FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Authorised Education and Training Organisation (AETOs)

What are the benefits of using the Pupillage Gateway to facilitate our recruitment process?

The Pupillage Gateway is a flexible and cost-effective way for Authorised Education and Training Organisations (‘AETOs’) to advertise pupillages and manage applications – making it easier than ever before to run a modern online recruitment process.

There are many benefits to using the Pupillage Gateway to facilitate your recruitment process. These include:

  • An easy-to-navigate system that is continuously developed with input from its users;
  • The opportunity to add up to seven original questions, with appropriate word count adjustments, and mark answers anonymously where a question is used to test prospective candidates’ aptitude for making written legal arguments or otherwise;
  • The ability to anonymise candidates’ personal details, educational institutions and/or references when processing applications;
  • An automatically generated candidate chronology, which allows pupillage providers to practise contextual recruitment when shortlisting applications;
  • An online marking system to assess applications on-screen and an interview management module to assist Gateway administrators with timetabling and panel coordination;
  • Editable email templates to communicate updates to candidates, through the Pupillage Gateway, at each stage of the process;
  • The capability to view aggregated equal opportunities data, ensuring compliance with rule C110 of the Bar Standards Board Handbook, and compare and contrast it against the aggregated data of other sets with the same areas of practice; and
  • A system and software that are completely compliant with GDPR.
We would like to use the Pupillage Gateway to facilitate our recruitment process, how do we subscribe?

Subscribing to the Pupillage Gateway has never been easier. Just follow this two-step process:

Step 1: Please contact the Bar Council’s Services Team on +44 (0)207 611 1321 to make payment over the phone by credit or debit card. If you wish to pay by BACS, then please contact the Services Team on +44 (0)207 611 1321 or email PupillageGateway@BarCouncil.org.uk.

The annual subscription cost is £850 plus VAT for a single recruitment process. Where an Authorised Education and Training Organisation (“AETO”) wishes to run multiple recruitment processes through the Pupillage Gateway an administrative cost of £75 plus VAT per additional vacancy will be applied.

Step 2: Complete an AETO Account Information Form and return it to PupillageGateway@BarCouncil.org.uk. Once confirmation of your payment has been received, the Bar Council’s Services Team will activate (or reactivate) your account. You will then be able to access the system to create new pupillage vacancies.

If you have any questions about how the Pupillage Gateway works or need technical assistance, please email PupillageGateway@BarCouncil.org.uk or call the Bar Council’s Services Team on +44 (0)207 611 1321.

We would like to advertise a vacancy on the Pupillage Gateway, but we don’t want to use it to facilitate our recruitment process. How do we publish our advertisement?

The Bar Standards Board’s Bar Qualification Manual, stipulates that all vacancies for pupillages must be advertised on the Pupillage Gateway. If you would like to place an advertisement on the Pupillage Gateway and are intending to run your recruitment process without the support of the site, then please complete an AETO Account Information Form and a Vacancy Information Form and email them to the Bar Council’s Services Team at PupillageGateway@BarCouncil.org.uk. There is no cost for those AETOs that are simply using the Pupillage Gateway to advertise a vacancy.

Once your forms have been received by the Bar Council’s Services Team, they will post your advertisement on the Pupillage Gateway and send you an email to confirm that it is available to view. will then receive a confirmation email once this has been done. If you have any questions about how the Pupillage Gateway works, please email PupillageGateway@BarCouncil.org.uk or call the Services Team on +44 (0)207 611 1321.

What information must our pupillage vacancy advert contain?

The AETO Account Information Form and Vacancy Information Form set out the minimum requirements of Authorised and Education and Training Organisations (“AETOs”) and must be completed in full before being submitted to the Bar Council’s Services Team for processing.

The Bar Standards Board’s Bar Qualification Manual suggests that AETOs should provide sufficient information in the advertisement to enable prospective pupils to understand:

  • the application process and deadlines, timing of interviews and the criteria that the AETO uses to assess applicants and decision dates;
  • the pupillage training programme and what to expect from a pupillage at the AETO; prospects at the end of pupillage and the process for applying for tenancy/employment; and
  • the practical impact of the AETO’s equality and diversity policies.

It is suggested that AETOs use the ‘Advertisement Description’ contained within the Vacancy Information Form for these purposes.

Applicants

Can I start preparing my applications to those Authorised Education and Training Organisation that use the Pupillage Gateway to facilitate their respective recruitment processes before the submissions window opens?

