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Essex Court Chambers - 12 Months - September 2023

AETO information
Name of AETO:
Essex Court Chambers
Head of AETO:
Joe Smouha QC and Huw Davies QC
Address of AETO:
24 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London
AETO's email:
AETO's website address:
Main practice area:
Practice areas:
Commercial Litigation; Shipping; Insurance; Reinsurance; Energy; International Commercial Arbitration; Finance; International Law; Arbitration; Banking and Consumer Credit; Civil Fraud; Commercial; Commercial and Chancery; International Trade; Professional Negligence; Shipbuilding; Employment; European Law; Tax
Specialist services:
Adjudication; Arbitration and Mediation; CLIPS; Licensed Access; Pro Bono; International and Domestic Adjudication; International Arbitration; Public Access Work
Number of junior tenancies (in the last three years):
Pupillage vacancy information
Number of pupillages:
Financial support level:
£60,000 - £100,000
Closing date:
9 February 2022 at 2:00 PM
Pupillage start date:
25 September 2023
Pupillage type:
12 month pupillage
Essex Court Chambers is one of the leading commercial sets and has an international reputation for excellence. We offer up to four funded, twelve-month, tenancy-seeking pupillages per year, and from February 2022 will be accepting applications for pupillage commencing in September 2023 and deferred pupillage commencing in September 2024. However, any applicants who wish to advance and start early may also choose to commence pupillage in September 2022, should they satisfy all required criteria.

The pupillage award on offer for those years is £75,000. Of that sum, £45,000 is payable in equal monthly instalments in the first six months, and the balance in equal monthly instalments in the second six months. Up to an overall maximum of £23,000 may be drawn down in advance for the BPTC year and/or for relevant postgraduate study (with pro rata reductions during the pupillage year).

Essex Court Chambers offers guaranteed minimum gross earnings of £100,000 in the first year of tenancy (although, in practice, experience shows that first year tenants may earn something in excess of this figure). Chambers' expenses (including rent) are levied as a flat percentage of fees received and no fixed rent or other fixed charge is payable.

Our work:
We specialise in commercial litigation and international arbitration. Our members have expertise in all areas of commercial law and handle disputes across the full spectrum of the business and financial world, including banking & finance, offshore litigation, civil fraud, insurance & reinsurance, energy, trade, employment and tax as well as public law and public international law.

Our members act in the full spectrum of UK-based litigation, from County Court hearings to substantial High Court trials and appeals before the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and Privy Council, as well as specialist tribunals and public inquiries. They also regularly appear before the European Courts, and advise on and act in arbitrations and disputes around the world, including in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It is the international scope of the work undertaken by our members that differentiates it from many other leading sets of commercial chambers.

Our members:
An active policy of growth and recruitment has meant that Chambers now comprises over 95 members, many of whom are leaders in their fields. The barristers at Essex Court Chambers have a reputation for exceptional talent, top-class advocacy and a client-oriented approach.

What we look for:
We only offer pupillage to those who we think are capable of becoming successful tenants here. We seek to recruit the brightest and best as our pupils. In making pupillage offers, we are committed to equality of opportunity, and we assess applications for pupillage on the basis of merit alone.

Applicants are sometimes advised that a degree from Oxford or Cambridge is a prerequisite for commercial pupillage. That is not the case. We recognise that not all of the top talent is concentrated in a small number of academic institutions and encourage applications from all.

We welcome applications from both law and non-law graduates and for deferred pupillage.

A first class degree is not a requirement. Applicants are required to have obtained, or be predicted to obtain, at least a 2:1 degree; non-law graduates are required, in addition, to have obtained, or be predicted to obtain, at least a Commendation in their GDL. These mandatory requirements may be waived in wholly exceptional circumstances.

We assess applicants for pupillage by reference to the following objective criteria:

• Intellectual ability
• Promise in oral advocacy/communication skills
• Promise in written advocacy/communication skills
• Tenacity, self-motivation, organisational skill and ability to work as part of a team
• Judgment and integrity

Although not a mandatory part of our application process, anyone considering applying for pupillage is strongly encouraged to apply beforehand for a mini-pupillage.
Application Questions

The following questions will form the Pupillage Application Questionnaire section of the application form for this pupillage vacancy. These are included here to allow you to prepare in advance.

  1. Please explain why you are interested in a career at the Commercial Bar. (150 words)
  2. Please set out your exam marks at undergraduate degree level (and above, if applicable) and state where you ranked in your year. (Marks means marks e.g. 65%, not classification e.g. 2:1.) If you studied outside England and Wales, please give an explanation of the marking system applied to your exam results, including (where possible) what is the equivalent domestic mark/grade. If the word limit for this question is insufficient for your answer, please give the answer "Insufficient word count - results sent by email" and set out your results and any relevant explanation for qualifications obtained outside England & Wales in an email to (as well as sending your transcripts, as set out under "How to Apply" below). (1000 words)
  3. Please identify a recent case or development in one of Chambers’ core areas of practice which has interested you and explain why you find it interesting. (150 words)
How to apply
To apply, please click on the Apply Online link below and then complete the online application form.