Grays Inn Scholarship Essay

Applications for the 2017 BPTC awards are closed; the closing date was Friday 4 November 2016.

The next BPTC Scholarship application period (for 2018 BPTC awards):

Online application will open in the afternoon of 19 September. This 24h delay is due to an ongoing technical issue and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.

  • closes at midnight on Friday 3 November 2017


All successful candidates will be awarded a £10,000 merit based scholarship.  Additional fundingis available and all applicants are invited and encouraged to apply.  

Please note there are two stages to the application process:

1. Merit

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

Bedingfield Scholarships are the top merit based awards followed by Prince of Wales Scholarships and named awards. 

Financial circumstances are not considered in determining whether to make scholarships or awards in the first instance. All applicants who are awarded a merit based scholarship will automatically receive £10,000 (the base amount).

2. Financial Means 

Additional funding is available. Those applicants wishing to apply for further funding (in addition to the £10,000 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 an award once
  • both your references must also be received by the above deadline

Online application system

You must apply for a BPTC Scholarship via our online scholarship application system by the first Friday in November immediately preceding the start of your BPTC. 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 Award(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 BPTC Scholarship 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 late February or early March (exact interview dates are published on the online application form).

Previous awards

In 2017 188 candidates applied, 113 were interviewed, 59 scholarships were awarded. Of those 59, 50 applied for additional funding.

Awards made in 2017:


Awards and benefactors

The Bedingfield Scholarships

  • The Inn’s most prestigious scholarships for the BPTC year
  • Made by the Bedingfield Trust, established under the will of the late Christopher (Kit) Ohl Macredie Bedingfield Q.C. (1935-1995) for the advancement of legal education amongst members and students of Gray’s Inn
  • The Bedingfield Trustees do not have voting power, but are present at the interviews and may offer input regarding the applicants

The Prince of Wales Scholarships

  • Awarded by the Inn in honour of H.R.H. Charles, Prince of Wales
  • A Royal Bencher of Gray’s Inn since 1975

The BPTC named awards

The Lord Justice Holker Awards

  • Named after Sir John Holker (1828-1882)
  • Admitted 1851, called 1854, Bencher 1868, Treasurer 1875, Lord Justice of Appeal 1882
  • John Holker left his estate to his wife with a provision, not binding on her, that when she died she should bequeath what he had left her to Gray’s Inn. Her will specified that the Society should hold the estate upon trust for sale and investment and apply the income of the trust for the purpose of awards to be called The Lord Justice Holker awards

The Bingham Award

  • Founded in 2015 in memory of The Rt. Hon Lord Bingham (1933-2010)
  • Admitted 1956, called 1959, Bencher 1979, Lord Chief Justice 1996, Senior Law Lord 2000
  • Established following the launch of the Bingham Scholarships Fundraising Appeal  to Inn members 

The Birkenhead Award

  • Endowed in 1931 by Sir Harry Vanderpant, a member of the Inn, in memory of F.E. Smith, Viscount Birkenhead (1872-1930)
  • Admitted 1894, called 1899, Treasurer 1916-19; Solicitor General and Attorney General 1915, Lord Chancellor 1919-1922

The Bacon Award

  • Established in 1873 along with The Holt Award to attract more students at a time when Inn membership was in decline
  • Named after Sir Francis Bacon, the Viscount St Albans and Baron Verulam (1561-1626), famous statesman and philosopher, Treasurer 1608-17, Lord Chancellor 1618

The Gerald Moody Award

  • Founded by the late Dr Gerald T Moody, a member of the Inn
  • Admitted 1910, died 1943

The Holt Award

  • Established in 1873, along with The Bacon Award, to attract more students at a time when Inn membership was in decline
  • Named after Sir John Holt, Lord Chief Justice 1689-1719, admitted 1652, called 1663, Chief Justice of the Court of King’s Bench 1689

The Wilfred Getz Award

  • Founded by the family of the late Wilfred Getz (died 1988)

The Cynthia Terry Award

  • Founded by Master Oswald Terry, a former Under-Treasurer of the Inn, in memory of his wife
  • Admitted 1945, married Oswald Terry 1948, died 1974

The Uthwatt Award

  • Founded in memory of Lord Uthwatt of Lathbury, a Bencher of the Inn

The Steen Award

  • Founded by the late Stephen Nicholas Steen, a member of the Inn
  • Called 1949, died 1988

The James Crouch Award

  • Founded under the will of the late James Crouch (died 1947)
  • Admitted 1909, called 1912

The Sir Dingle Foot Award

  • Founded by Lady Dingle Foot in memory of her husband, The Right Hon Sir Dingle Foot QC (1905-1978)
  • Labour MP, Solicitor-General 1964-1967
  • Admitted 1930, Bencher 1952, Treasurer 1968

The Goldie Award

  • Founded by the will of the late John H C Goldie (1904-1974), a Bencher of the Inn, in memory of his father Robert Murdoch Goldie
  • Called 1929, Bencher 1967

