Top chambers fundraise bar course scholarship for refugee students

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£20k award to honour public law silk Stephen Knafler QC who died tragically in October 2020

Three top chambers have teamed up to provide a £20,000 scholarship to refugee students taking the bar course.

The Stephen Knafler QC scholarship aims to cover the students’ fees plus a small maintenance bursary. It’s named after public law and human rights barrister Stephen Knafler QC who died tragically in October 2020 after a short illness.

Knafler was a member of London chambers Garden Court, Landmark and Doughty Street over the span of his career. The scholarship came about after his former chamber mates at the three sets joined law firm Deighton Pierce Glynn, who worked with Knafler, along with colleagues at the Legal Action Group, to honour his body of work.

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The three chambers have kicked off fundraising with a “substantial” sum, according to a release issued by Garden Court Chambers. Other chambers and firms have been invited to contribute to the scholarship, which has also received contributions from Knafler’s family and friends.

The scholarship will enable refugee students or those with refugee parents to take the Bar Vocational Studies course at City Law School. It will be awarded in June for students starting in September this year.

Cambridge-educated Knafler was a leading specialist in social care, defending the rights of migrants and vulnerable asylum seekers in the UK.

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Remember – chambers have ALWAYS retained a choice whether or not to take on pupils with a refugee background.

These applicants have always existed.



Not if those refugees couldn’t afford to do the Bar course, which is what this scholarship aims to address.



Fair enough – that pays for the course fees, but the BPTC on its own doesn’t allow a refugee to make a living in the UK as a lawyer.

Chambers need to look inwards (perhaps uncomfortably) as to why there aren’t many refugees chosen as pupils.


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