Aspiring barristers can use the Pupillage Gateway to prepare and save their applications in advance of the submissions window opening in early January using the site’s Practice Application Form (“Form”), which is available year-round. Data entered into the Form will be copied to the first application a candidate makes when the submissions window opens and any corrections made to that application will then be copied into any subsequent new (i.e. not existing) applications. Please also note that the Form updates your saved data, so it is not advised to fill in test or placeholder information, as this will then appear on your real pupillage applications.

The Form does not include the unique questions that will be asked of prospective applicants by the relevant Authorised Education and Training Organisations (“AETOs”) during the submissions window. Candidates will have access to these questions from late November onwards, when they will become visible under the ‘Application Questions’ section of the relevant advertisements and can then start preparing their answers off-site.

The full recruitment timetable can be viewed here

How many applications can I submit?

Aspiring barristers may submit up to 20 applications with Authorised and Education Training Organisations (“AETOs”) that are using the Pupillage Gateway to facilitate their recruitment process. This information is indicated in two ways on the site:

  1. Go to the Pupillage Gateway, click ‘Search & Apply’ and, when filtering the ‘Pupillage Vacancy Search Criteria’, under ‘Application Method’ select ‘Pupillage Gateway’. The search results will then be limited to those AETOs that are using the Pupillage Gateway to facilitate their recruitment process and any application made to one of the listed vacancies will count as one of the 20.
  2. When viewing a vacancy, scroll to the bottom of the vacancy and, if under ‘How to Apply’, it states that the relevant AETO will accept applications through an Online Form, then this means that the AETO is using the Pupillage Gateway to facilitate their recruitment process. This will further be evidenced through the appearance of up to seven unique questions under the ‘Application Questions’ section of the advertisement.

An applicant can submit an unlimited number of applications to those AETOs that are not using the Pupillage Gateway to facilitate their recruitment process.

Can I tailor all sections of my application to each pupillage vacancy?

Aspiring barristers are able to tailor all the sections of the application form to each pupillage vacancy. Where a candidate has applied in a previous year, their application data will be pulled from their existing record and appear in the first live application they start.

Where a prospective applicant uses the Practice Application Form to prepare their answers first, any information that is saved on that Form will automatically update their existing record and then pull through to their first live application.

Do I need to pay to use the Pupillage Gateway?

The Pupillage Gateway is free to use for all aspiring barristers.

How can I track the progress of my applications once submitted?

Authorised Education and Training Organisations are encouraged to update the status of applications on the Pupillage Gateway and to update each candidate at every stage of the recruitment process. Aspiring barristers can login to your account and view the status of their applications at any time.

What is the timetable for applying for pupillage?

Please refer to the Timetable page on this website.

What regulations govern pupillage?

Pupillage is governed by the rules and regulations set out in the Bar Standards Board’s Bar Qualification Manual, which also contains good practice guidance.

Aspiring barristers may also wish to refer to The Bar Council’s Fair Recruitment Guide which is designed to help barristers comply with the Bar Standards Board’s equality and diversity rules on recruitment and selection. Advice on Equality and Diversity matters within the Bar including recruitment is available via the following link: https://www.barcouncil.org.uk/support-for-barristers/equality-diversity-and-inclusion.html.

When do I need to start pupillage?

Aspiring barristers must start pupillage within five years of passing the Vocational Component (previously known as the Bar Professional Training Course). Where a candidate receives an offer of pupillage and has exceeded the five year limitation period, they must make a waiver application to the Bar Standards Board.

I am an overseas student. Does the Bar Council offer any visa support?

The Bar Council operates as a Licensed Sponsor on behalf of UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and is therefore able to provide Skilled Worker visas for funded pupil barristers and tenants working in chambers in England and Wales, enabling suitably qualified nationals who meet the qualifying criteria to train and practise at the Bar. To find out more, please visit the Bar Council’s website.

I am a transferring solicitor, can I use the Pupillage Gateway?

Transferring solicitors can search for vacancies and make applications using the Pupillage Gateway. It should be noted that Authorised Education and Training Organisations (“AETOs”) are no longer automatically exempt from the requirement to advertise and to fund pupillage where the prospective pupil has been awarded a waiver from the Vocational Component (formerly known as the Bar Professional Training Course), so whilst relevant candidates can also approach AETOs directly, if they are subsequently offered a pupillage, the AETO must apply to the Bar Standards Board for a funding and advertising waiver.

Technical Questions for Applicants

How do I register for an account on Pupillage Gateway?

To register for an account, please visit applications.pupillagegateway.com/users/register and follow these steps:

  1. Confirm that you have read and accept the site’s Terms and Conditions, enter your email address in the field provided and select ‘Next’.
  2. Enter the requested details, ensuring that you set a secure and memorable password for your account.
  3. Click ‘Register’ to complete the process.
  4. Check your email account for the activation email and follow the link provided to activate your account. You will now be able to log in to the Pupillage Gateway using your email address and the password you chose in step two above.
I have previously applied for a pupillage using the Pupillage Gateway, can I use the same account?

