Conditions for Applicants and Scholars
1. Applying for a scholarship or award
a. Do I have to intend to pursue a career at the Bar of England and Wales in order to apply?
b. What are the deadlines for application?
Please visit the relevant section for information about deadlines for submission of applications and references.
c. Can part time students apply?
Yes. Part time students may apply in advance of their first or second year. Part time students may only receive an award once.
d. What are the general factors applied when considering applications?
- Intellectual ability: The ability to conduct legal research and give written advice, as demonstrated by performance in school and university examinations, the interview and, where appropriate, other experience
- Motivation to succeed at the Bar: Knowledge of the profession and the courts, and steps taken to acquire the personal skills required of a barrister, will be taken into account
- Potential as an advocate: Both in oral and written skills. This can include the applicant’s experience in public speaking, mooting, debating, participation in mock advocacy exercises, etc.
- Personal qualities: The qualities required of members of the Bar include self-reliance, independence, integrity, reliability, and the capacity to work effectively with clients, colleagues and chamber’s staff
- References are important; both short listing and interviewing panels give substantial weight to references
- References are due by the same application deadline - give referees plenty of time to complete and submit references. The Inn will not chase referees on behalf of a candidate
- Two references are required for all scholarships or awards. One reference must be academic unless the academic referee is no longer available; for example if the candidate completed his or her degree several years ago. In this case two professional references are a common and acceptable alternative
- References should be from people of standing, who are NOT relatives, and who have known the candidate for at least one year. Candidates typically ask lecturers, teachers, barristers, employers, etc. It is helpful if the referees can express an opinion as to the candidate's performance/potential in relation to the ‘general factors’ set out above (under 1d)
- Candidates will NOT be interviewed without receipt of both references
- Referees are required to provide references using the Inn's online scholarship system. The online scholarship application form will allow unique access for each of your referees to provide their references. Further details on referee eligibility and guidance for referees on completing references can be found in Notes to Scholarship Referees.
f. Does the Inn interview all applicants?
No. Following the application deadline a shortlist will be drawn and candidates will receive a letter informing them whether or not they have been selected for interview. Short-listed candidates will be interviewed by a panel and assessed on the criteria set out above. Interviews typically last for about 15 minutes.
g. If I am invited to interview, can I change the date and time to better suit my diary commitments?
No. Please note the interview dates and commit these to your diary.
h. Will the interview panel interview me by teleconference if I am unable to attend in person?
Yes and no.
- For the GDL and the BPTC interviews, you must attend in person - the Inn will not interview you by teleconference
- For other scholarships, awards and internship funding interviews, the Inn will consider the candidate’s circumstances and may allow a teleconference or video interview
- Candidates must seek permission from the Director of Education well in advance of the interview
a. Does the Inn exclude anyone from applying for a scholarship or award?
The Inn's Equal Opportunities policy is applied to applicants for all scholarships, awards, internship funding and prizes and includes the following:
“This Society, in common with the other Inns, is committed to a policy of fairness and equality of opportunity without discrimination on grounds of race, ethnic origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, religion or political persuasion or, from October 2006, age (‘prohibited grounds’). The Society will have regard to the needs of disabled persons and will comply with such provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and of Regulations and Codes made under it as may be in force from time to time and which apply to them.”
A complete copy of the Inn's Code, and of the complaints procedure, is available on request from the Director of Education.
b. Can I apply to more than one Inn for a scholarship or award?
No. A candidate may only apply to one Inn for scholarships and awards. Multiple applications are not allowed and the Inns exchange information about those who have applied. Any student applying for a scholarship or award from Gray’s Inn who makes a similar application to another Inn or joins another Inn will not be entitled to a scholarship or award. Please note this rule applies to all four Inns.
Please note: The Pegasus Awards, The Harold G. Fox and The Hon. Sir Peter Bristow Scholarships are administered by other Inns.
c. Do I have to be a member of an Inn to apply for an award?
Yes and no. You do not need to have Inn membership in order to apply for a GDL, BPTC or Hebe Plunkett Award (if the latter is to be applied to the GDL or BPTC). You do need to be a member of the Inn to apply for any other of the Inn’s scholarships and awards.
d. Can I apply for multiple scholarships and awards from the Inn?
Yes. A candidate may hold different scholarships or awards in successive years, but with the exception of the Hebe Plunkett Award, prizes and internship funding, may not hold more than one scholarship or award in any one year.
e. What if I am unsuccessful in my first application for a scholarship or award? Can I apply again?
