The Inns of Court have introduced a scheme to encourage publicly-funded chambers to offer pupillage.
The Pupillage Matched Funding Scheme is open to chambers whose work is predominantly publicly funded.
If a set would normally offer one pupillage, then it can apply for a matched funding grant of £6,000 to fund the first six months of a second pupillage. If it would normally offer two pupillages, it can apply for two grants to fund up to two additional pupillages, and so on.
A grant of £3,000 for chambers that have not recently provided a pupillage is also potentially available.
The number of pupillages on offer has fallen significantly in recent years, with 700 pupils beginning first sixes in 2000, compared to 477 in 2010, according to the Bar Standards Board figures.
Charter Chambers and Guildhall Chambers both suspended their recruitment of pupils earlier this year, with Charter’s director Ian Payn warning that legal aid cuts, combined with the Government’s introduction of best-value tendering, would “destroy the whole notion of pupillage.”