The Application Process

Employment Law
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5 Essex Court recruits pupils via the Pupillage Gateway, the Bar Council’s online pupillage application scheme (formerly known as OLPAS and thereafter the Pupillage Portal).

Potential applicants who do not fall within the Pupillage Gateway criteria should contact the Pupillage Committee for further information.

Your application will be considered by members of the Pupillage Committee. When looking at your application form, the Committee will consider the following factors:

  • Academic record (normally a degree at 2(i) level or above)
  • Experience – both legal and non-legal
  • Clarity and quality of presentation of the application
  • Other special / interesting features.

Mini-pupillages in chambers will also be taken into account when selecting candidates for interview and pupillage.

We typically invite around 30 applicants to our first round interviews which are held in mid-May at which candidates will be asked to analyse and discuss a number of legal and/or ethical issues.  We aim to shortlist around 10 applicants for second round interviews. All interviewees are assessed by reference to:

  • Legal knowledge
  • Presentation
  • Motivation
  • Communication and interpersonal skills.

Offers of pupillage will then be made in accordance with the Pupillage Gateway procedure.

The selection criteria for any Gateway-exempt applicants will be the same as for Gateway applicants.

5 Essex Court is proud of our tradition of retaining pupils as tenants. We therefore only offer pupillage to those whom we consider have the potential to become tenants in chambers. Chambers strives to develop all pupils so that they will become tenants in chambers at the end of their pupillage year.

5 Essex Court is committed to increasing the diversity of its members of chambers. To that end it particularly encourages applications from black and minority ethnic candidates, and from those with non-traditional backgrounds. Chambers has a firm policy against any form of discrimination and adheres to the Bar Council’s Equality and Diversity Code.

Chambers is also committed to treating applicants fairly and transparently which is why we explain our process in detail in advance. We ensure that all candidates are informed of the progress of their applications at the same time (so those who are not selected for first or second round interview are told at the same time as those who are selected), and we provide general feedback to all applicants at the point a decision is made on their application. We have, since 2012, published an annual report setting out in detail our approach to pupillage recruitment. The reports can be found here

Unsolicited feedback from applicants has included:

I have been incredibly impressed with the 5 Essex Court pupillage recruitment process. It has been by far the best that I have gone through in terms of transparency, quick response and the degree of effort given to providing candidates with feedback. If only the rest of the Bar were to follow your example!

The approach in the interviews was both professional and friendly. I was left with an excellent impression of chambers.

I thoroughly enjoyed my mini pupillage at 5 Essex and found the people I met in Chambers to be among the most down to earth and supportive barristers I have encountered at the Bar.

Your interviewing process was one of the most friendly, well-organised and positive experiences that I had during my pupillage search..

Back to the Pupillage Page


Pupillage at 5 Essex Court 

A Day in the Life of a Pupil

Life as a Junior Tenant