Inns of Court College of Advocacy and Chancery Bar Association launch bursary fund to support wannabe barristers from ‘non-traditional’ backgrounds

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The Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) has teamed up the Chancery Bar Association (ChBA) to launch a new bursary scheme for ‘non-traditional’ students.

The scheme aims to encourage aspiring barristers who are considered underrepresented at the bar and at the Chancery bar in particular, to complete their vocational studies with the ICCA, an education and training organisation made up of judges, lawyers and lecturers from across all four Inns.

The ChBA is donating a lump sum of £100k in line with its object of promoting and enhancing the legal education and training of those practising or intending to practise at the chancery bar.

The bursary scheme will entitle successful candidates to up to one-third off the ICCA’s Bar Course and, in exceptional cases, cover the full amount. The scheme is available to those commencing their studies from September 2023 onwards and it is envisaged that the scheme will run until at least 2028.

According to the Legal Cheek Bar Course Most List, the vocational bar course can cost anywhere between £11,750 and £19,500.

TODAY: The Legal Cheek December Virtual Pupillage Fair

Whilst law firms dominated the Social Mobility Foundation’s annual employer index 2022 that came out at the end of November, only one barristers’ set (Radcliffe Chambers) made the top 75.

However, some progress is being made to improve social mobility with a group of 20 leading commercial chambers joining forces earlier this summer to launch a new mentoring programme with the aim of encouraging students from under-represented groups to pursue careers as barristers.

The UK Supreme Court has also teamed up with Bridging the Bar, a charity committed to increasing the equality of access to opportunities in the legal profession, to launch its first-ever paid internship aimed at aspiring barristers from underrepresented communities.

The four Inns of Court all dish out large sums in scholarships every year too.

Andrew Twigger KC, chair of the ChBA, commented:

“The ChBA is committed to taking positive action to improve diversity at the Chancery Bar and to attract individuals from currently under-represented backgrounds to become, and to thrive as, members of the profession. It is hoped that this innovation will attract wider support and provide a means of entry into the profession for talented individuals who might otherwise be unable to afford it.”

The 2023 Legal Cheek Chambers Most List


‘Does This Applicant Remind Me Of A Younger Me?”

You could have a bursary fund worth £1 million, but if pupillage committees do not want to pick people from non-traditional backgrounds, you essentially will have only benefited law schools.

There are thousands of BPTC grads out there doing something else.



Chancery Bar is the least diverse at the bar. That’s by choice. Look at barristers’ profiles at any chancery set – they all look like brothers. Usually with matching glasses.

“Non-traditional” students don’t need charity from the rich white man. All they want is to be treated on merit.


Sin Nick


White privileged person should not be privileged but is judged as white saviour when tries to help?

How can white man help if he is condemned whatever he does?

What should white
Man do?



It isn’t too much to ask for those currently at the top (overwhelmingly white, male and middle class) to treat everyone equally.

Don’t need Jesus complex. All those from “non-traditional” background ask for is not to be discriminated against.



But they aren’t ‘condemned’ for whatever they do.

Look at the England football team – they ONLY pick footballers on merit. They don’t care what club someone comes from or who their father was. Thus, they have a team filled with White, Black and mixed-raced players.

No-one has ever accused Gareth Southgate of being a ‘White Saviour’. He picks players who have proved themselves against the competition.

I don’t feel pupillage committees act in the same way.



Your football example is quite a useful one. As you say, now teams are picked on merit, and reflect a pretty diverse society.

But that wasn’t always the case. Black players used to really struggle to get ahead in the game; no matter how talented they were.

I’m old enough to remember this:

Now that might raise a few eyebrows today; but so many black players have said how that match inspired them to seek success in a sport that had previously excluded them. And eventually the mindset of managers and fans also changed. (Although even today some fans aren’t exactly welcoming to black players).

I’m not sure what an equivalent paradigm shifting event might be for the legal profession; but I think we do need one.



Realise you can never win the virtue-signalling game, so don’t play it.

Just continue to quietly judge all people by the content of their character only, and don’t expect a reward for it. Then, with a little luck, at least you won’t lose.


Free Speech

Legal Cheek blocks freedom of speech. If I am wrong, this will show up.



A one-off collection of £100,000 is chicken feed compared to the billings successful chancery barristers can make.

That fund could perhaps cover the BPTC fees of around 5-6 students (at c. £19k)? How many of those 5-6 BPTC students are going to successfully secure pupillage, let alone chancery ones when the current ratio of applicants to pupillage places at the Bar is about 1:8???

So many statements, so many tweets and so much promotion. But when you look behind the typed words and break it all down, it’s all meaningless isn’t it?


FFS indeed

If you are good enough there is no problem.



£100K is chicken feed whatever the situation, dear boy.


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