Fellowships, Bursaries & Prizes

Throughout the year, King’s Inns offers a limited number of Fellowships, Scholarships, Bursaries and Prizes to prospective and current students.


Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) – degree of Barrister–at–Law course

SUSI is Ireland’s single national awarding authority for all higher and further education grants. Our degree of Barrister–at–Law course is eligible for postgraduate funding, view here. Only students sitting the full–time course can recieve SUSI support.

The online application system for new and renewal grant applications for the academic year opens usually around April every year. Keep an eye on their website here: susi.ie

Fellowships and Scholarships

Denham Fellowship – degree of Barrister–at–Law

The Denham Fellowship, named after The Hon. Mrs. Justice Susan Denham, former Chief Justice, assists two aspiring barristers annually who come from socio–economically disadvantaged backgrounds to gain access to professional legal education at King’s Inns and professional practice at the Law Library.

The Fellowship, which is being run by The Bar of Ireland in association with King’s Inns, endeavours to encourage more diversity in the legal profession. Denham Fellows will be provided with financial, educational and professional support from point of entry to the Barrister–at–Law degree programme here at King’s Inns all the way through their first four years of practice at the Law Library culminating in a five year programme and ultimately in what is going to be a successful and rewarding career at the Bar. 

The Denham Fellowship is a standalone programme, however it seeks to act as a follow on from the many and various well–established access routes to third level education, which are specifically targeted at students from socio–economic disadvantaged backgrounds, currently in operation across universities and other Higher Education Institutions in Ireland. With this in mind, the Fellowship seeks to complement existing access initiatives by bridging the gap between higher education and access to professional practice.

Each year The Bar of Ireland in association with King’s Inns, may award the Fellowship to aspiring barristers from disadvantaged socio–economic backgrounds that satisfy the requirements for admittance as a Student Member of King’s Inns but face exceptional hardship. The Denham Fellowship consists of:

  • Remission of fees to King’s Inns course leading to the degree of Barrister–at–Law, including the Entrance Examination Fee and any repeat assessments;
  • Waived Law Library Fees for the first four years of practice at The Bar of Ireland, including the Entrance Fee;
  • An annual stipend of €6,000 for a period of 5 years (6 years for Modular part–time students), commencing at the start of the degree of Barrister–at–Law programme, to go towards accommodation and living expenses;
  • Three mentors to be assigned to each Denham Fellow for the duration of the fellowship; one from the judiciary; one senior member of The Bar of Ireland; one junior member of The Bar of Ireland;
  • Support in locating a Master for each year of devilling.

Full Fellowship details and the application forms can be viewed on The Bar of Ireland website.

Deadline for Applications: Deadline for receipt of completed applications forms with all accompanying documentation by Monday, 6 December 2021 at 5 pm.

apply here

Maurice Gaffney Scholarship – Diploma in Legal Studies remission of fees

The Fellowship is named in honour of Maurice Gaffney SC (1916–2016). Holding a BA in Economics from UCD (1939) and H. Dip in Education (1943) Maurice Gaffney was a teacher at Glenstal Abbey and at James’s Street, Dublin, who studied for the Bar at night being admitted to the degree of Barrister–at–Law at King’s inns in 1954. Maurice Gaffney was made Senior Counsel in 1970 and practised at the Bar of Ireland for 62 years until his death aged 100 years. He worked in criminal law, conveyancing and property, landlord and tenant and employment law and served as Chairman of the Employment Appeals Tribunal. 

The Maurice Gaffney Fellowship provides that the Education Committee of King’s Inns may remit course fees payable by students who face exceptional hardship and wish to attend the course leading to the Diploma in Legal Studies.

Deadline for Applications: Applications open May to June each year. 



Niall and Barbara McCarthy Bursary – degree of Barrister–at–Law course and Strasbourg Internship

Mr Justice Niall St John McCarthy (1925–92) and his wife Barbara McCarthy (nee Foley) died in a road traffic accident in 1992. Mr Justice McCarthy was educated at Clongowes Wood College and UCD, admitted to the degree of Barrister–at–Law at King’s Inns in 1946, made Senior Counsel in 1959, Chairman Irish Bar Council 1980–82, appointed as Judge of the Supreme Court 1982–92. In 2002, on the tenth anniversary of the death of their parents, the adult McCarthy children created the Niall and Barbara McCarthy bursary, making a generous contribution with further support provided by McCarthy friends, members of the Judiciary, the Bar, and friends of King’s Inns. At the time of the launch of the bursary, the Irish Times recalled the description of Niall McCarthy in the newspaper’s obituary as “a man whose concern for the oppressed constituted a golden thread through his rightly acclaimed judgments”. His wife, Barbara, was equally rich in intellect and passion for life. The couple were a true team who enriched the lives of those around them, especially their childrens’.” Mr Justice McCarthy’s obituary in The Independent (UK) stated that “His legal conclusions were invariably concise and delivered with an articulate certainty, sometimes passionate force. His special distinction was in presenting the law not as cold abstracted logic, but an instrument with real human consequences.”

Mr Justice McCarthy had a wide range of interests and served as the first Chairman of the National Archives Advisory Council and as President of the Medico–Legal Society of Ireland.

Bursary aim and purpose:

The aim of the McCarthy Bursary is to support financially one student who might not otherwise be able to take the degree course. The purpose of the Bursary is to encourage their understanding of human rights law and its increasingly complex application in the courts and elsewhere. The McCarthy Scholar may have experienced some kind of life challenge or disadvantage giving them insight into the practice of law, and will have been accepted onto the degree of Barrister at Law course at the King’s Inns. 

