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Education: 10 February 2017

The Bar of Ireland launches new ‘Denham Fellowship’

The Bar of Ireland launches new ‘Denham Fellowship’

The Bar of Ireland in association with The Honorable Society of King’s Inns, will provide financial, educational and professional support to two aspiring barristers from socio–economically disadvantaged backgrounds on an annual basis.

The Fellowship is the latest in a line of initiatives from The Bar of Ireland to encourage more diversity in the legal profession. The significant supports to be provided include the following:

  • Waived Law Library Fees for the first four years of practice at The Bar of Ireland, including the Entrance Fee;
  • Remission of fees to the Barrister–at–Law Degree Programme at the King’s Inns, including the Entrance Examination Fee and repeat assessments;
  • An annual stipend of €6,000 for a period of minimum 5 years (6 years for part–time students), commencing at the start of the Barrister–at–Law degree 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.

The announcement is being made on the last day of The Bar of Ireland’s Transition Year Programme. Some 100 students from all over the country take part in the TY Programme every year, with a minimum of 20% of places reserved for students from DEIS schools.

Commenting, The Hon Mrs Justice Susan Denham, Chief Justice said; “I am honoured to be associated with this new Fellowship and I commend The Bar of Ireland and the King’s Inns for providing this fantastic, life changing opportunity for students who want to pursue a career as a barrister but may not have the financial means to do so. Everyone benefits when the makeup of the legal profession reflects the diversity of the society it serves.”

Barrister Sara Moorhead, SC, who spearheaded the initiative on behalf of The Bar of Ireland and the King’s Inns and is Co–ordinator of The Bar of Ireland Transition Year Programme, said; “We are very excited to be launching this new Fellowship. We want to encourage students from all backgrounds to consider a career at the Bar. As with many professions, becoming a barrister can be a daunting prospect for students if they don’t have the necessary support and we hope that, through the financial, educational and professional supports offered in this fellowship, we will be opening a door that otherwise may have appeared closed.”

“The Chief Justice Mrs Justice Susan Denham is a pioneer in the profession, as the first female Chief Justice and the longest serving member of the Court, and is a widely respected and admired role model. She is a very deserving namesake for the fellowship and we hope that the path she has forged – right to the top of her profession – will serve as an inspiration to aspiring barristers all over the country,” she said.

Dr Eimear Brown, Dean of School of Law, at The Honorable Society of King’s Inns said; “Life at The Bar offers many opportunities and a varied and rich career, and we are delighted to be working with The Bar of Ireland on this very worthy initiative.”

Applications for the Fellowships will be open in March and the first two successful applications will commence the barrister–at–law degree programme in October 2017. Eligible candidates must meet the HEAR criteria.