The Inns of Court Pupillage Matched Funding Scheme has created 30 pupillages in its first year, with 15 new pupils due to start in 2014 and the same number set to begin pupillage in 2015.
The scheme was launched in October last year with the intention of encouraging publicly-funded chambers to offer more pupillages (16 October 2013).
Chambers apply for a matched funding grant, allowing sets to double the number of pupillages they offer.
For instance, chambers which usually offer one pupillage can ask for a grant of £6,000 to fund the first six months of another pupillage while those which offer two pupillages can apply for two grants to fund another two.
In addition, sets which have not recently offered pupillage can apply for a £3,000 grant to help start recruiting pupils once more.
According to the director of the Council of the Inns of Court, James Wakefield, 30 new pupillages have been created, with 15 starting in 2014 and another 15 in 2015. The 2015 figure may rise further when applications open for a second round of funding during 2015 and 2016.
It is not clear which chambers have been awarded funding through the scheme as it gives confidentiality to applicants, although 2 Dr Johnson’s Buildings is one set known to have been awarded a grant.
Wakefield said: “We are really pleased that the scheme has been such a success for this year and we hope that it will create even more pupillages next year.”
The scheme comes against a backdrop of cuts to publicly funded work and falling numbers of pupillages. According to the Bar Standards Board, the annual number of pupillages on offer fell by 32 per cent in the decade from 2000 to 2010, from 700 first sixes to just 477.