The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting (ICLR) has created a new annual bursary to support a pupil in need at the publicly funded Bar.
The £12,000 award has been set up to mark the ICLR’s 150th anniversary and will provide direct financial assistance to one person during the course of their pupillage. The first award will be for a pupil starting in autumn 2016.
To qualify for the bursary, the pupil must be at a chambers whose work is predominantly publicly funded, and where the chambers’ own pupillage award is not more than £14,000.
Applications for the bursary will open in March 2016 and will be judged on both merit and financial need. There will be a practical assessment in June, with the winner of the scholarship announced in September.
ICLR’s research and development manager Daniel Hoadley said: “As a charity, ICLR is always looking for new ways to support law students and those embarking on a career at the Bar – the ICLR Pupil Award is a new way in which we aim to support students commencing pupillage in chambers.
“The majority of ICLR’s staff are barristers, so we’re acutely aware of how challenging pupillage can be and how this has been exacerbated for some areas of the profession by recent cuts to legal aid.
“The reality is that by the time a student commences pupillage, their finances have been depleted by university fees and the BPTC, not to mention living costs. Pupillage is difficult enough as it is, without having the additional pressure of affording to pay the rent, travel and food. Many pupils are faced with more money going out than they have coming in.
“The purpose of the ICLR Pupil Award is to provide a pupil deserving of financial assistance the help they need so that they can give more of their focus to the challenges of pupillage.”
Last month, Lawyer 2B revealed that Atkin Chambers is raising its pupillage award to £72,500 – the highest at the bar. However, awards at the publically funded bar are much lower. Cuts in legal aid have led to chambers cancelling their pupillage. An Inns of Court scheme launched in 2013 allows chambers apply for a matched funding grant, meaning they can double the number of pupillages they offer.