Graduate Diploma in Law Scholarship (GDL)

Graduate Diploma in Law Scholarship (GDL)

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Gray’s Inn grants at least £1.4 million in scholarships annually, including a minimum of 25 Graduate Diploma in Law Scholarships for students on full or part-time law conversion courses. These courses enable students to proceed to the vocational stage of Bar training. Scholarship applications open in March and close in May of the year the course starts. Recipients get at least £2,500, with additional means-tested funding available; last year, the highest award was £12,000. GDL scholars are also eligible for a Bar Course Scholarship interview, with a starting award of £7,500 if successful.

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Amount granted Minimum award of INR 2,60,000
Type of scholarship Merit-based 
Level of program  Graduate 
Application deadline  May 03, 2024 
International students  Yes 
Official URL

What are the Benefits of the GDL Scholarship?

The benefits of the GDL Scholarship from Gray’s Inn include:

  1. Financial Support: The scholarship provides a minimum award of £2,500 to help cover the costs of law conversion courses. This can alleviate financial burdens and enable more focus on studies.
  2. Additional Means-Tested Funding: Beyond the base award, additional means-tested funding is available, with the potential to significantly increase the scholarship amount. Last year, the maximum award reached £12,000.
  3. Progression Opportunities: All GDL scholars automatically qualify for a Bar Course Scholarship interview. This is a significant advantage as it potentially secures further funding and support for the next stage of bar training.
  4. Substantial Award Pool: With at least £1.4 million allocated annually for scholarships, Gray’s Inn demonstrates a strong commitment to supporting students financially during their legal education.

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What is the Eligibility Criteria for the GDL Scholarship?


The eligibility criteria for the GDL Scholarship offered by Gray’s Inn are focused on supporting students who intend to pursue a career at the Bar. Here are the key eligibility requirements:

  1. Educational Background: Applicants must be planning to enroll in a full-time or part-time law conversion course, such as the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). This course should qualify the student to undertake the vocational component of Bar training upon completion.
  2. Intended Start Date: Candidates must be applying for a scholarship in the same year they intend to commence their studies. Applications typically open in March and close in May.
  3. Scholarship Amount: Successful applicants will receive a minimum award of £2,500. There is also additional means-tested funding available, which can significantly increase the scholarship amount, with the maximum award reaching up to £12,000 in the past.
  4. Further Opportunities: Recipients of the GDL Scholarship automatically qualify for an interview for a Bar Course Scholarship. If successful at the interview, the financial award for the Bar Course Scholarship starts at £7,500.
  5. Non-membership Requirement: Applicants do not need to be members of Gray’s Inn when applying for the GDL Scholarship.

These criteria are designed to support students who are committed to completing their legal education and pursuing a career at the Bar, providing financial assistance and incentivizing further professional development through subsequent scholarships for the Bar Course.


What is the Application Process of the GDL Scholarship?

The application process for the GDL Scholarship is structured and sequential, designed to assess each candidate's suitability for a career at the bar comprehensively. Here’s how you can apply for the GDL Scholarship:

  1. Application Submission: Candidates begin by submitting a detailed written application. This application should include all necessary supporting documents and references that highlight the candidate's academic achievements, potential for success in the legal field, and motivation for becoming a barrister.
  2. Written Assessment: The submitted applications are reviewed as part of the initial written assessment. This phase evaluates the content of the application to determine the candidate's eligibility and suitability for further consideration.
  3. Interview Invitation: Candidates who successfully pass the written assessment are invited to an interview. This is the oral assessment stage, where candidates must demonstrate their advocacy skills and respond to competency-based questions.
  4. Advocacy Exercise: During the interview, candidates perform an advocacy exercise that assesses their ability to construct and present a legal argument effectively. This exercise is crucial in evaluating the applicant's potential as a barrister.
  5. Competency-Based Questions: Candidates also answer several competency-based questions during the interview. These questions are designed to assess key skills and attributes essential for a successful career at the bar.
  6. Panel Evaluation: The interviews and advocacy exercises are conducted by panels set up by the Scholarships Committee. Each panel consists of Members of the Inn who have received training in fair recruitment and selection practices to ensure the integrity of the process.
  7. Outcome Notification: After the interviews, the panels convene to make their final decisions based on the candidates' performances in both the written and oral assessments. Successful candidates are then notified of their scholarship awards.

