Pupillage Brochure 2024

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LONDON BRISTOL NO5 PUPILLAGE 2024 no5.com/pupillage

WHY No5?

No5 has a formidable reputation for forward thinking and being at the cutting edge of new legal ground. We are leaders in heavyweight and complex litigation. With over 260 barristers (including 37 silks) and recognised by Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500, No5 continues to be clients’ first choice across all 20 established disciplines.

Building on its 100-year history, No5 combines excellent standards with a progressive and modern outlook. Covid 19 has only further cemented this well-earned reputation with chambers swiftly adapting to flexible and virtual working for both staff and barristers. There is outstanding administrative support, including exceptional clerks and librarians.

Pursuing a career at the Bar is challenging. Identifying the right set for you to undertake a pupillage at is all too often a daunting task, requiring considerable care and attention.

What marks out No5 is the broad spectrum of disciplines offered, the strength and breadth of experience, the commitment to ensuring each pupil reaches their potential and an enviable record of success with home grown pupils becoming established practitioners, recognised in their individual fields, securing silk and judicial appointment.

No5 believes firmly in supporting the Bar at its grassroots and in cementing strong foundations upon which flourishing careers can be built. Significant time and commitment is invested in pupils with pupillage being carefully structured to ensure each pupil is supported, promoted and encouraged throughout what is undoubtedly a challenging year.

Accordingly, each offer of pupillage is made with Accordingly, each offer of pupillage is made with a view to tenancy. Pupils are not, at any stage, competing with one another for tenancy. That, in turn, leads to strong friendships between pupils to support and encourage each other through a challenging year and beyond.


Chambers seeks to recruit through its own application process up to 6 pupils to begin in October 2024 and up to 2 pupils to begin in October 2023. Successful candidates will be assigned to one of the following groups:

• Business and Property (based in Birmingham or London);

• Crime (based in Birmingham);

• Family (based in Birmingham);

• Employment (based in Birmingham or London);

• Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence (based in Birmingham or London);

• Planning and Environment (based in Birmingham or London);

• Public (based in Birmingham or London).

Applicants will be asked to indicate which group they would wish to undertake pupillage with and, if they applying for pupillage with groups other than crime and family, whether they would wish to be based in Birmingham or London. No5 is not part of the Pupillage Gateway.

• An award of £27,500 is made during the first six months of pupillage with guaranteed billings of at least £27,500 during the second six months. Chambers funds additionally all compulsory training courses during pupillage.

• The application form is released on the No5 website, ordinarily during the first week of January, with applications closing a month later.

• Pupillages are for 12-months on a full time basis.

• All pupillages are offered with a view to Tenancy upon satisfactory completion.

• All members of Chambers involved in the recruitment process, at whatever stage, have undergone fair recruitment training.

No5 recognises its reputation stands or falls on the standard of the next generation. It accordingly seeks to recruit “exceptional” individuals with a first class mind, a drive to succeed, an enthusiasm for intellectual challenge and

advocacy alongside a commitment to No5, the Bar and all that such a career entails.

Successful applicants will have a first or upper second class undergraduate degree, whether in law or another subject and have, as a minimum, AAB grades at A-level (subject to extenuating circumstances). Whether applicants apply direct from university or following an alternative career, No5 is simply focused on attracting exceptional candidates.

Pupillage with No5 is structured to ensure each pupil is exposed to a broad spectrum of work whilst working closely with their appointed supervisor(s). Additionally, each pupil is assigned a mentor, being a junior member of chambers, to offer support of a more pastoral nature.

The entire process is overseen by the Pupillage Committee, Harpreet Sandhu KC, Olivia Chaffin-Laird and Samir Amin. Reviews are undertaken at regular intervals throughout the year for which supervisors prepare reports and provide sample work, as appropriate. These reviews are constructive and informative, providing an opportunity for feedback and for the pupil to raise any concerns they may have, independently from their supervisor.

Shortly prior to commencing second six, an advocacy exercise is carried out before the Committee to further provide an opportunity for pupils to practice, make mistakes and receive feedback, as appropriate, in order to ensure they are as ready as they can be for their first day in court. Further advocacy exercises are provided throughout the year as a means by which pupils can hone their skills before a “friendly” tribunal. These exercises, whilst formidable, are intended to assist pupils to hone their skills and prepare them for their first day in court.


Applications open in January each year and are made via the No5 application form downloaded from the website link.

The application form is assessed by members of chambers, from differing disciplines, to identify whether applicants meet the stand ard for interview.


