcomes their concern to eliminate any possible unfairness in the training of aspiring barristers.

The Council of the Inns of Court director James Wakefield says: “The Inns are unwavering in their belief that the rule of law is best served by attracting the most able to the Bar, whatever their background. We are continually developing ways to help people join the profession but there is no room for complacency. We will study the BSB reports closely to identify areas where we could do more, support the further research that will be needed and do everything necessary to engender confidence that access is fair.”

The Inns are pleased that the BSB reports concluded that “the value of the Inns of Court and the qualifying sessions is clear” as these are designed to ensure that students gain the knowledge and skills they need to be successful barristers. Although the report’s findings of no gender or disability bias against applicants to the Bar either on the Bar course or in obtaining pupillage are very welcome, we recognise that there is work to do in addressing outcomes in relation to ethnic diversity.

The Council points out that the Inns continually invest in outreach and education programmes. Practitioners give many thousands of hours pro bono to encourage people to consider a career at the Bar and to support them throughout their careers. Among a raft of measures already in place, the Inns award over £5 million a year in scholarships, mostly means tested; provide access, support and mentoring schemes and give financial support for more than 40 pupillages at mainly publicly-funded chambers. They also support many university-based events, law fairs, and presentations; provide support for careers advisors, and give substantial financial support for the Bar Council’s outreach work.

The Inns have been concerned about the cost and risk for those undertaking the Bar Professional Training Course. With that in mind they have devised a proposal for a new two-part approach with law school attendance only compulsory for the second half. If approved, they hope this will encourage access and diversity by giving students the choice of another route to the Bar which will reduce both cost and risk.

“The Inns have long recognised the challenges faced by those from non-traditional backgrounds entering the profession. We fully support the BSB’s desire to maintain a strong, independent and diverse profession in the public interest and will continue to work with all concerned to ensure that the best talent has a clear path into the profession”, says Mr Wakefield.

For further information please contact:

James Wakefield, Director
The Council of the Inns of Court
0207 822 0761
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

October 2017

Applications for Pupillage Matched Funding are now closed 

Should you have any questions, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For further details see the below story.

Pupillage matched funding scheme

2016/ 2017 saw 40 pupillages supported by COIC’s ‘Pupillage Matched Funded Scheme’, helping pupils in 37 sets of Chambers. This is an impressive improvement on the 14 pupillages supported in the first year of the scheme. Whilst precise figures are not available, it is clear that there is a strong correlation between the numbers of COIC match funded pupils who go onto secure tenancy. We know that almost 80% of supported pupils in 2015 went on to become tenants. Encouragingly, more and more sets of Chambers are applying for matched funded grants. COIC has already received 31 applications for 2018, as part of a growing trend in chambers applying for grants two years in advance.

The process operates by providing additional pupillages in chambers and other approved training organisations, predominantly engaged in legally aided work. The Inns of Court Match Pupillage Funding, already provided by chambers, with a grant of £6,000 to fund the first six months of a second pupillage. Alternatively, a grant of £3,000 may be awarded where chambers only wish to take on one pupil.

It is a requirement of the scheme that chambers undertake that the pupillages being funded are additional to those that they would have offered in any event. From 2018 chambers will be able to elect to receive an increased level of funding of £7,000 for matched funded pupil grants from 2018, provided that all pupils in chambers receive an income of at least £14,000 for the year (a figure closer to the London Living Wage). 

Applications to match fund 2018-19 pupillages and 2019-20 pupillages are invited between 1 September 2017 and 19 October 2017. Decisions will be communicated during the week commencing 6 November.

Follow this link to find out more about the scheme and how to apply.

Bronia Hartley

Bronia Hartley, Head of Pupillage at Zenith Chambers said:
Like many sets, Zenith continues to feel the downward pressure on publicly funded work.The impact has been felt both by Chambers in general and our family, crime and housing teams in particular.  Nonetheless, we wish to maintain our commitment to publicly funded work. We believe pupillage to be at the heart of this commitment. In both 2015 and 2016 we recruited two pupils where otherwise we would only have recruited one. The only reason we were able to recruit these additional pupils was the funding we received through the COIC Pupillage Matched Funding Scheme. There is no doubt that this scheme is making a real contribution to the future of the publicly funded Bar. 

