An embarrassing software error on the Bar Council’s “Pupillage Gateway” online application system has led to the details of pupillage applicants accidentally being made public. The glitch was spotted at six o’clock this morning, but for 4 hours last night the personal statements of all pupillage applicants were publicly viewable.
A red-faced Bar Council spokesperson this morning apologised for the error but reassured applicants, saying
“We would like to reassure applicants that we take the leaking of personal data extremely seriously. Lessons have been learned and we will ensure that this never happens again.”
Before the necessary security patch could be fitted, details of all wannabe barristers hoping to start on the Bar Professional Training Course next October were viewable by anyone using Microsoft’s 2016 “Poisson 1/4” browser.
Perhaps the most unexpected revelation is that the controversial Daily Mail columnist Katie Hopkins has joined Grays Inn and has already been accepted for pupillage. Hopkins, 42, who applied as “Katherine Hopkins,” was a well-qualified candidate and has now been snapped up with promises of a first 6 month pupillage at Goldsmith’s Buildings and a second 6 at Devereux Chambers in the Inner Temple. She has been awarded a £42,500 pupillage award, the first tranche of which will be paid to her when she starts the Bar Professional Training Course in October.
Some of her application dwelt on her academic achievements. Hopkins possesses 10 GCSEs, all at A or A* level, apart from Citizenship in which she achieved a B. She already has a 2.1 degree in economics from Exeter University, although (as her application made clear) she had “actually passed the exam” to read PPE at Oxford.
She explained that her failure to gain admission to Balliol had been most likely “due to patriarchal power structures and the fact that I wasn’t the type of white public schoolboy who had been tutored to impress at interview.”
Hopkins explained that her wish to become a barrister was a long-standing desire (“I have always wanted to be a barrister”), but until recently she felt that prejudice and misogyny would never let her achieve her ambition. It was not until she lost the second of her libel trials last month that she finally realised that she could do better than the professional advocates and she decided to go for it.
“I did not actually attend my libel trial,” Hopkins explained, “as I was advised that my presence in court might prove counter-productive, particularly if I opened my mouth. However, I was able to see and hear most of what was happening by looking through the gap in the double doors at the back of the court. As the case went on and on I realised that with my experience presenting a radio show on LBC I could do advocacy far better than the barristers, especially the idiot representing the kale-chomping irritant Jack Monroe. That was the moment I decided to go for it.”
Hopkins had originally applied for pupillage to a number of well-known human rights and immigration sets, no doubt gambling that her individualistic take on law and order would set her apart from the virtue-signalling crowd.
“The reason I want to become a barrister is that I would like to use the law to make this country a better place. Now that we are leaving the EU and hopefully about to bin the Human Rights Act I’d like to see prisons fuller, all murderers hanged and fat scroungers made to work hard for their state handouts. There are too many refugees living here, most of them bogus, and I would like to be part of a set that takes the lead in working to deport people who aren’t meant to be here. To me, that’s not racism, that’s realism and by working within the law I hope to transform this sad little socialist country into somewhere my children will be proud of.”
Unfortunately none of her first choice of specialist immigration chambers made her an offer. However, her potential was immediately spotted by Goldsmith’s Building and Hopkins will spend her first 6 months of pupillage as the pupil of feminist icon Charlotte Proudman. A spokesman for Ms Proudman said:
“I’m delighted to give a chance to a self-made woman who has been greatly handicapped by the patriarchal structures of the Daily Mail and misogynistic middle aged male judges.”
After a good deal of asking around early this morning, I can also reveal the astonishing news that in her second six months of pupillage Hopkins has been accepted as the pupil of taxation law specialist Jolyon Maugham QC. It is extremely rare for a Silk to take on a pupil and Maugham was not forthcoming when I asked him to confirm the story. In fact he was rather chilly, but eventually he revealed that Hopkins’s “obvious potential” had persuaded him to give her a chance. Unusually, he has agreed a formula with Hopkins under which he can unilaterally withdraw his offer of pupillage at any point up till she starts in April 2019. Sadly I wasn’t able to clarify the position any further as Maugham brought the conversation to an abrupt conclusion pointing out that, unlike me, he was a very busy QC.