In a rare piece of good news for people with COVID-19, wannabe barristers who self-isolated after showing symptoms of the virus may have received an easier ride in interviews at the Inns of Court.
Earlier this year, Inner Temple interviewed 390 candidates for its Bar Course Scholarship Awards.
11 candidates said they could not attend because they were self-isolating in line with government advice on COVID-19, so Inner Temple offered them telephone interviews instead.
But a healthy student who applied in person said the sicknotes had an "unfair" advantage, because they could google the judgment which candidates were asked to analyse.
"Candidates interviewed by phone had access to the internet and to these case notes", he said, and, inbetween a burning fever, an inability to breathe and bouts of uncontrollable coughing, they "likely looked at these". Those dirty, terrified cheaters.
But the good fortune enjoyed by applicants canny enough to have caught a life-threatening virus didn't end there.
Some people get all the luck.
Candidates had to pick one of three judgments to analyse, but only people interviewed remotely were able to scan all the options first. "Candidates who attended in person could not do this: we had to pick one area of law (each had a corresponding judgement) and could not look at the others", he said. "The interview process was just unfair".
In a statement, the Inn said, "copies of the case and candidate guidelines were sent, via timed email, to be received at the same time they would have received the case had they attended in person. Sending digital copies of the case, via timed email is standard procedure for the Inn, where candidates are interviewed virtually, due to illness or living/working abroad. There is no evidence to suggest that those interviewed by telephone had any advantage over those interviewed in person, or vice versa".
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