The first centres on the Application Form, identifying the candidate’s intellectual ability, debating, work experience, hobbies, knowledge of chambers and commitment to both No5 and the Bar. It is relatively informal with general, topical questions posed in order to assess the applicant’s ability to reason and argue a point with clarity of thought.

Second round interviews are offered to a shortlist of exceptional candidates and are far more focused. A legal problem is provided shortly beforehand. That forms the basis for questioning and discussion on both ethics and legal principles arising. Emphasis is placed on the candidate’s critical reasoning skills, not their knowledge of the law. This is critical in order to ensure a level playing field for all candidates, whether they are completing their undergraduate studies or transferring from another career, legal or otherwise.

Second round interviews are intended to afford candidates with the opportunity to demonstrate an impressive ability to analyse, formulate and present a reasoned argument whilst also responding to questioning and challenge from the interview panel.

Prior to the second-round interview, shortlisted candidates are invited to spend a one-day mini pupillage with the relevant group in chambers. This helps candidates to see how No5 really works and that it truly is, whilst of course hard working and committed, also a friendly and welcoming environment.



Prior to pupillage, I had worked in the personal injury sector for several years, and therefore I was eager to join a set who were well established and widely respected in the field. I’ll never forget the pinch me moment when I got the offer: I think my mum rang everybody in her phone book.

I had heard pupillage described as a yearlong interview, but at No5 it never felt like that. Firstly, it is clear you are not in competition with your copupils. Secondly, the process is transparent. My supervisor’s work was reflective of her substantial experience and to attempt to draft pleadings at her level was nerve-wracking at the start. However, each time I did, we sat down afterwards, she showed me her draft, she re-assured me that my first week as a second six pupil would not involve work at this level, and my pleadings and nerves improved!

Every three months I would receive a report prior to sitting down with the pupillage committee. It set out what work I had been doing, areas where I had performed to a high standard and opportunities to improve. Of course, pupillage is rigorous, you have to work hard and you worry (about almost everything!) but the transparency and structure help immensely. I was able to shadow barristers of ranging seniority, in a variety of fields.

I started second six during the Covid 19 pandemic and the first lockdown. I had the opportunity to shadow juniors prior to the lockdown starting and before my first case, I rang a member of chambers to talk through it all. My first trial was by Skype and I realised that being on my (virtual) feet was not as scary as I had envisaged,because I had learnt so much and because there was always support on hand. Since becoming a tenant I have had the opportunity to build up my own practice and to junior for senior members of chambers in a variety of fields.

I moved from a tiny town up North for pupillage to live in Birmingham. Prior to lockdown,I had lunch every day with the barrister I was shadowing, I regularly spoke to the clerking team and I attended balls and dinners and drinks. I also had a brilliant relationship with my co-pupils in Chambers and on the Midland Circuit. During lockdown, of course there have been zoom quizzes, but there have also been face times, zooms and virtual drinks.

For me, No5 provided the perfect platform to start my career as a barrister. Whilst we may be the biggest set in the country, the collegiate spirit of chambers made me feel a valued member of chambers from the very start.

My pupillage experience at No5 started and ended in tears; tears of happiness at being offered pupillage and equally happy tears at being offered tenancy! A lot happened between these two points, but it was an incredibly rewarding experience and I couldn’t have asked for a better pupillage year. There were a few steep learning curves but everyone at No5 was so warm and welcoming and I always felt as though everyone genuinely wanted me to succeed which helped me to push through the tougher moments.

Pupillage is a demanding and rigorous year with lots of worries about how you are getting on, whether you really are cut out to be a barrister and whether you will be taken on at the end. Thankfully, the process at No5 is really transparent; I had regular reviews at 3 month intervals where my supervisor wrote a report against a set criteria and I met with the pupillage committee to discuss the report and how I was finding pupillage. I was told what I needed to improve on at each of these reviews so that I had time to work on any issues before a decision on tenancy was made, rather than those issues being brought up for the first time as a reason not to offer me tenancy.

I was always invited to chambers social events whether it was one of the many chambers’ Christmas parties, informal trips to the pub (all pre covid!) or virtual group quizzes during the various lockdowns. I was really made to feel a valuable part of No5 right from the start.