The McCarthy Bursary consists of:

  • Full remission of fees (€12,560) for the degree of Barrister–at–Law course 
  • A grant to help the Scholar with their studies
  • An internship at the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg – usually taken in the summer following the award of the bursary
  • Grant to cover travel and subsistence costs while interning in Strasbourg

Deadline for Applications: Applications open July to August each year. 


Awards – Diploma in Legal Studies

Highest achieving students on the Diploma in Legal Studies are awarded the following prizes each year:

The Diploma in Legal Studies Prize – Overall highest aggregate diploma mark

The Society’s award for having obtained the highest aggregate marks over the two–year course.

Antonia O’Callaghan Memorial Prize – Highest grade in Irish Constitutional Law, Diploma in Legal Studies

Antonia O’Callaghan (1943–1990), originally from Cork, was a school teacher before studying law and being admitted to the degree of Barrister–at–Law in 1977 and was awarded the John Brooke Scholarship. She had a passionate belief in the value of education and encouraged people to achieve their potential through study. In 1991 colleagues at The Bar of Ireland established the Antonia O’Callaghan Memorial Prize in recognition of her contribution to the Diploma in Legal Studies course and to the teaching of Constitution Law and her encouragement of students.

Meliosa Dooge Prize – Highest grade in Family Law, Diploma in Legal Studies

Meliosa Dooge (1958–2000) was a pioneering and distinguished family law barrister at a time when family law practice in Ireland was ina nascent stage. Educated at Loreto Dalkey and UCD, she was admitted to the degree of Barrister–at–Law at King’s Inns in 1979. The Meliosa Dooge Memorial Prize was established in her honour in October 2002. The purposes of the trust fund are the promotion of legal education and good practice with particular reference to family law.

Eamon Leahy Memorial Prize – Highest grade in Criminal Law, Diploma in Legal Studies

Eamon Leahy SC (1957–2003) was admitted to the degree of Barrister–at Law at King’s Inns and called to the Bar in 1979 and made Senior Counsel in 1997. Eamon was known for his advocacy skills in representing the State or individuals in criminal cases and contributing to the development and modernisation of the wider criminal justice system. The Eamon Leahy Memorial Prize was established in his memory by colleagues in The Bar of Ireland.

Michael O’Connor Prize – Highest grade in Contract Law, Diploma in Legal Studies

Michael O’Connor attended UCD and holds the degreeof B. Architecture from the National University of Ireland was admitted to the degree of Barrister–at–Law at King’s Inns and called to the Bar in 1956. In 2009 he sponsored a prize to be awarded to the student who takes first place in Contract Law in the Diploma in Legal Studies.

Awards – Degree of Barrister–at–Law

Highest achieving students on the degree of Barrister–at–Law are awarded the following prizes each year:

Arthur Browne Prize – Highest grade in the Entrance Examination to the course leading to the degree of Barrister–at–Law

In 2010, Mr John Wilde Crosbie, Extra Master Mariner, R Soc of Arts SM, admitted to the degree of Barrister–at–Law at King’s Inns (1985), sponsored a prize to be titled in honour of Arthur Browne (1756–1805). Arthur Browne was born in the USA of Irish extraction. On the death of his parents, he received assistance from his father’s church and his mother’s legacy to be educated at Trinity College Dublin, the alma mater of his father and grandfather. There he gained the degrees of BA, MA, LLB and LLD. Arthur Browne studied at Lincoln’s Inn and was called to The Bar of Ireland in 1779. He argued in the ecclesiastical and civilian courts, practised as a barrister in the common law courts, and was made KC in 1795 and a bencher of King’s Inns in 1803. Arthur Browne was the author of publications including A compendious view of the civil law and of the law of the admiralty: being the substance of a course of lectures read in the University of Dublin first published in 1797. Arthur Browne was an acknowledged authority on admiralty law, and his works were referenced in common law jurisdictions, including England and Wales. The United States Supreme Court cited Brown in over 40 judgments, and through his work, Brown has a claim on being the father of American Admiralty Law.

John Brooke Memorial Prize – Highest Overall grade leading to the Admission to the degree of Barrister–at–Law

This prize originates from a gift by Mary, Margaret and Elizabeth Brooke, three sisters of the Rt. Hon. John Brooke QC, an esteemed Bencher, who died in 1877. Over one hundred and forty years later, the generosity of the Brooke family continues in the form of the Society’s most distinguished awards – the John Brooke Memorial Prize and the Society’s Exhibition Prize.

The Society’s Exhibition Prize – Second Highest grade leading to the Admission to the degree of Barrister–at–Law

The Society’s Exhibition Prize replaced a scholarship that had been provided out of the John Brooke endowment and the conditions for its award are the same as those for the John Brooke Memorial Prize.

James Murnaghan Memorial Prize – Third Highest grade leading to the Admission to the degree of Barrister–at–Law

James Augustine Murnaghan (1881–1973) attended UCD and held the degrees of BA and LLD from the Royal University of Ireland. He attended King’s Inns, was admitted to the degree of Barrister–at–Law in 1903 and awarded the John Brooke Memorial Prize. He was Professor of Jurisprudence and Roman Law (1911–24) at UCD School of Law, where he taught international law. Appointed as a Judge of the High Court in 1924, he was appointed to the Supreme Court a year later, where he served for twenty–eight years. In 1973, his wife Alice first established the James Murnaghan Memorial Prize reflecting his long–standing interest in King’s Inns and the student members.