The Bar Council is making it compulsory for all chambers to use the Pupillage Portal timetable from next year.
Though chambers will be free to operate their recruitment and selection processes outside the portal, all pupillage offers must now only be made through the portal itself.
The implication of the changes will mean that students will be able to apply more openly for a number of pupillages, allowing would-be lawyers to make the choice they really want rather than being restricted by timing.
The move follows a review, launched in 2008, chaired by Derek Wood QC with the central aim of ensuring the highest possible standards of those practising at the bar.
The review stated: “This would create a ‘level playing field’ in terms of timing of offers, ensure the common timetable is adhered to and thereby assist candidates in their decision making.”
For this year only, due to arrangements already being established, chambers will be permitted to make offers during the time when the portal is open (March to October). But from September 2011 the schedule for all offers must be aligned, and chambers outside the system must not make offers before the portal offer date (normally August).