The tenancy decision

Offers of tenancy are made on the basis of merit only, and by reference to the following objective criteria:

  • Legal knowledge, research and analysis
  • Writing
  • Advocacy potential
  • Oral communication (other than advocacy)
  • Judgment and decisiveness
  • Integrity
  • Organisation and reliability

The rule in Chambers is simple: pupils who attain the required standard in pupillage will be offered tenancy. There is no quota and no limit on the number of pupils who may be offered tenancy in any given year. Our pupils are not in competition with each other, and we aim to recruit them all. There is plenty of work, and tenancy decisions are not made by reference to the volume of work (or the availability of rooms).

The tenancy decision is taken shortly after the completion of the rota period of pupillage, usually around June or July of each year. The pupil supervisors and the other members of Chambers with whom pupils have sat during the rota – i.e. those people best placed to make an assessment of the pupils – together make a recommendation to Chambers regarding the tenancy decision. Whilst the tenancy decision is formally that of the members of Chambers as a whole, that recommendation may only be challenged on substantiated grounds and by reference to the objective criteria for recruitment. It would be wholly exceptional for there to be such an objection and invariably the recommendation is followed and approved by Chambers as a whole (without the need for a full Chambers’ meeting or a formal vote).

We recognise that we have an important responsibility to those pupils who are not offered tenancy. Consequently, those pupils are welcome to complete their second six months of pupillage in Chambers, and will be fully supported during this period. Typically, pupils who are not offered tenancy with us are able to obtain third six pupillages at other very good sets of Chambers, where the vast majority are successful in obtaining tenancy. The skills developed during pupillage with us are also highly transferable, both to other careers within the legal profession and elsewhere.

Please see our Life as a tenant page for further information as to what you can expect if you are taken on as a tenant of Essex Court Chambers.