Joe Lynch

Joseph Lynch, Head of Pupillage at Central Chambers said:
In late 2015, we found ourselves at a crossroads as a chambers; we are a small, mainly publicly-funded set and were considering how we could expand. The idea of pupillage was raised. It had been roughly ten years since we had offered pupillage but the tenants were clear that this option should be explored.

The financial aspects of offering pupillage were an obvious concern but the Pupillage Matched Funding Scheme allowed us to take a chance on pupillage and, in October 2016, we took on our first pupil. We are delighted that, with the support of the Inns of Court, we have been able to offer this opportunity in a very restricted market and our chambers can now help maintain the quality of representation that is the hallmark of the independent Bar.

Thanks to the Pupillage Matched Funding Scheme, we can offer a further three pupillages over the next 18 months; opportunities for recent graduates that simply would not have been there without this scheme. At a time when access to the profession is of great concern to chambers, the scheme helps small, specialist sets like ours to offer pupillage in areas being deserted by those solely searching for financial gain rather than a drive to help the disadvantaged.


This article will appear on the August edition of Counsel Magazine. Author: Nathalie Lieven QC, Chair, COIC Pupillage Matched Funding Grants Committee.

July 2017

Project Manager Post

Please note that applications to this post are now closed.

Working with a skilled project team, the future post holder plays a lead role in developing and launching a wholly new and radically innovative Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).

The project manager will be able to take pride in having made a real difference to the education of Barristers in England and Wales – improving flexibility, accessibility and affordability while ensuring high standards in the delivery of training.

June 2017

Our Access to Justice for Vulnerable People Conference, deemed a success

The Advocate’s Gateway second international conference: Access to Justice for Vulnerable People took place on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd June 2017 at the Law Society in London. The event was praised by delegates who found it an insightful and useful forum in which to learn and network.

Across the two days, an inspiring array of speakers presented ground breaking research, imparted their knowledge on vulnerability-related-subjects ranging from:

  • international perspectives and innovations across different jurisdictions
  • the pre-trial stage
  • young defendants
  • women in the Criminal Justice System
  • Legal rights and responsibilities
  • effective participation
  • autism and communication
  • special measures and  the use of intermediaries
  • comparative responses to vulnerability, as well as
  • the latest developments in Criminal Justice proceedings

The full programme for detail on sessions and speakers can be found here.

This second international conference led by The Advocate’s Gateway and funded by The Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA), explored the access to justice combining and expanding interdisciplinary research and practitioner knowledge to encourage innovation and best practice. Facilitating an international networking exercise as well as, knowledge and practice sharing and the proper presentation of such cases globally.

An engaged audience

  • Sessions were widely discussed on twitter (#TAG17Conf hashtag) where delegates highlighted key points and advice to practitioners and researchers such as:
  • "…there have been many positive changes on the treatment of vulnerable people in the Criminal Justice System, however findings suggest that despite these, we still have a way to go.”;
  • “…there’s a need for a clearer definition of vulnerability, universal ground rules - and a review of basic advocacy training”; “…there should be mandatory disability training for lawyers and judges…”;
  • “…it is very important that ABE interviews are conducted in a coherent manner for vulnerable people…”;
  • “…whether you have a diagnosed vulnerability or not, being an unrepresented defendant makes you vulnerable...”;
  • “…trauma places vulnerable people at a disadvantage in trial due to testimony gaps and inconsistencies then exploited during cross-examination…”
  • And what seemed to sum up the conference’s spirit: “…new guidance must be always backed up by peer reviewed research.”

Forthcoming publication

The many areas of knowledge and research presented and discussed will be compiled in the conference’s resulting book to be published before the end of the year. Keep visiting these pages for more details and updates on when the book will be available.

For more details please get in touch via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

December 2016

COIC & ICCA new offices!