The Albion Richardson Award

  • Founded by the will of the late Sir Albion Richardson CBE, KC, Treasurer 1944

The Wilfred Watson Award

  • Founded by the late Richard Yorke QC, a Bencher of the Inn, in memory of his uncle

The Edmund-Davies Award

  • Founded in memory of the late Master Lord Edmund-Davies (1906-1992) by his family
  • Admitted 1924, called 1929, Bencher 1948, Treasurer 1965, Lord of Appeal 1974
  • The Inn currently supports the work of the Lord Edmund Davies Legal Education Trust

The William Shaw Award

  • Founded in memory of William Shaw QC (1816-1885) by Mrs Mary Bailey, a close relative
  • Admitted 1841, called 1844, Bencher 1880, Treasurer 1884

The Shakespeare Memorial Award

The Richard Yorke Award

  • Founded under the will of the late Master Richard Yorke QC (1930-1991)
  • Called 1956, Bencher 1981

The Patrick Back Scholarship

  • Founded in memory of her husband Patrick Back QC (died 2003) by the late Rosina Hare QC (died 2012)
  • Leader of the Western Circuit 1984 to 1989
  • Called 1940, Bencher 1978

The Denise Pannick Award

  • Founded in memory of his wife by Master Lord David Pannick QC, her family and friends
  • Barrister of Inner Temple

The Headridge Award

  • Founded in memory of Richard Anthony Headridge (died 1995)
  • Admitted 1953, called 1958

BPTC Awards

Any additional awards are termed ‘BPTC Awards’.

The Inn’s scholarships are available to all, irrespective of background, to support students to become barristers. There are scholarships for students undertaking the Bar Professional Training Courses (BPTC) and Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) conversion courses. There are also Residential Scholarships for BPTC students and awards for those in pupillage.

For the year 2016, the Inn gave in excess of £890,000 in scholarships, awards and prizes. 

Summary of main scholarships, awards and prizes

Please visit the relevant section for full details on each scholarship, including specific opening and closing dates, eligibility and number and value of awards given.

If you are unsure which scholarship applies to you, please use our Admission and Scholarship Finderor submit an enquiry.

GDL AwardsFirst Friday in MayJuneAwards for conversion to law courses
BPTC Scholarships and AwardsFirst Friday in NovemberLate February/early MarchAwards for the cost of the vocational training course
BPTC Residential ScholarshipsAvailable to BPTC scholars only. An opportunity to apply will be made available to candidates who have been shortlisted for a BPTC Scholarship interview

The Hebe Plunkett Award

First Friday in May (GDL scholarship deadline)

First Friday in November (BPTC scholarship deadline)

November (Pupillage scholarship deadline)




Awards to assist disabled students/pupils during the GDL, BPTC or pupillage.

Senior Scholarships for PupillageNovemberJanuaryFour Senior Scholarships for pupillage
Ann Goddard Pupillage ScholarshipsNovemberJanuaryFor pupils in whole or part publicly funded pupillages
Internship Awards31 March
30 June
30 September
31 December
Approx. 3-4 weeks after close of application deadlineScholarships and funding for overseas study and internships

General factors

All our scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit in the first instance. Applicants may choose (at the point of application) whether they wish to be considered for further funding based on financial need; successful applicants will then be assessed for additional scholarship funding based on financial need.

With all applications we consider the applicant’s:

  • 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
  • potential as an advocate - both in oral and written skills. This can include 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 chambers' staff

Apply to only one Inn

You do not need to be a member of the Inn to apply for a GDL award or a BPTC Scholarship, but you may only apply toone Inn for a scholarship/award. If you are already an Inn member, you may only apply to your Inn. Multiple applications are not allowed and the Inns circulate their scholarship applicant lists with one another. If your application is successful you must join the awarding Inn, and no other, if the award is to be paid. This rule applies to all four Inns.


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

For GDL Awards, BPTC Scholarships, Hebe Plunkett Awards, Senior Pupillage Scholarships or Ann Goddard Pupillage Scholarships you must 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).

The online application periods open approximately six weeks in advance of a deadline. For all other scholarships and awards please visit the relevant section to determine the application procedure.


  • Please visit the relevant scholarship section to determine the submission procedure for references (applications made via the online scholarship application system require references to be submitted via an online portal)
  • Two references are required (unless stated otherwise) 
  • It is helpful if your referee can express an opinion as to your performance and/or potential in relation to the general factors applied to scholarship applications
  • Your referees must have known you for at least one year 
  • Your references should be from people of standing and one reference must be academic. Applicants typically ask lecturers, teachers, barristers, employers, etc. (If an academic referee is no longer available, for example if you completed your degree several years ago, two professional references are a common and acceptable alternative)
  • Your references are due by the application deadline and the Inn will not chase referees on your behalf
  • You will not be interviewed without receipt of both references

Equal Opportunities

Our Equal Opportunities Policy is applied to applicants for all scholarships, awards, internship funding and prizes:

“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.

Contact and enquiries

For any queries regarding scholarships, please contact the Education Departmentor use the form below.

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