Towards the end of my first six I shadowed some of the junior members of chambers which gave me a chance to see more of the type of work I would be doing in my second six. It was quite a relief to go from very complex matters that my supervisor of 15 years call was working on to a claim about a burst water pipe and thinking that I might be just about able to do that sort of case! It was also great to get to know the juniors in chambers who had been through pupillage recently and knew exactly how I was feeling. I was nervous at first about being on my feet in my second six but I am so glad that my pupillage had a practicing second six. There is no substitute for taking on your own cases and getting in front of a judge. It also meant that I started my first few weeks of tenancy already 6 months ahead of most of my peers when it came to real court experience!

Members of the Business and Property group are leaders in heavyweight and complex dispute resolution. We have over 50 barristers practising in specialist fields in Business and Property issues and offer appropriate level of counsel for all matters. We are regularly recognised by Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 for the excellent service that our members provide. Members appear in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court and have gone on to attain judicial and political appointments, including as Attorney General.

The group covers a diverse range of specialist subsets including Agriculture and Rural Affairs; Banking, Finance and Financial Regulation; Commercial Litigation; Company and Partnership; Inheritance Disputes, Wills, Trusts and Estates; Insolvency; Insurance; Intellectual Property, Information Technology and Media; International Arbitration and Trade; Professional Negligence; Real Estate; Sports and Media; and Technology and Construction.

As a first six pupil, you can expect to gain experience in many of the above areas of law through shadowing your primary supervisor as well as other members of the group. In doing so, you will gain exposure to advising in conference; drafting advice, pleadings and skeleton arguments; attending mediations; and undertaking court based advocacy. This exposure will be invaluable to you as you start on your feet in your second six.

In second six, you can expect to be in court three to four times a week regularly

representing your clients in interim hearings and small claim and fast track trials. In addition, you will have a healthy paper based practice. Many of our second six pupils assist more senior members of the group by devilling for them or acting as junior. Your earnings are likely to exceed your guaranteed billings.

Members of our group are friendly and diverse. You will find that there is always someone to turn to should you have any questions or concerns, no matter how silly you think they may seem. In addition, the junior members of the group regularly organise informal social events which provide a welcome opportunity to bond, let off some steam and socialise with members in other groups. Throughout the year, the group also hosts solicitors and other clients at a number of social, cultural and sporting events.

The clerks in the group are extremely committed and hard-working. They take a genuine interest in the development of members’ practices and are always on the lookout for opportunities for us to develop business further – whether that be by attending a social event, presenting a seminar or simply meeting a new solicitor for a coffee. As a tenant, you will find that you have a large amount of control over the direction of your career – in particular, over which of the subsets of Business and Property work you ultimately wish to build up a specialism in – and that you will be supported by the clerking team throughout your journey.



The Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence (PI/CN) groups are two of the largest at No5, enjoy a national reputation and include six KCs. The dynamism of both groups is evident from three of those silks having been appointed in the last two years and our continued recruitment of pupils and new tenants. The depth and breadth of our expertise and experience will ensure that you are provided with an invaluable support network during pupillage and beyond. Our reputation secures involvement in quality work, including high profile and appellate cases. We are truly a national set, with three offices.

In your first six you will see work across the spectrum. With your pupil supervisor, you will be exposed to significant and complex claims, seeing clients and experts regularly. You should expect to see court hearings, but also mediation and ADR. As you approach your second six, we will ensure that you gain experience of more junior work of the sort which you will undertake in your own right. In your second six you can then expect a busy court-based practice and to be in court most days, alongside continued development with your pupillage supervisor.

We pride ourselves on our friendly and supportive approach, and you will benefit from this as a pupil at No5.

The groups undertake both claimant and defendnt work, across all areas and at all levels of PI/CN work. This includes complex neurological and spinal injuries, but also disease and polytrauma. At the more junior end, you will find yourself representing parties who may have been involved in road traffic accidents or the employee or employer after a workplace injury. You may represent an interested party at an inquest. Your clinical negligence work may require you to act for those who have suffered as a result of the negligence of medical practitioners or to defend clinicians facing such allegations.

Whatever your interest, there are numerous opportunities to develop your PI/CN practice at No5. We are good at what we do and No5 is a very enjoyable place to work. Our track record in developing juniors into busy silks is proven. We look forward to welcoming you to the No5 Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence groups.


Planning law concerns the use and development of land. It affects the places we live, work, and play, and the way we travel between them. The way places are designed, developed or preserved, impacts on us every day. Environmental law is closely related to planning, and there is a great deal of overlap between the two. Environmental law concerns and regulates the impact of human activity on the natural world and its resources, including the air we breathe, and the water we drink.

