Funding and scholarships


Significant financial assistance is available from several institutions of the Bar. The main sources of funding are as follows:

Scholarships and grants from the Inns of Court

Between them, the Inns make awards of £5-£6million annually, the majority of which is divided between awards for the law conversion course (GDL), Bar Professional Training Course and pupillage.

All of the Inns award their scholarships and grants on merit, with financial need taken into account by some of the Inns. It is important to note that candidates may apply for a scholarship to one Inn only, and must be a member of that Inn to take up an award that is offered.

For further information on the scholarships and grants available from the Inns, on the criteria that used to determine awards, and application procedures and deadlines please visit their respective websites.

The Bar Council's law reform essay competition

The Bar Council runs an annual law reform essay competition which is open to law undergraduates, GDL and BPTC students and pupils, with prize monies totalling £10,000. 

Professional and Career Development Loans

Professional and Career Development Loans are bank loans that can be used to help pay for work related learning. You can borrow between £300 and £10,000 to help support the cost of up to two years of learning (or three years it includes one year's relevant unpaid practical work). The Government will pay the interest on the loan while you are learning and for one month afterwards. The loan can be used to pay course fees or other costs such as travel and living expenses. You can also use the loan to supplement other forms of support such as grants or bursaries. Because the Professional and Career Development Loan is a commercial loan product, they should only be considered as an option once all other student funding options have been investigated. 

Local Authority grants

Some Local Education Authorities can make discretionary awards for the conversion course and the BPTC. It is relatively rare for such awards to be given but you should contact your local authority to check its policy.

Salaries during pupillage

From September 2011, the regulatory minimum salary during pupillage is £12,000 per annum, set by the Bar Standards Board. Many chambers pay more than the regulatory minimum to their pupils, and salaries during pupillage can be up to about £65,000 per annum, depending on practice area.

Pupillage draw-downs

If you secure a pupillage before you start the BPTC course, your pupillage provider may allow you to 'draw-down' some of your pupillage award as an advance during your BPTC year. This obviously means that you will receive less money during your pupillage year, and the option is therefore only available for students with relatively well-paid pupillages.

Part time work

Some students take on temporary work during the vacation periods during the GDL and the BPTC, building valuable, transferable skills. Some students take on part-time work during term-time, and if they are on a part-time course, full-time employment.