Yes. An applicant can re-apply if unsuccessful in the previous application. This includes part time students. Re-applications must be submitted in advance of the first (full time or part time) or second year (part time). The same deadlines apply, and for the GDL, the BPTC and Senior Scholarships, the re-application must be submitted in advance of undertaking the course or pupillage. If part time students applied unsuccessfully prior to the start of the first year of study, they can re-apply prior to the start of the second year and the Chairman / Vice Chairman have a discretion, exercisable on the recommendation of the interviewing panel to make an award in respect of both years. Note: an applicant for a Senior Scholarship must have a pupillage in order to apply.
f. Will the Inn retain and/or use the information I supply in my application?
Yes. The Inn will use the information you provide to administer and determine your application. This may include information from third parties, for example the references that you arrange to be provided. We will disclose this information to the committees and interviewers who consider your application. If and/or when you become a member of the Inn, your application & references will be kept in your membership file.
We may share information about your identity with the other Inns of Court for the administration of the scholarship process. If you are successful, your name will be published in the Times together with the name of the scholarship you receive.
The information provided on the Ethnic Monitoring form is entirely voluntary and will not affect your application. This information will be provided, nameless, to the Race Relations Committee of the General Council of the Bar for the monitoring of the ethnic origin of candidates.
Your information is protected under the Data Protection Act 1998. You have the right to request a copy of your data and to have inaccuracies corrected in the circumstances set out in the Act.
g. Do I have to indicate on my application for a scholarship or award whether there may be a matter which calls into question whether I am a fit and proper person to become a practising barrister?
No, but please be aware:
- If you are awarded a scholarship, award or internship funding, you must be a member of the Inn before any funds will be paid
- In order to become a member of the Inn, the Inn must be satisfied that you are a fit and proper person to become a practicing barrister
- When you apply to become a member of the Inn, you must disclose any matter which might reasonably be thought to call into question your fitness to become a practicing barrister
- Matters that call into question your fitness to practise will be referred to the Inns’ Conduct Committee [ICC] to decide whether you are eligible for admission to the Inn
- If the ICC decides not to admit you, you will not be eligible for your scholarship
The Bar Standards Board Handbook governs the Inns of Court and states under Part 4 (Admission to an Inn of Court) that in order to be eligible for admission to an Inn of Court a person must “be a fit and proper person to become a practicing barrister". It also states "if the applicant for admission to an Inn falls within Rule Q17, the Inn must refer the question whether the applicant is a fit and proper person to become a practicing barrister to the Inns’ Conduct Committee to decide. An applicant falls within Rule Q17 if:
- the applicant has been convicted of a Criminal Offence (or is the subject of pending Criminal Proceedings) or
- the applicant has been convicted of a disciplinary offence by a professional or regulatory body (or is the subject of pending proceedings for such an offence) or
- the applicant has been the subject of a Bankruptcy Order or Directors Disqualification Order or entered into an individual voluntary arrangement with creditors or
- the applicant has previously been refused admission to or expelled from an Inn or
- there is any other circumstance which in the opinion of the Inn calls into question the applicant’s fitness to become a practicing barrister"
3. Conditions for scholars
a. Do I have to be a member of the Inn to receive my scholarship or award?
Yes. If you accept an offer of a scholarship or award from the Inn, you must have joined that Inn (and no other) by the admission application deadline, 31 May, if the money is to be paid.
All conditions applicable to a scholarship, award or prize must be met before any payment is made.
b. Do I have to intend to practise at the Bar of England and Wales.
Yes. All scholarship and award holders are required to sign a declaration that they intend to qualify for Call to the Bar and that they intend to practise at the Bar of England and Wales. If at any time before completing pupillage a person becomes unable to comply with the undertaking given, the scholar must report that fact to the Director of Education and may at the discretion of the Scholarships Committee be required to repay all or part of any sums awarded.
c. How will my scholarship or award be paid?
Cheques for the scholarships and awards for the GDL and BPTC will be paid directly to the candidate and will be available for collection from the Education Department in the autumn, following (1) confirmation of Gray’s Inn membership and (2) confirmation from the successful candidates’ course providers that they have commenced and enrolled on their courses. Those studying at validated institutions outside of London may make arrangements to have payment sent to them. Scholarships and awards may be paid in instalments at the discretion of the Scholarships Committee.
d. Am I allowed to defer my scholarship or award?
Yes and no. The Inn expects scholarships and awards to be used in the year in which they are made. Deferrals will not be granted to those wishing to delay the start of the year of study for which the scholarship was granted in order to obtain a further degree or to undertake an additional academic pursuit.
A scholarship or award that has already been made to an applicant may be deferred on compassionate grounds. A written request setting out the reasons why the deferral is being requested must be submitted to the Director of Education who will consult the Scholarships Committee.