Bar pupil’s minimum pay set to increase 

From 1st January 2020 the minimum wage for a pupil barrister working for a chamber in London will be £18,866 a year, whereas outside London pupil barristers will receive a minimum of £16,322. The previous minimum wage was set to £18,436 for pupils in London and £15,728 outside of London. This is an increase of 2% and 4% respectively.

This minimum was only introduced in September 2019, prior to this chamber could pay their pupils £12,000 per year. Furthermore, earlier in the year the Law Society suggested that the minimum wage for a trainee solicitor should be £22,121 in London and £19,619 outside of London. But there is no regulation in place yet stipulating that firms have to pay these wages.

Oliver Hanmer, Bar Standards Board director of regulatory operations said: ‘This increase to the minimum pupillage award reaffirms the BSB’s commitment to ensuring that training for the bar is more accessible, affordable and flexible while sustaining high standards.’

In 2014 the mandatory minimum salary was scrapped by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and now trainees only have to be paid National Living Wage.

Charlotte Parkinson, chair of the Junior Lawyers Division (JLD), said: ‘The JLD has continued to lobby the SRA to reinstate a mandatory minimum salary for trainee solicitors…without current success. Since 2016, the Law Society promotes a recommended minimum salary for trainee solicitors, however this cannot be enforced and the JLD are aware of organisations that pay trainees below this recommended minimum.’

‘A continued lack of a mandatory minimum salary detrimentally impacts social mobility and access to the solicitor profession.’

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