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COVID-19 & Law Update: Online Summer Schemes, BSB Exams & COVID-19 Scholarships

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How has the COVID-19 pandemic been affecting the legal industry over the last week? Read on to find out.

Law Firm Summer Schemes

There has been an update in the list of firms and chambers reported to be moving to provide their summer work experience schemes online.

Herbert Smith Freehills has cancelled its 2020 summer vacation scheme. A spokesperson for HSF confirmed that all three summer vacation schemes will be cancelled and instead, students will be invited to interview for a training contract. The firm will hold a four-day long virtual vacation scheme for those who are successful.

The Bar Standards Board Makes Some Important Announcements

The BSB has announced that its assessments, which were postponed from April to August 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are to be given using Pearson VUE’s OnVUE secure global online proctoring solution, which will enable students to sit their exams remotely.

The remote exams will take place on the following dates:

Professional Ethics: 13 and 14 August
Civil Litigation: 17 and 18 August
Criminal Litigation: 20 and 21 August

The BSB has also confirmed that anyone due to complete their BPTC or BTT who has been offered a pupillage will be able to move forward with the beginning of their pupillage whilst waiting for results to be published in November as long as the pupillage provider thinks this is permissible.

The BCAT will also reopen for registration before the beginning of June and will be available as a computer-based test that can be taken remotely.

For more information visit the BSB’s website.

The University of Law Announces a Scholarship fund for those Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic

The University of Law, one of the UK’s key providers of legal education, has announced its Career Changer scholarship to support those whose jobs have been affected by the pandemic and want to re-train or re-direct their careers. The scholarship will provide up to 10 full fee scholarships and 300 individual awards as part of a £750,000 fund, to cover all or some of the course fees.

The scholarship provides an opportunity to study a range of programmes: MSc, GDL or MA Law, LPC, LLM or BPC. On the other hand, applicants could undertake study in the ULaw Business School, or utilise opportunities within the ULaw professional policing programme.

The scholarship is available for September 2020 enrolment and the deadline for registration is 1st August 2020.

New Jury Trials to Resume this Month

Since new jury trials were suspended at the end of March, the Jury Trials Working Group chaired by Mr Justice Edis has undergone intensive work to ensure that a small number of jury trials may commence safely.

After discussion with the Lord Chancellor, Lord Burnett of Maldon – The Lord Chief Justice – has decided that new trials may start in a few courts next week provided there are special arrangements made to maintain the safety of participants and that the trials can be carried out in line with the Public Health England and Public Health Wales guidance.

The initial courts where juries can be sworn will be the Central Criminal Court at the Old Bailey in London and Cardiff Crown Court.

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