Application Criteria & General Guidelines

If you are intending to apply for any Inner Temple Scholarship, the following information is extremely important. 

Please ensure that you read each point carefully and contact the Education & Training Department if you have an enquiry that has not been answered.

Important Notice

Please note that candidates may apply for a scholarship to one Inn only. Multiple applications are not allowed, and the Inns circulate one another with a list of applicants for all scholarships and awards. Successful applicants must have joined that Inn and no other if the money is to be paid.

Full Guidelines & Criteria

All scholarships are awarded on merit.

The criteria are:

  • Academic performance - Evidenced by academic performance at university or academic potential shown through improvements at each academic stage.
  • Advocacy Potential - Deploys precise and well-reasoned arguments, with clarity and fluency. Can demonstrate persuasiveness and conviction, can tailor style to the audience.
  • Legal Comprehension and Reasoning Skills - The ability to analyse complex information; identify material issues; and ability to defend an argument.
  • Professionalism and Interpersonal Skills – Ability to build productive working relationships, treat people with courtesy and respect regardless of their background or circumstances. Responds appropriately to those from diverse backgrounds and to the needs and sensitivities created by individual circumstances.
  • Motivation – A very high level of commitment to a career at the Bar, together with a sound understanding of the profession and any current intended area(s) of practice. Being adaptable and flexible by being self-aware and self-directed.

Financial need is taken into account in deciding the level of award for all scholarships save for the top 7 named scholarships which are of fixed amounts. The criteria for financial need are:

  • Capital/debt (existing and prospective)
  • Income (existing and prospective, from all sources - including any other likely award or provision, e.g. from a public body, prospective pupillage chambers, charity or parents)
  • Personal expenditure (existing and prospective, including fees)
  • Exceptional considerations (e.g. dependants, or special liabilities)

They are awarded on the basis of academic and general merit, with need taken into account in appropriate cases.

Candidates need not join the Inn before making an application but if they are offered an award, they are required to join before receiving any money from the Inn - and in any case, must join the Inn before they start their Bar Course. Please note that if you have a criminal conviction or CCJ (County Court Judgement), the application process may take several months so make sure you apply in good time.
With the exception of the disability awards, all applications are made on a form which can be found online. This incorporates an application form; financial statement; ethnic monitoring form; and guidelines for referees. Our scholarship application form is broken down into the following sections: personal details, school education, higher education, work experience, supporting information, references and financial circumstances. There is no limit on the number of awards which may be applied for or received, bearing in mind that the aim of the Scholarships Committee is to help as many deserving candidates as possible within the confines of the fund. A separate form on-line is available for disability awards. Candidates for Internship/Sir Joseph Priestly awards are required to also submit a covering letter to the Chairman of the Scholarships Committee, setting out their intended project and anticipated expenses.
Prospective applicants must note them carefully: they are observed strictly.
Applicants must arrange for two academic and/or professional references to be submitted in support of their application. All referees should have known the applicant for at least 6 months, and references should be as detailed as possible. Please note that family members cannot provide references. As of September 2018, references will be submitted online as part of the scholarship application process.
Panels comprising members of the Scholarships Committee (if necessary, assisted by other senior members of the Inn appointed for the purpose) will see applicants who are called for interview at the Inn. Isolated interviews of individuals will not be undertaken. Therefore it is essential for applicants to ascertain the possible dates for such interviews when lodging their applications and to ensure that they will be available at such dates if called upon. Interviews held on Saturdays take place normally between 9.00am and 6.00pm. Other interviews take place on weekday evenings, fixed according to the availability of the interviewing panels. If an interviewee cannot, for good reason, come to the Inn for interview (for example, because they are studying of working overseas), the Committee may exceptionally permit a telephone or skype interview. Requests for telephone/skype interviews must be made through the Scholarships Manager.
It is not possible to give feedback to any candidates either before or after interview. All candidates are measured against other applicants rather than against an absolute benchmark. Out of 393 BPTC applicants for 2017 only 101 received awards – inevitably there are those who are disappointed. The panel’s decision is final. To make a good application, pay close attention to the criteria (listed above) used by the interviewing panels. The Scholarships Manager is happy to advise candidates on any aspect of procedure/application you are not sure about.
Inner Temple awards are intended to be awarded only to those who genuinely intend to make a career at the Bar of England and Wales. All candidates – particularly those applying for GDL awards – will therefore be expected to demonstrate a knowledge of what practise at the Bar entails (gained, for example, from mini-pupillages, chambers visits and/or attendance at court), and a clear commitment to making the Bar their career. All award winners will be asked, as a condition of receiving their award, to give an undertaking to repay the whole (or such part as the Scholarships Committee may in its discretion determine) of the money that they have received, if they do not diligently attempt (i) if not already qualified) to do all such things as will enable them to become qualified to practise at the Bar of England and Wales; and thereafter (ii) to practise at that Bar for a continuous period (save for periods attributable to pregnancy, ill health or other factors outside their control) of at least 3 years. If an award winner’s intentions with regard to practice at the Bar alters at any time before the completion of payments by the Inn, notice must be given to the Scholarships Committee, via the Scholarships Manager forthwith and all payments will cease.

Applicants must give all the information asked for in the financial statement incorporated in the application form fully and clearly. Applicants must also state clearly if they have applied to any other organisation for funding. The Scholarships Committee may reject an application if it forms the view that the information relating to means is incomplete or is otherwise unsatisfactory.

In considering these matters, the Committee looks to the future as well as the present, and takes into consideration not only the personal means of the applicants but also assistance currently or prospectively available from any other source.

In relation to needs, all Bar students are, to some extent, needy. What the Committee will look for those factors that make any particular candidate either more or less needy than the average.

Please note that the merit criteria employed for our awards is the determining factor as to whether an award is made. Applicants are assessed on merit first and their financial circumstances will then also be looked at in the same interview to determine the level of any award already secured on merit grounds. Neediness on its own is not a reason for receiving an award. The panel must be convinced that the candidate has a good chance of becoming a barrister.

Any applicant who canvasses directly or indirectly will be disqualified.
The Inner Temple allows GDL and Bar Course scholarships to be deferred for 1 year. Those awarded a scholarship who wish to defer their award should contact the Scholarships Team (, highlighting the reasons why they have requested a deferral. In the past, deferrals have been granted based on financial circumstances (to work for a year to save money); personal development (to complete a Masters course); health problems; and a variety of other reasons. In exceptional circumstances, the scholar can apply for a second-year deferral if required. Candidates who have declined an award may reapply in future years and their second application will be considered on its own merits.

Contact Scholarships and Students Team if you have an enquiry that has not been answered.