The most recent data from the Bar Standards Board (January 2020) records that pupils and barristers from Black/Caribbean/African/Black British ethnic groups are particularly underrepresented across the Bar when compared to the proportion of the UK working age population from these groups. Black underrepresentation is particularly acute at the civil Bar and, within that, at the commercial Bar.
11KBW recognises that a range of ethnic minority and other underrepresented groups experience prejudice and disadvantage at the Bar. But there is evidence that black applicants and barristers suffer specific disadvantage and underrepresentation, in particular in areas of practice where there has been entrenched underrepresentation.
11KBW is committed to taking real action to address this. We are starting at the beginning. The costs of initial qualification and the existing underrepresentation are barriers to entry to our profession. We recognise the need for financial and other assistance, dedicated to supporting black students on the BPTC, to encourage bright and ambitious black candidates to apply to the Bar and to consider it as a profession where they are welcome and can develop their potential.
As a specific and practical response to the underrepresentation of pupils and barristers from Black/Caribbean/African/Black British ethnic groups at the Bar, 11KBW has established an annual scholarship of £30,000 for a black student on the BPTC for an initial 5 year period from 2021/2022.
The 11KBW Scholarship will provide the successful student with:
- A scholarship award of £30,000 towards tuition fees and maintenance.
- Mentoring from members of 11KBW during the BPTC and pupillage years.
- A guaranteed assessed mini-pupillage at 11KBW; and
- If the student’s score on the assessed mini-pupillage is within a particular range, relative to other candidates, the offer of a guaranteed interview for pupillage at 11KBW.
To be eligible for the 11KBW Scholarship, applicants must have:
- one of the following categories of ethnicity: Black African; Black Caribbean; Black Other; Mixed – White and Black Caribbean; Mixed – White and Black African; or Other mixed background (to include Black African, Black Caribbean or Black Other);
- obtained an undergraduate degree at a UK university with final degree classification;
- been assessed as a ‘home’ student for fees purposes during their UK undergraduate degree; and
- before the Scholarship is awarded, confirmation of a place on the BPTC at an approved UK provider.
The selection criteria for the 11KBW scholarship will comprise:
- demonstration of aptitude to succeed at the Bar;
- evidence of achievement; and
- an intention and ability to practice at the civil or commercial Bar.
11KBW particularly welcomes applications from candidates with an intention and ability to practice in specialist areas of the civil or commercial Bar in which there is an existing lack of black representation.
For the avoidance of doubt, applicants are not required to demonstrate any intention to apply, or in fact to apply, to 11KBW for mini-pupillage or pupillage or to demonstrate any intention to practice in 11KBW’s specific specialist practice areas.
The successful 11KBW scholarship candidate will be selected by a panel comprised of two members of 11KBW’s Pupillage and Tenancy Committee and the following two external assessors.
Paul is a partner at Capsticks solicitors, specialising in employment law. He is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association, Industrial Law Society Law Society Employment Law Committee, Black Solicitors Network, Board Member, an Appointment Panel Member of IMPRESS (Press Regulator) and an external assessor or the College of Policing.
Dr Maggie Semple OBE
Maggie was a member of the Queen’s Counsel Appointments Selection Panel in 2017-2020. She works with many public and private sector organisations at a senior level on leadership development, cultural change and organizational development.
She has held a number of senior roles including being a member of several high profile Government and EU task groups and has represented the UK in Greece and Hong Kong. From 2001-2007 Maggie was a Civil Service Commissioner.
Maggie is a Fellow of the City & Guilds Institute, a trustee of the Kerry Nicholls Dance Company and a Governor of the South Bank Arts Centre.
Applications must be submitted to 11KBW by email by no later than midnight GMT on Tuesday 9 February 2021. Late applications, and late changes to existing applications, will not be considered.
Applicants shortlisted for interview will be notified by 19 February 2021. References for the shortlisted candidates will be requested prior to interviews. Interviews will be conducted (by video) at the end of February 2021.
The selection panel will interview the shortlisted candidates and take the final decision on which applicant will receive the Scholarship.
The result of the Scholarship will be announced, and the successful applicant notified, in March 2021.