Gray's Inn

GDL Awards

The next GDL Scholarship application period (for 2019 scholarships):

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


All successful candidates will be awarded a £3000 merit based scholarship.  Additional funding is available and all applicants are invited and encouraged to apply.  

Please note there are two stages to the application process:

1. Merit

Scholarships are made solely on the basis of the applicant's satisfaction of the Inn's merit based criteria; intellectual ability, motivation and prospects to succeed at the Bar, potential to succeed as an advocate and other personal qualities.

David Karmel Scholarships are the top merit based scholarships followed by other named Scholarships. 

Financial circumstances are not considered in determining whether to make scholarships in the first instance. All applicants who are awarded a merit based scholarship will automatically receive £3000 (the base amount).

2. Financial Means 

Additional funding is available. Those applicants wishing to apply for further funding (in addition to the £3000 base amount), are encouraged to complete the Financial Details section contained within the application form.


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.

Please note:

  • you do not have to be a member at the point of applying, but you must become a member to receive funds if your application is successful
  • you may only apply to one Inn
  • you do not require a confirmed place on the course at the point of applying, but you must provide proof of enrolment to receive funds if your application is successful
  • you can apply if you are taking the course part time (a 2 year course) - you can apply in advance of either year, but you can only receive a scholarship once
  • you can apply if you are undertaking a senior status law degree (having previously completed a non-law degree)
  • both your references must also be received by the above deadline

Online application system

You must apply for a GDL Scholarship via our online scholarship application system system by the first Friday in May immediately preceding the start of your GDL course. 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.

An application for a Hebe Plunkett Scholarship (for disabled students and pupils, in particular those who are blind or partially sighted, requiring financial assistance on the GDL, the BPTC or during pupillage) can also be made in tandem with your GDL application. 

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. 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).

Previous scholarships

In 2017 Gray’s Inn received 34 applications for GDL scholarship, 21 were shortlisted for interview and 12 scholarships were awarded. Of those 12, 7 applied for additional funding.

  No. Amount
David Karmel Scholarship 2 £11,000
  2 £7,000
  1 £5,000
Ann Ebsworth Scholarship 1 £11,000
Anthony Bessemer Clark Scholarship 1 £8,000
GDL Scholarship 1 £11,000
  1 £7,000
  3 £4,000
Total 12 £90,000

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