The safety of mini-pupils, members of chambers and chambers staff during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a priority for us. Last year, 3VB’s Pupillage Committee designed a virtual mini-pupillage programme for the 2020/2021 recruitment round, and instead of our normal two-day, in-person mini-pupillages, one-and-half-day virtual mini-pupillage sessions took place instead each month between October and March. For the 2021/22 mini-pupillage round we are planning on the basis that mini-pupillages can resume in person, but virtual mini-pupillages will remain available to those applicants who request them, and, in particular, from international applicants. 

What is a mini-pupillage?

Mini-pupillages are assessed and an essential part of our recruitment procedure. We ask all applicants interested in undertaking pupillage at 3VB to apply for and complete a mini-pupillage prior to applying for pupillage.

Mini-pupillages provide us with an opportunity to assess applicants’ suitability for a career at the Commercial Bar before we issue invitations for pupillage interviews. Mini-pupillages give you a chance to introduce yourself to us at an early stage and to demonstrate your interest in 3VB. They also allow you to decide whether our chambers would be right for you.

Mini-pupillages are essentially a short period of simulated pupillage, during which each mini-pupil sits with a barrister to observe and discuss aspects of that barrister’s work. Mini-pupils also spend a half-day completing a short piece of assessed written work. The assessed written work does not require any particular preparation, and 3VB will provide mini-pupils with all relevant legal materials necessary for its completion.


Applicants for mini-pupillage will be assessed against the same criteria as applicants for pupillage and should have, or expect in due course to have, the qualifications required for full pupillage. At a minimum, this is an upper second-class degree in an honours subject, not necessarily in law.

When to apply

3VB prefers candidates for mini-pupillage to apply in the year of their intended application for full pupillage. Because the spaces for mini-pupils are limited, we ask that you only apply for a mini-pupillage if you are seriously interested in applying for full pupillage at 3VB. Applicants will not be permitted to undertake a second mini-pupillage within three years of their first.

In our experience, students on the GDL find it beneficial to undertake their mini-pupillage after they have completed their first term. GDL applicants are therefore encouraged to apply for spaces in our December–March sessions.

When applying, applicants should indicate their preferred mini-pupillage session(s). Applicants may specify multiple sessions, provided their applications are received in time. Please note that, because of the high demand for mini-pupillages, once you have been allocated a session it will only be possible to change to another session in exceptional circumstances beyond your control. 

Applicants are advised that the December and January sessions are particularly oversubscribed and should bear this in mind if they specify that they wish to apply for those sessions.

Mini-Pupillage dates for 2021/2022 are as follows:

Applicants should send a CV (which should include a full breakdown of all university examination results to date) and covering letter to minipupillage@3vb.comHow to apply

Applications for each mini-pupillage close six weeks prior to that mini-pupillage commencing.

The Bar Standards Board requires all Chambers to monitor applicants for assessed mini-pupillage by race, disability and gender. To assist in compiling accurate data, 3VB therefore asks that you complete and submit this equality and diversity monitoring form when applying for a mini-pupillage. Please note that completion of this form is optional, and declining to do so will have no effect on your application. Any information you do provide will not form part of the assessment of your application but will be anonymised upon receipt and dealt with in the strictest confidence by Chambers’ administrative staff.

Reasonable expenses

3VB will reimburse mini-pupils’ reasonable travel expenses, and/or the cost of reasonably necessary overnight accommodation for mini-pupils travelling from outside of London, and will provide mini-pupils with a Travel Claim Form for this purpose. Mini-pupils wishing to claim reasonable expenses should retain receipts and submit a completed Travel Claim Form in the two weeks after their mini-pupillage.

Reimbursement of expenses is at the discretion of 3VB. 3VB will not reimburse an expense claimed if it is unreasonable (e.g. 3VB will not refund first-class train travel if more expensive than a standard-class ticket).

For the avoidance of doubt, reimbursements are not available for virtual mini-pupillages.