No5 is noted as being a “heavyweight in planning” and members do some “incredible work in the planning sector.” No5 is regarded as the “stand out environmental set in the Midlands” - Chambers UK. Members are also noted for their wide range of expertise across construction, planning and environmental matters, including in infrastructure and development projects.”

The Planning and Environment group is home to some of the leading barristers in the field of planning and environment law. Richard Kimblin KC and Peter Goatley KC head the group of six silks and eighteen juniors.

Planning is a branch of public law in which decisions are made by local authorities, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Welsh Ministers, or Inspectors appointed on behalf of the latter two. Those decisions may then be challenged by way of judicial or statutory review. Members regularly appear before all tribunals including the specialist Planning Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. Members also appear in the Magistrates’ Courts, the Crown Court (generally in relation to criminal breaches of heritage and environmental law), as well as the First Tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal (generally in relation to the disclosure of information relating to the environment).

They frequently attend planning inquiries, hearings, examinations in public and development consent order (“DCO”) hearings. Members represent developers, land promoters, local authorities and parish councils, as well as action groups who want to take part in the planning process. Members of the Planning Group have been appointed the Attorney General’s Panel of Counsel and so can advise and represent the government in relation to challenges to planning appeal decisions and to the adoption of new planning policy, for example

Members of the Group have been involved in a number of high-profile cases including the following:

• Nuclear power stations in Somerset and Anglesey;

• Heathrow runway extensions and Heathrow litigation;

• The Shirley litigation concerning air quality impacts;

• Coventry Airport expansion;

• The promotion of new garden villages including one in South Bedford for 19,000 new homes;

• The Thames Tideway Super Sewer;

• HS2;

• The Wright litigation in the Supreme Court considering material considerations.

Members of the group have been involved in some of the most important cases relating to the interpretation of the National Planning Policy Framework which was first introduced in 2012, including thee Suffolk Coastal litigation in the Supreme Court on the interpretation of the NPPF, which involved four members of the group.


No5 is one of the few sets to boast genuine specialist public law practitioners, whose core work is within this area of the law. We are able to provide a supportive pupillage seeking to draw out and hone the very best skills of our pupils, with regular feedback and an opportunity to experience the genuine breadth of options within chambers for development of a public law practice in the formative years. This area provides for a busy mix of paperwork and court hearings. Only those with drive and dedicated to making a success of their practice need apply, as this is not an area for the faint-hearted.

No5’s Public Law Group has an established expertise across the full breadth of public law practice. Its members include leading practitioners in Civil Liberties; Court of Protection; Community care, Health and Social Care, including mental health; Data and information rights; Education Law; Inquests, Public Inquiries and Coronial Law; Local Government; Prison and Police Law. The work we do of course frequently involves Human Rights law and Equality issues. Our members include those appointed to the preferred counsel panels to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Our group is recognised in the leading directories for its work both in London and on Circuit in the Midlands and the south.

We regularly appear in leading public law cases in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, and the High Court. Our counsel are also briefed to appear regularly in specialist courts and tribunals, such as the Court of Protection, the First-Tier and Upper Tribunals and Coroner’s courts, as well as in numerous other venues where key public law decisions are taken, for example in education matters, professional discipline, or Parole Board Hearings, to name but a few.

We are also a innovative set, that, has in place ground-breaking policies that assist all our members (such as maternity and paternity leave provision) and with each pupil allocated a mentor

amongst the junior ranks, as well as having their allocated supervisor for pupillage, and regular reviews with the Pupillage Committee to assist during the pupillage. Our clerks are friendly and efficient, and assist our junior members to build practices based on meritocracy and that frequently enable practice development far faster than at our competitors.


The Family Group at No5 is consistently ranked amongst the national leaders in every objective marketing directory including Chambers and Partners and The Legal 500. We are considered to be an excellent set of Family Law Practitioners with good strength in depth amongst our members.

In pupillage, you can expect a high standard of support from our experienced clerking team and you will be surrounded by a wealth of experience from the 40 members of the group ready and willing to guide you through the wide-ranging areas of Family Law that the group undertakes.

We cover all areas of Public and private child law. In Public law we act for local authorities, parents and children at all levels of the Family Court and you will be exposed to the whole range during pupillage. In private law children matters we undertake cases for parents and guardians where instructed in addition to international child law cases whether they be international relocation or abduction. We also have a national reputation for divorce and matrimonial finance with a number of specialist practitioners covering the broad ambit of financial provision from interlocutory injunctions through to high-asset final hearings involving multi-million-pound settlements.