Candidates are encouraged to prepare thoroughly for each stage of the application process, particularly the interview and advocacy exercise, to maximize their chances of receiving a scholarship. Familiarizing themselves with the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) can be particularly beneficial for handling competency-based questions effectively.


What are the Documents Required for the GDL Scholarship?

To apply for the GDL Scholarship, candidates need to prepare and submit a set of specific documents as part of their application. These documents are essential for evaluating the candidates' eligibility and potential for a successful legal career. Here is a list of the required documents:

  1. Written Application: A comprehensive application form that includes personal information, educational background, and a detailed statement of purpose. The statement should articulate the candidate's motivation for pursuing a career at the bar and their interest in the GDL program.
  2. Academic Transcripts: Copies of transcripts from all undergraduate and postgraduate studies. These should reflect the candidate's academic performance and capability.
  3. References: Supporting references from individuals who can attest to the candidate's academic abilities, character, and suitability for a career in law. Typically, these references should come from academic tutors or legal professionals who have interacted with the candidate in a relevant capacity.
  4. Evidence of Advocacy Experience: Any documents or certificates that can demonstrate the candidate's experience and skills in advocacy, such as participation in moot court competitions or other public speaking engagements.
  5. Proof of Admission: A copy of the acceptance letter or proof of application to a law school for a GDL course, if already obtained.
  6. CV/Resume: A detailed curriculum vitae that outlines the candidate's educational background, work experience, awards, and any other relevant activities that highlight their skills and achievements.
  7. Personal Identification: A copy of a government-issued ID or passport to verify the candidate's identity.

These documents collectively provide the scholarship committee with a holistic view of each applicant, enabling them to assess not only academic prowess but also personal achievements and professional potential. It is important for candidates to ensure that all documents are current, accurate, and complete when submitted to avoid delays or disqualification from the scholarship application process.


What is the Selection Process for the GDL Scholarship?

The selection process for the GDL Scholarship includes several steps designed to rigorously assess the suitability of candidates for a career at the bar:

  1. Written Application: Candidates submit a comprehensive application including academic records, a personal statement, and references. This application is reviewed for eligibility and completeness.
  2. Written Assessment: Eligible candidates undergo a written assessment to evaluate their analytical and argumentative writing skills.
  3. Oral Assessment (Interview): Candidates who perform well in the written assessment are invited for an interview and an advocacy exercise, assessing their oral advocacy skills and responses to competency-based questions.
  4. Panel Deliberation: Interview panels, comprised of trained Members of the Inn, evaluate candidates based on their written and oral assessments.
  5. Final Selection: Decisions are made based on overall performance, with panels considering all assessment stages. Candidates are ranked, and in the event of a tie, additional factors such as younger age may be considered.
  6. Notification: Successful candidates are informed of their scholarship award and provided with details on subsequent requirements and expectations.

This process ensures a fair and comprehensive evaluation of each candidate's potential to excel at the bar.


How can you Contact the Institution for the GDL Scholarship?

For any enquiries or doubts regarding the GDL Scholarship, you need to fill the form which is provided in the below mentioned link, to get them answered. 


Frequently Asked Questions 

Can international students apply for the GDL Scholarship?

Yes, international students are eligible to apply for the GDL Scholarship as long as they meet the same criteria as other applicants, which include enrolling in a law conversion course and not currently being a member of Gray’s Inn.

Is there a specific format or template for the scholarship application?

While there is no specific template, the application should be comprehensive and include personal information, educational background, a statement of purpose, and supporting documents like academic transcripts and references.

How competitive is the GDL Scholarship?

The GDL Scholarship is highly competitive due to its substantial financial support and the limited number of scholarships awarded each year. The selection is based on merit, focusing on academic achievements and potential for success at the Bar.

Can the GDL Scholarship be renewed annually?

The GDL Scholarship is typically awarded for the duration of the law conversion course. Details regarding renewal or additional funding for further stages of Bar training would be specified in the scholarship terms provided by Gray’s Inn.

What should I include in my statement of purpose for the GDL Scholarship application?

Your statement of purpose should clearly articulate your motivations for pursuing a career at the Bar, your understanding of the profession, any relevant experiences that have prepared you for legal training, and why you believe you are a good candidate for the scholarship.