Gray's Inn

GDL Scholarships

In 2019, Gray’s will award at least £1.2 million in scholarships, including up to 40 GDL scholarships ranging from £2,500 to £13,000.

2019 Applications

The next application period for 2019 GDL Scholarships:

  • opens on 18 March 2019 and
  • closes at midnight on 3 May 2019 

Applications are made via our online scholarship application system.

GDL Scholarships

2 new scholarship at a minimum value of £12,000 and £10,000  will be awarded in 2019 to the most able GDL scholarship candidates.

The David Karmel Scholarships are the other of the Inn’s most prestigious GDL awards.

From 2019, GDL Scholars will receive an automatic interview for the 2020 BPTC scholarships (all other applicant conditions apply).

GDL scholars who are awarded BPTC scholarships for 2020 will receive an automatic £2,500 top up to the minimum BPTC value, (the £5,000 minimum BPTC value will be topped up to £7,500).  

2019 Scholarships

William Charnley Scholarship 1 £12,000 minimum
New Scholarship 1 £10,000 minimum
David Karmel Scholarships up to 8 £2,500 - £13,000
Named Scholarships up to 30 £2.500 - £13,000

Assessment Criteria


Scholarships for the GDL and BPTC are awarded on the basis of merit alone. All applications, and candidates who are interviewed, are assessed according to the Inn’s merit criteria:

  • Intellectual ability: the ability to conduct legal research and give written advice as demonstrated by performance in school, university examinations, the interview and other
  • experiences where appropriate.
  • Motivation and prospects to succeed at the Bar: understanding of the profession, the courts and the steps taken to acquire the knowledge and skills required of a barrister.
  • Potential as an advocate at the Bar: both in oral and written work evidenced by public speaking, mooting, debating, participation in mock advocacy exercises as well as other work and voluntary experiences.
  • Personal qualities: self-reliance, independence, integrity, reliability and the capacity to work effectively with clients, colleagues and chambers’ staff.

References are important. Both screening and interview panels give weight to them.

Interviews are conducted for 15 minutes by a qualified panel of three comprised of practising barristers and other qualified professionals, such as members of the judiciary and academics.

At the conclusion of the interviews panels will agree which candidates merit a scholarship and then determine which named scholarships to award. The candidates’ ‘need’ does not have any
bearing on the decision to award scholarships.


Financial need is considered only after scholarships have been awarded. Merit has no bearing on the total amount of a scholarship.

Means Assessment Panels will rely on the information provided in the Financial Details section of the application in order to assess each new scholar’s means and determine the amount of the
scholarship. The Inn seeks to filter scholars in, not out and to give greater financial support to those with the greatest need.

Whilst it is not compulsory, we strongly advise and encourage you to complete the Financial Details section of the application. We can only assume you have the funds you need if you do
not complete it. 

Major GDL Scholarships awarded in 2018 

  Number Amount
  4 £10,000
  1 £8,000
  3 £7,500
  4 £6,000
  1 £5,000
  4 £3,000
  3 £3,000*
Total 20 £120,500

*Candidates did not apply for further funding.

Conditions for Applicants

Before starting an application, and to find out more about references, conditions and the application process, please read our conditions for applicants and scholars. You must also ensure you read all the guidance contained within the application form itself.

  • You do not need to have a confirmed place on the GDL or BPTC at the time of your interview, but
  • you must intend, and be able to undertake the course (GDL or BPTC) in the next academic year.
  • You do not need to be a member of the Inn to apply, but
  • you may only apply to one Inn.
  • Part time students may apply in advance of their first or second year.
  • You can only be awarded a GDL or BPTC scholarship once.
  • If your application is unsuccessful, you may apply again in the following round. This includes part time students prior to commencement of the second year of study.

Conditions for Scholars

In order to receive your scholarship, you must

  • be a member of the Inn
  • present proof of your enrolment on the BPTC or GDL
  • undertake to
    • qualify for Call to the Bar
    • diligently pursue practice at the Bar of England and Wales
    • commit to support the professional development of future Inn members
  • and keep the Inn periodically apprised of your career progression.

Part time students may receive their scholarship funds in two annual instalments.

Scholarship deferrals are granted only in exceptional circumstances. Scholars must submit a written request to the Scholarships Committee.

Online application system

You must apply for a GDL Scholarship by the first Friday in May immediately preceding the start of your GDL course. 

Apply via our online scholarship application system. 
You will be required to create an account if you are a new user. If you are using the system in Internet Explorer 9 or above, please ensure you disable ‘compatibility view’ before starting an application.

Referees are required to provide references using the Inn's online scholarship application system. The online scholarship application form will allow unique access for each of your referees to provide their references. Details on referee eligibility and guidance for referees on completing references can be found in Notes to Scholarship Referees

If shortlisted, you will be interviewed in June (exact interview dates will be published on the online application form).

Scholarships and benefactors

David Karmel Scholarship

David Karmel portrait illustration

  • The principal and most prestigious scholarships available for the GDL year
  • Founded by a family trust in memory of David Karmel CBE QC (1907-1982)
  • Admitted 1925, called 1928, Bencher 1954, Treasurer 1970

The Anthony Bessemer Clark Scholarship

Anthony Bessemer Clark black and white photo

  • Founded by Mrs Helen Bessemer Clark in memory of her husband, Anthony Bessemer Clark (1940-1996), called 1968
  • Preference will be given to applicants who have demonstrated a determination for the Bar by transferring from other careers

The Ann Ebsworth Scholarship

Ann Ebsworth black and white photo

  • Founded in memory of Dame Ann Ebsworth (1937-2002)
  • Admitted 1959, called 1962, Bencher 1992, DBE 1992
  • Appointed Justice of the High Court (Queen’s Bench Division) 1992; the first woman to be appointed directly to the Queen’s Bench Division

GDL Scholarships

Any additional scholarships are termed ‘GDL Scholarships’

Find out more

  • Conditions for Applicants and Scholars

    All conditions, including the criteria for awarding a scholarship, and guidance for applying for and accepting a scholarship from the Inn.

    View conditions

  • Admission and Scholarship Finder

    Use this tool for Inn membership, what scholarships are available to you and when to apply.

    Use this tool

  • Joining