The Council of the Inns of Court (COIC) and its subsidiary organisation, the Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) have moved offices. The new address is: Ground Floor, 9 Gray's Inn Square, London WC1R 5JD. Please share our new postal address with members within your organisation and ensure your records get updated. All of our phone numbers and email addresses remain the same.

The new offices are located within the same building which currently houses the Bar Tribunal and Adjudication Service (BTAS), also part of COIC. The move will help all COIC’s teams to work even in a more integrated way.

BSB's Future Bar Training Consultation - Please comment on the Inns’/Bar Council Proposal

It is vital that as many people as possible respond to the latest Bar Standards Board’s ‘Future Bar Training’ (FBT) consultation closing on 23 December 2016. Follow this link for more details on the model supported by the Inns of Court and the Bar Council.  

We encourage you to respond directly to the BSB and when you do, please also comment on Inns/Bar Council model so as to enable the BSB to properly evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of all proposals.

June 2016

The new Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) is launched by The Council of the Inns of Court (COIC)

ICCA will become a global centre of excellence for the teaching of advocacy and ethics and will promote the reputation of the Bar of England and Wales.

Its launch will be marked by a reception this evening at Lincoln’s Inn Old Hall.

The new College will provide leadership, expertise and guidance in the pursuit of excellence in advocacy and professional ethics and will build on the success of the Advocacy Training Council (ATC) which is internationally recognised for its development of education and training for the Bar and the wider profession.

The profession will regard the College as the resource of choice for education and training materials of the highest quality. The materials will be delivered online and through the Inns and Circuits.

The work of the College will be directed and overseen by an appointed Board of Governors:

    • Derek Wood CBE QC - Chair
    • Andrew Hochhauser QC - Vice Chair for SBAs
    • William Waldron QC - Vice Chair for Circuits
    • Alistair MacDonald QC - Vice Chair for Circuits
    • The Honourable Mrs Justice Andrews DBE - Judicial Governor
    • Dr. Catherine MacKenzie – Academic Governor
    • Stephen Murch – Lincoln’s Inn Governor
    • Sam Stein QC – Inner Temple Governor
    • Paul Stanley QC – Middle Temple Governor
    • Shaun Smith QC –Gray’s Inn Governor
    • Professor Shelley Heard – Professional Education and Training Governor

Chair of the Board of Governors, Derek Wood CBE QC, said: “I am delighted that COIC has established this new College of Advocacy to continue and expand the important work of the Advocacy Training Council. This again affirms the commitment of the Inns of Court to high standards of training in the practice and ethics of court advocacy”.

For updates on the College's activities, please keep visiting ICCA's website.

“Addressing Vulnerability in Justice Systems” - the publication

This publication from our hugely successful inaugural International Conference of the same title in June 2015. The book presents a selection of papers taken from speakers at the conference – all of whom are considered experts in their respective fields.

The work of the authors represents much of the current state of knowledge in these areas, and also, evidence of a great change in how vulnerable people are treated in the justice system.

“Addressing Vulnerability in Justice Systems” is available to be purchased via this link. For more information on how this book came about, please visit The Advocate's Gateway website

May 2016

Promoting Reliability in Expert Evidence - Barristers’ guide for handling statistical evidence

The Inns of Court College of Advocacy, ICCA (formerly the ATC) is working with the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) to produce a new guide for handling statistical evidence.

This short and accessible guide will help barristers and other members of the legal profession better understand the application of statistics in legal situations, particularly the interpretation of evidence in trials.

The guide is being created as part of a wider ICCA project on promoting reliability in expert evidence, including a package of materials to enhance the training of advocates.

Due to be piloted in the autumn, the guide’s final version will be available both on this and the RSS' Statslife websites by the end of the year.

BTAS recruitment of Panel Members and Clerks

The call for applications to The Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service (BTAS) is now closed; appointments of new Panel Members (barrister, lay and QC) and Clerks to serve at BTAS hearings will commence in 2017.

For further information about how BTAS recruits please visit:

Interim Revised Guidelines on Prosecuting Social Media Cases

These guidelines are primarily concerned with offences that may be committed by reason of the nature or content of a communication sent via social media. Follow this link for more details.

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