Pupillage awards up while trainee salaries remain frozen

Aspiring barristers struggling to make ends meet have received a boost from the Bar Standards Board (BSB) following the regulator’s decision to raise the minimum pupillage award.

Graduates starting their pupillages from September 2011 will now receive a minimum award of £12,000. The modest rise of £2,000 on the current rate was given the go ahead by the Legal Services Board this week.

Despite the increase the amount payable to pupils still lags well behind the cost of the Bar Professional Training Course, with BPP Law School the most expensive provider charging just over £16,000.

The BSB’s announcement comes as the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is expected to announce later this week that the minimum wage for trainee solicitors will remain at the rate set in 2009 for a third year in a row.

A second salary freeze by the SRA means that pay for a trainee solicitor sticks at a minimum of £16,650 though this goes up to £18,590 for those training in London.

The rise in pupillage awards follows a report chaired by Derek Wood QC, published in summer 2008 (read more) and will see a national minimum salary for pupils of £1,000 a month over twelve months.