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.
Criteria for Inner Temple Awards
Scholarships and Exhibitions are all awarded on merit. The criteria are
- - Intellectual qualities (ability to analyse complex information and identify essentials, judgement, perceptiveness, good memory - academic achievement generally being good evidence on all counts)
- Motivation (very high level of drive and determination, commitment to appropriate aspects of work at the Bar)
- Relationships (ability to get on with a wide range of people, diplomacy, ability to sustain relationships)
- Character (calmness under fire, ability to work hard for long hours and against deadlines, sound personal values and integrity)
- Impact (articulacy, persuasiveness, confidence, ability to suit conduct to the occasion)
Financial need is taken into account in deciding the level of award for all Scholarships and Exhibitions 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)
Criteria for Duke of Edinburgh Entrance Scholarship
They are awarded on the basis of academic and general merit, with need taken into account in appropriate cases.
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.
Joining the Inner Temple
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 BPTC course (forms should be submitted to the Treasury Office by 31 May). 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 on-line. This incorporates an application form; financial statement; ethnic monitoring form; and guidelines for referees. 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 that those providing references do so using the guidelines supplied with the application form and send them directly to the Scholarships Manager before the relevant closing date. Undergraduates must arrange for a tutor or director of studies to provide one of the references. Other applicants' academic references may be from the head of a former school or someone of similar standing. All references should be reasonably up-to-date at the time the application is made. In the case of mature applicants, references from an employer are acceptable, bearing in mind that all references should be as detailed as possible. Please note that members of family cannot provide references.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that references reach the Education and Training Department by the relevant closing date: applications presented without appropriate references may be disadvantaged.
Applicants must notify the Scholarships Manager in writing of any relevant changes in circumstances – such as degree results – as soon as possible.
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 interview. Requests for telephone interviews must be made through the Scholarships Manager. Candidates considering requesting a telephone interview are cautioned that this procedure may make it more difficult for them to demonstrate to the interviewing panel the qualities required for an award, and so may place them at a disadvantage compared with candidates attending in person for interview.
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 361 BPTC applicants for 2014 only 100 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 used by the interviewing panels. The Scholarships Manager is happy to advise candidates on any aspect of procedure/application you are not sure about. Also see the criteria (above).
Intention to Practise: Undertaking
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 CPE 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.
Deferment of Awards
An applicant awarded a Scholarship may apply for the award to be deferred, giving good reasons (such as a late opportunity to take a worthwhile academic course). If satisfied as to those reasons, the Scholarships Committee may grant such deferment as it considers appropriate. Each year, any funds deferred by award winners are re-distributed between Scholarship and Exhibition winners as the Chairman of the Scholarships Committee sees fit.
The Scholarships Committee will not usually give consent to defer CPE, Internship or Sir Joseph Priestly awards. Candidates who have been obliged to decline or return such an award may, however, re-apply for a similar award at the appropriate time, and that application will be considered on its merits.