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.

Guru Nanak Social Mobility Scholarships: applications are currently closed; check back in August 2020.


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.

Positions will be advertised from May 2020. Applications will open in August 2020 and close in September 2020. The full timetable can be found here.

Kalisher Trust awards 

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 email

Inderpal Rahal Memorial Trust applications: March-April 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 blind and partially sighted law students 

Graham Rushton was a blind lawyer who left a considerable sum of money to RNIB as a legacy, the interest earned on which is to be spent on assisting blind and parti
sighted law students studying English Law in the United Kingdom.

RNIB and the Society of Visually Impaired Lawyers have worked in partnership to establish an annual grant award from the legacy.

The Graham Rushton Award is a grant of around £7,000 annually for which blind and partially sighted people can apply.

Who can apply?

Anyone who is studying English law in the United Kingdom, whether for a degree, a post-degree conversion qualification or a post-degree training course and who will be doing so in the next academic year. Priority will, however be given to applicants who have reached a stage in their studies where government funded student loans are not available, such as a Legal Practice Course (LPC) or Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), and to those who have not previously benefited from a Graham Rushton Award.

Before being awarded any money, applicants may be required to demonstrate that one or more of the following applies. They must:

  • have a confirmed place on a course
  • be studying English Law within the United Kingdom
  • be able to provide proof of registration of sight loss.
  • have proof of a current or offered training contract or other legal position

How do you apply?

Contact Kudirat Adeniyi at RNIB on 020 7391 2057 or e-mail  to request a Graham Rushton Grant application pack in your preferred format.

The application form will ask for personal details about yourself, and your previous, current and future studies.

You will also be asked to provide the following information:

  • proof of registration of sight loss
  • A full transcript of academic grades to date and/or a copy of your degree certificate.

You will also be asked to complete a personal statement that includes the following:

  • financial reasons for requesting the grant
  • the legal area within which you plan to work and why
  • whether you have a contract of employment following the completion of your course and if so, who with
  • whether you already have, or are currently seeking, any other additional funding
  • your long term legal career plans, it is important to explain your chosen career path within the Law
  • Names and contact details of two referees.

How is the grant recipient decided?

  • All applications will be judged by a panel made up of blind and partially sighted lawyers and RNIB professionals.
  • Short listed applicants will be invited to attend a formal interview with the panel.
  • Please note: If the panel decide that more than one applicant meets the criteria, the grant may be split between a number of people.

The deadline for completed applications is usually the end of March. The grant is usually allocated by 31 July.

If you need further information or require this information in large print, Braille or electronic format please call 020 7391 2057 or email


Human Rights Lawyer Association Bursary Scheme: application window under review – check website for updates

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.

Kalisher trust internships

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
  • Amicus
  • Doughty Street Chambers & the Death Penalty Project

Study/experience abroad

  • HM Hubbard Law Scholarshipawarded annually to postgraduate law students, trainee solicitors or qualified law solicitors who wish to study law in Canada, France or Spain. Will re-launch autumn 2020
  • Pegasus Trustmultiple scholarships awarded annually to barristers from any Inn of Court up to five years in practice.

Essay competitions

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