You will spend the majority of your first six months of pupillage with your pupil-supervisor who will ensure that you also gain experience from other members of our friendly and diverse group. Towards the end of your first six months, you will spend more time with

junior members of the group in order to gain exposure to the type of work you will be doing when first on your feet during your second six months of pupillage. You will also benefit from a number of opportunities to be involved in social and marketing ventures in order to meet and form friendships with instructing solicitors.

Pupillage within the Family Group at No5 will be varied, dynamic and intense, but the reward of tenancy brings with it the security of membership of one of the country’s foremost chambers.


The vast majority of our instructions are in the Employment Tribunal and you can expect to see a wide variety of claims in your first six, before conducting your own advocacy in your second six. The senior members of Chambers typically appear in lengthy and complicated Tribunal hearings involving allegations of discrimination and whistleblowing. As a first six pupil, you will assist your supervisor in the conduct of such claims, including legal research and drafting advices, pleadings and skeleton arguments.

Once you are on your feet in your second six, in addition to a steady stream of paperwork, you can expect to be in Tribunal hearings most days, usually a combination of short preliminary hearings and straightforward final hearings such as unfair dismissal and wages claims. You can expect to progress quickly, however, on to discrimination cases and other more complex claims.

The vast majority of our instructions are in the Employment Tribunal and you can expect to see a wide variety of claims in your first six, before conducting your own advocacy in your second six. The senior members of Chambers typically appear in lengthy and complicated Tribunal hearings involving allegations of discrimination and whistleblowing. As a first six pupil, you will assist your supervisor in the conduct of such claims, including legal research and drafting advices, pleadings and skeleton


Once you are on your feet in your second six, in addition to a steady stream of paperwork, you can expect to be in Tribunal hearings most days, usually a combination of short preliminary hearings and straightforward final hearings such as unfair dismissal and wages claims. You can expect to progress quickly, however, on to discrimination cases and other more complex claims.


The Crime Group comprises thirteen King’s Counsel and 39 juniors, with expertise in the most serious and complex criminal litigation, and instructed in many of the highest profile criminal trials of the last decade.

Our pupils therefore have the opportunity to gain experience from those who prosecute and defend in the most complex and high-profile cases, many of whom are recommended in the Legal 500 and in Chambers UK directories.

Many of our former members have gone on from Chambers to the successful careers in the judiciary.

A pupillage with the criminal group provides exposure to the highest quality work within a nurturing and friendly atmosphere. The first six months of pupillage will be intense but rewarding. Pupils will begin to learn how to prepare cases, research often complex legal and procedural issues and prepare written submissions. Pupils will spend most of their time with their supervisor, but arrangements will be made for pupils to see a wide variety of work with other members of the group. Although there will be occasions when a pupil

travels beyond the Midland circuit, most of the court work a pupil will see will be in the Midlands.

The group’s experienced clerking team will provide support for pupils as they begin their second six. There is a great deal of work within Chambers for junior practitioners so from their second-six, pupils can expect to be busy in the Crown Court and the magistrates court while continuing to work with their supervisor to ensure that the pupillage process is a successful one.

Our aim is for pupils to realise their full potential with our encouragement.


No5 is committed to advancing equality, diversity and inclusion both within Chambers and more generally at the Bar. We aim to provide a working environment and culture which values and recognises difference and tackles discrimination proactively in order to ensure that no individual or group is discriminated against.

We welcome applications from all sections of society regardless of gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion, belief or age. No5 are signatories to the Women in Law Pledge and were shortlisted in the 2020 Chambers Bar Awards for Outstanding Set for Diversity and Inclusion.

Applicants who would like to discuss reasonable adjustments to the application process are invited to contact the pupillage committee.



Applications open on 4th January 2023 and close on 8th February 2023.

First round interviews on 18th March 2023 in Birmingham and/or London.

Mini pupillages between 28th March and 22nd April 2023 in Birmingam and/or London.

Second round interviews on Saturday 22nd April and Saturday 29th April 2023 in Birmingham and/or London Interviews may also be held on Friday 21st April and Friday 28th April 2023.

Offers on 5th May 2023.

Telephone: +44 (0) 845 210 5555 Email: pupillage@no5.com Website: No5.com/pupillage No5 Barristers’ Chambers provides services on an equal opportunities basis and encourages attendance by those with disabilities. Barristers regulated by the Bar Standards Board. Heads of Chambers: Adrian Keeling KC & Jonathan Jones KC Chief Executive & Director of Clerking: Tony McDaid
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