Scholarships and Bursaries

This page summarises specific scholarships and bursaries for aspiring and junior legal aid lawyers; at the bottom of the page is also a list of essay competitions.

If you know of any other relevant scholarships and bursaries, please let us know at


Law school scholarships

Law schools offer scholarships for both undergraduate and post graduate courses (those featured here are those which include professional course scholarships):

Inns of Court scholarships

The four Inns of Court have scholarship for both the GDL and the BPTC; there may also be funds available for pupillages:

Law Society Diversity Access Scheme (DAS)

If you don't have the financial means to pay for your LPC, the DAS might be able to help. It provides awardees with:

  • Finance: Funding for up to the full cost of your LPC fees.
  • Professional contacts: A professional mentor to help answer your questions about starting a career in law.
  • Opportunities to gain work experience: Work experience placements, brokered through the Law Society.

Applicants must (1) be unable to finance the cost of their LPC and (2) be able to confirm that they (a) attended a non-fee-paying school and/or (b) were part of the first generation of their family to attend higher education and/or (c) were eligible for free school meals whilst at school. If an applicant cannot meet the criteria under (2) they may still be eligible to apply for the DAS if they have faced or will face exceptional circumstances to pursue their studies as a result of their cultural background, health problems, gender, sexuality, race, religion or other extreme personal circumstances.

CMS Law Bursary

This bursary is for undergraduate law degrees, paying £2500 towards each year of the degree

The bursaries are open to any candidate who attends a state school; and either:

  • is themselves eligible for free school meals (or would be eligible for free school meals if they attended a school sixth form rather than a college);


  • attends a school where 25% or more of students are currently eligible for free school meals;
  • attends a school where the average percentage of students eligible for free school meals over the last 6 years has been 25% or more; 
  • if now attending a sixth form college, attended a school in Years 7 to 11 where the average percentage of students eligible for free school meals over the last 6 years was 25% or more;


  • will be in the first generation in their family to go to university; 
  • is expected to achieve (or has already achieved) ABB or equivalent at A Level; 
  • will be applying for and accepts an offer to read Law on a university undergraduate degree course which requires a minimum of ABB or equivalent at A Level, or at a Russell Group university.

Inderpal Rahal Memorial Trust applications: April – May annually

Following the tragic death of young barrister Inderpal Rahal a charitable trust has been established in her memory, to enable women experiencing financial hardship to further their legal education. The trust applies to women who are from an immigrant or refugee background and who intend to practise or teach law in the UK.

Each summer, the Trust makes one, or occasionally two, awards of £2,000 towards undertaking or pursuing Bar or solicitors’ exams, pupillage, solicitors’ training, or other legal placement or research in the UK or abroad. Please note that no awards will be made towards the taking of a first degree in law.

If you feel that you might be eligible for consideration for an award, please email to obtain an application form.

Law Society Graham Rushton Award for visually impaired students 




Justice First Fellowship

The Justice First Fellowship Scheme was established in 2014 to support the next generation of students committed to public interest and social justice issues who want to pursue a career in social welfare law.

The Scheme has been established by The Legal Education Foundation, and is supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Unbound Philanthropy, City Bridge Trust and a number of law firms.

Our aim is that the Fellowship Scheme will come to be seen as a route to a career in this important area of law, with Fellows going on to become leaders in their field and important advocates for access to justice and the rule of law.

The Fellowship consists of three parts. To provide:

  1. Pupillage, Training Contract and CILEx Qualifying Employment placements for law graduates seeking to pursue careers in social welfare law;
  2. Fellows with time and resource during their training period to develop and implement a project that will advance access to justice in some way;
  3. Additional support, training and opportunities for Fellows to gain skills and feel part of a wider movement of people committed to access to justice.

Kalisher Trust awards and internships

The Kalisher Trust awards are designed to encourage older students who are intending to, or already practising at the Criminal Bar. All applicants must demonstrate “exceptional promise but modest means” and will be judged against the Trust’s criteria for awards. To make an enquiry about the Kalisher awards, please click here.

The Kalisher Trust also funds a variety of legal internships designed either to prepare an individual to enter the Criminal Bar, or to strengthen a junior barrister’s practice by expanding their knowledge and experience, and helping them to forge professional relationships. Often internships are unfunded, which prohibits those from less affluent backgrounds undertaking such employment. The Kalisher Trust therefore works in partnership with legal organisations and NGOs to offer funded internships.

The Kalisher Trust offers internships in partnership with the following prestigious organisations:

  • Criminal Cases Review Commission
  • City of London Police
  • Amicus

Human Rights Lawyer Association Bursary Scheme: applications open Spring 2019

The HRLA recognises that those without independent financial backing can sometimes be unable to take up internships, work placements and other either unpaid or poorly paid work in human rights law. He or she may therefore miss out on these opportunities and this can lead to their being disadvantaged when applying for jobs within the human rights field. To assist people in this position, in 2006 the HRLA established a bursary scheme to assist law students, either those currently studying (either undergraduate degree, postgraduate studies or LPC/BPTC/Law Conversion Course) or those who have recently graduated, in undertaking such work.

Each year, the HRLA will provides at least one grant of £3,500 and a number of small awards up to £1,500 per person awards from an annual bursary fund, provided there are suitable applicants. The applicant who receives the highest score for their application will be awarded the Peter Duffy Memorial Award. This special bursary award commemorates the innovative and groundbreaking UK human rights lawyer, Peter Duffy.

The bursary money is to be used to enable the successful applicants to undertake work related to human rights law that he or she would otherwise be unable to afford to do. That work need not take place in the United Kingdom, but it must be relevant to human rights law in the United Kingdom.

Study/experience abroad

Essay competitions



If you know of any other relevant scholarships and bursaries, please let us know at