Aspiring barristers can use a previous account by logging in with the same email address and password. There is also a password reset option on the log-in page, for those who have forgotten the one that they chose previously.

The information entered into previous application forms will still be stored on the system. It is advisable to use the Practice Application Form to update this before the submissions window opens, so the most up-to-date information is present when beginning new applications.

I can’t log in to my account – what should I do?

Logging in can fail for two reasons;

  1. You have registered for an account but not activated it by clicking the link in the activation email sent after registering. If this is the case, you will see this error message when you attempt to log in: ‘You have not yet activated your account. Please check your inbox for the activation email’. Please check your email account for the activation email, which will be generated by the system within minutes of registering. You may need to check your Spam/Junk Mail folder in case the message has been filtered there by your email provider. If you have problems activating your account, or cannot find the activation email, please contact the Support Team at candidatehelp@barcouncil.org.uk

The password you are entering does not match the password set up for your account. If this is the case, you will see this error message on attempting to log in: ‘Sorry we couldn’t find an account with that username and password’.

Please reset your password by taking the following steps:

  1. Click the link under the log-in area labelled ‘If you have forgotten your password you can reset it on this page’.
  2. Enter your email address and click ‘Reset my password’.
  3. The system will send you an email with a link to choose a new password. Click this link and enter your new password and press ‘Change Password’. You will now be able to log in to the Pupillage Gateway using your email address and new password.
I haven’t received the activation email

Please check your email account for the activation email, which will be generated by the system within minutes of registering. You may need to check your Spam/Junk Mail folder in case the message has been filtered there by your email provider. If you have problems activating your account, or cannot find the activation email, please contact the Support Team at candidatehelp@barcouncil.org.uk

I’m trying to log in and the system says ‘Sorry we couldn’t find an account with that username and password’.

Please reset your password by taking the following steps:

  1. Click the link under the log-in area labelled ‘If you have forgotten your password you can reset it on this page’.
  2. Enter your email address in the form on the next page and click ‘Reset my password’.
  3. The system will send you an email with a link to choose a new password. Click this link, enter your new password and press ‘Change Password’. You will now be able to log in to the Pupillage Gateway using your email address and new password.
What are ‘Bookmarked Vacancies’?

The Pupillage Gateway allows you to save a list of pupillage vacancies that you are interested in applying for. This list can be accessed by clicking ‘Bookmarked Vacancies’ in the left-hand menu. To save a vacancy to the list, do one of the following:

  1. Click the Bookmark link next to the pupillage vacancy in the search results list; or
  2. Click the Bookmark link on the top-right of a pupillage vacancy listing.

When searching vacancies, a yellow star icon will appear next to those pupillage vacancies that are already saved in your bookmarks list. The same star will also appear in the top-right hand corner of the relevant advertisement.

What is a ‘Saved Search’ and how do I create one?

A ‘Saved Search’ is a saved set of pupillage vacancy criteria, used for two reasons:

  1. To allow you to store your preferred criteria so you do not have to fill in the search form every time you visit the Pupillage Gateway; and
  2. To send you email alerts when new pupillage vacancies matching your criteria are advertised on the Pupillage Gateway.

To create a Saved Search, log in to your Pupillage Gateway account and:

  1. Click on ‘Search and apply’ in the left-hand menu.
  2. Enter your desired criteria in the search form and click the ‘Search’ button.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the search results, to the heading ‘Saved Searches’.
  4. Enter a name for your saved search and click ‘Save’.

You can run or edit your saved search by clicking on ‘Account’, scrolling to ‘Saved Searches’ and selecting the ‘Edit’ button that appears next to your search. This will allow you to change your criteria or email alert preferences.

The pupillage vacancies I am interested in have no online application option.

When viewing a vacancy, scroll to the bottom of the vacancy and, if under ‘How to Apply’, it states that the relevant Authorised Education and Training Organisation (“AETO”) will accept applications through an Online Form, then this means that the AETO is using the Pupillage Gateway to facilitate their recruitment process. The Online Form will then be made available when the application window opens in early January.

If, under ‘How to Apply’, the relevant AETO provides candidates with alternative directions (i.e. to visit the AETO’s website or submit a CV and covering letter), then this means that they are not using the Pupillage Gateway to facilitate their recruitment process and applicants should contact them directly if they have any questions about the process.

How do I access a saved application?

