The COIC Pupillage Matched Funded Scheme (PMF) helps provide additional pupillages in Chambers, and other approved training organisations, predominantly engaged in legally aided work. Encouragingly, a growing number of Chambers are applying for COIC matched funded grants. COIC is set to support 32 pupillages in 2021. This is an impressive improvement on the scheme’s first year of operation in 2014, when it supported 14 pupillages.
How the scheme works
It is a prerequisite of the scheme that chambers understand that matched funded pupillages are in addition to those they would have offered in any event. COIC match pupillage funding already provided by chambers with a total grant of £9,550 for 2022-23 London pupillages and £8,150 for 2022-23 out of London pupillages and of £9,650 for 2023-24 London pupillages and £8,250 for 2023-24 out of London pupillages, to fund the first six months of an additional pupillage.
COIC welcomes applications for half of the above amounts if that would enable those Chambers who can only contemplate taking on one pupil to do so. Chambers are responsible for ensuring that the total pupillage award meets the BSB’s minimum award for the year in question.
COIC appreciates that the receipt of grants is all the more important to chambers during the global pandemic, and are offering flexibility with the opportunity to defer awards where necessary.
How to apply
Applications to match fund 2022-23 and 2023-24 pupillages are invited between 1 September and 22 October 2021.
Decisions will be communicated during the week commencing 8 November 2021.
Author: Mrs Justice Lieven QC, Chair, COIC Pupillage Matched Funding Grants Committee
James Manning, Head of Pupillage, Nexus Chambers
Nexus, the Chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, is a growing common law set mainly undertaking legal aid work. Prior to the introduction of COIC's Pupillage Matched Funding scheme, Nexus was unable to offer pupillage. Since 2015, with the assistance of the scheme, we have taken two pupils per year; we are delighted that of the 9 pupils who have completed their pupillages with us, 7 have accepted offers of tenancy at Nexus. We are particularly pleased that both of our 2019-20 pupils have joined us as tenants, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.
Thanks to COIC's generous support in awarding our funding well in advance, we are able to plan ahead and have generally been offering pupillages 13 to 19 months prior to the pupils’ commencement dates. We believe that this is to the benefit of candidates, particularly those from disadvantaged economic backgrounds, because it allows the best candidates the security of knowing they have a pupillage before embarking upon the vocational stage of training.
We pride ourselves on our Fair Recruitment & Selection procedures. As a result, we have recruited some extremely talented pupils from a wide range of backgrounds. We have taken pleasure in seeing our pupils flourish as advocates and very much hope that COIC will continue to support chambers through the PMF scheme.
Sarah Blackmore, Joint Head of Chambers & Director of Pupil Training, Spire Barristers
Spire Barristers - the only specialist Family and Public Law (Court of Protection etc) set on the North Eastern Circuit and in the North of England has been in existence now for a period of three years; within which time our excellent reputation within these practice areas has continued to be secured. Our members are amongst the most formidable and dynamic of practitioners and the highly specialist pupillages we offer and provide are, we consider second to none!
It has been possible, thanks only to the grants provided to us by COIC through the PMF scheme for us to recruit two pupils each year since Spire Barristers inception, all of whom have gone on to become thriving and exceptional junior tenants.
We have always had the work to assist two pupils to build successful practices but as over 85% of our work is publicly funded, we have only been able to afford to fund one full pupillage a year. Over recent years, Chambers' age demographic has altered such that we have been keen to continue to build our membership, requiring us to focus our recruitment attention on the junior end to enable us to pass on our knowledge and expertise. It is thanks to the fabulous opportunity offered by this scheme that Chambers' has been assisted in securing continuing growth from the bottom, where strong roots are now ‘taking hold’.