To resume a saved application please take the following steps:

  1. Ensure that you are logged in to the Pupillage Gateway.
  2. Click on the ‘Your Account’ tab in the left-hand menu.
  3. Scroll to the ‘Current Applications’ list; and.
  4. Click ‘Edit Application’ next to the application you wish to edit.

Authorised Education and Training Oragnisations are not able to access candidates’ final applications until after the deadline has passed and so they have no way of knowing the extent to which they have been edited. You may edit and resubmit, or withdraw and submit a fresh, application as many times as you please, but will only be able to do so before the submissions window closes in early February.

I cannot save and/or submit my application form. What do I do?

There are numerous reasons that the saving and/or submission of your Application Form may fail.

  1. All mandatory fields (marked with a red asterisk) must be completed in order to save an Application Form and it cannot be submitted without this information. When attempting to save a section of the Form that is missing mandatory information the ‘There was an error with your form’ error message will appear at the top of the page and any relevant fields will be highlighted with the text ‘Please select an option’. Please scroll through the relevant page to identify the error(s) and complete the requested information in order to progress.

  2. The free text fields and unique questions that are asked of prospective applicants by the relevant Authorised Education and Training Organisations (“AETOs”) all have word counts attached to them. Where you have exceeded that word count, the ‘There was an error with your form’ error message will appear and any relevant fields will be highlighted with the text ‘Response is too long, there is a limit of (number) words. Current response length: (number) words’. Please revisit your answer(s) and adjust the word count accordingly in order to progress.

  3. Whilst the Pupillage Gateway does accept certain types of formatting such as bullet points, there are many types of formatting and characters that can’t be brought across when pasting into the application form. Sometimes these are not always obvious or visible.

To avoid receiving a ‘We’re sorry – this field contains unsupported formatting’ error message when copying the content of your application form across, please ensure that you use a plain text format.

On Windows, you can use the combination 'Ctrl + Shift + V' to paste without formatting. If you're a Mac user, the shortcut is 'Option + Command + Shift + V' to paste without formatting. You can also paste text to a plain text editor like the applications 'Notepad' or ‘TextEdit’ before copy/pasting into your application to remove formatting.

The final option is to use an online convertor such as the one found here – simply copy the relevant text into the top box, select ‘Clean’ and then copy the contents of the bottom box into your Application Form.

If none of the troubleshooting steps outlined above work, please contact the Support Team at candidatehelp@barcouncil.org.uk. When raising an issue, it is recommended that you include details of the application that you are trying to make, the information that you are trying to enter, and which field you are trying to enter it in.

Can I download and print my application?

To print an Application Form, please take the following steps:

  1. Ensure that you are logged in to the Pupillage Gateway.
  2. Click on the ‘Your Account’ tab in the left-hand menu.
  3. Scroll to the ‘Current Applications’ list and, next to the vacancy that you would like print your Application Form for, click either ‘Download PDF’ or ‘PDF & Chronology’.
  4. Open the downloaded version of the Application Form and print it as you would any other document.
I have submitted an initial application but some of my information isn’t being copied over to other applications. What should I do?

New Application Forms will only be automatically populated with previously entered information at the point of creation. This means that where an applicant starts multiple applications at the same time and edits the first of them, those edits will not then be replicated across the remaining forms. To avoid this issue from arising, it is recommended that candidates submit one complete application before starting any more.

If you have already started multiple applications, then please follow these steps in order to delete all but one of them and start again with fully populated forms:

  1. Ensure that you are logged in to the Pupillage Gateway.
  2. Click on the ‘Your Account’ tab in the left-hand menu.
  3. Scroll to the ‘Current Applications’ list.
  4. Click the ‘Remove Application’ link next to all of your draft applications to delete them’
  5. Click ‘Edit Application’ next to your submitted application and navigate through the pages of the form, clicking ‘Save and Next Step’, until you reach the ‘Declaration’ page.
  6. Scroll to the bottom of the ‘Declaration’ page and click ‘Send Application’ to resubmit this form.
  7. Start new applications for any other pupillage vacancies you wish to apply for by clicking ‘Apply Online’ at the bottom of the relevant advertisement.

Please check all your application forms thoroughly prior to submitting them.

How do I obtain my individual application ID number?

You are assigned a unique application ID number for each application that you make. You can view your unique application ID numbers by carrying out the following steps:

  1. Ensure you are logged in to the Pupillage Gateway.
  2. Click on the ‘Your Account’ tab in the left-hand menu.
  3. Scroll to the ‘Current Applications’ list and your unique application ID number for each vacancy will appear to the right-hand side of the relevant vacancy title, under the ‘Application ID’ heading.