The Denham Fellowship

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About the Fellowship

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 the King’s Inns and professional practice at the Law Library.

 

The Fellowship, which is being run by The Bar of Ireland in association with The Honorable Society of 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 at the 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 that are 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.

Mentorship

  • The Denham Fellowship Board undertakes to provide three mentors to each Denham Fellow for the duration of the Fellowship, beginning on commencement of the Barrister-at Law degree programme at the King’s Inns. The three mentors shall be (i) one member of the judiciary, (ii) one senior member of The Bar of Ireland, and (iii) one junior member of The Bar of Ireland who will each undertake to provide one-to-one professional support and mentorship to the Denham Fellow.
  • The Fellowship Board will if necessary assist each Denham Fellow to locate a Master for each year of devilling.
  • The Denham Fellow will furthermore be supported by a designated member of staff from the King’s Inns and The Bar of Ireland to assist with any queries/issues if and when they arise throughout the duration of the Fellowship.

Fee Waivers

  • The Fellowship offers remission of fees to the Barrister-at-Law degree programme of the King’s Inns, including the Entrance Examination Fee and any repeat assessments taken during the course of the degree programme, up to the limit of attempts permitted under the Assessment Regulations.
  • In addition, the Fellowship offers waived Law Library Fees for the first four years of practice at The Bar of Ireland, including the Entrance Fee.

Maintenance

The Denham Fellowship Board undertakes to provide to each Denham Fellow an annual stipend of €6,000 for a period of five years beginning on commencement of the Barrister-at-Law degree programme at the King’s Inns. The Bar of Ireland will set up a designated fund and contributions will be invited from benefactors who are current or former members of The Bar of Ireland. This fund is a personal allowance to cover residence and cost of living expenses for the duration of the Fellowship. Where a Denham Fellow is a Modular student of the Barrister-at-Law degree programme at the King’s Inns, payment of the annual stipend is on a pro-rata basis.

The Denham Fellowship is targeted at graduates from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Applications for The Denham Fellowship will be accepted from persons in the following three categories:

 

  1. Graduates holding a Law degree that is approved for the purposes of eligibility to sit the King’s Inns Entrance Examination and who accessed a Higher Education Institution through an Access Programme/Access Route as school leavers, or mature years’ students*, due to socio-economic disadvantage. This category includes persons who have not yet completed an approved Law degree but who are due to complete same in the year of application for the Fellowship;

    Download category 1 application form here

    Download
  2. Graduates of other disciplines who have been awarded the Diploma in Legal Studies at The Honorable Society of King's Inns and who accessed a Higher Education Institute through an Access Programme/Access Route as school leavers, or mature years' students*, due to socio-economic disadvantage. This category includes persons who have not yet completed the Diploma in Legal Studies but who are due to complete same in the year of application for the fellowship; 

    Download category 2 application form here

    Download
  3. Graduates of the Diploma in Legal Studies at The Honorable Society of King’s Inns who accessed the Diploma as a mature student without a third level degree and who can demonstrate eligibility against a combination of social and financial indicators. This category includes persons who have not yet completed the Diploma in Legal Studies but who are due to complete same in the year of application for the fellowship.

    Download category 3 application form here

    Download
    Financial & Social Factors

 

In all cases, the applicant will be required to have completed their course of study successfully, prior to or in the year of application and must also meet the other entry requirements for eligibility to sit the Entrance Examination at King’s Inns, including successful completion of the core subjects and submission of a satisfactory student admission declaration and two references to King’s Inns as part of the applicant’s application to sit the entrance examination.

Please refer to the King’s Inns website for more information about the Entrance Examination https://www.kingsinns.ie/prospective-students/entrance-examination

* Mature years' students are defined as those aged 23 years or over prior to entry date and who have no previous undergraduate Level 8 qualification.

Note: Assessment of eligibility can only be determined through the completion and submission of an application form.

The application process for 2018 is now closed.

 

  • A Denham Fellow will be a highly motivated and ambitious individual who is committed to the full duration of the Fellowship programme, from undertaking training as a Barrister to pursuing a career at the Bar.    
  • Denham Fellows will be selected in part for their demonstrated enthusiasm. The success of the Fellowship is largely dependent on the input and initiative of the individual Fellow and their taking full advantage of the support and resources available to them. The dedication of Fellows contributes to the ongoing realisation of the Fellowship and sets a positive example for future Fellows.
  • Denham Fellows may be invited to support, guide and foster relations with future Fellows through formal and/or informal channels e.g. regular meet-ups and social events.
  •  In order to raise the awareness and profile of the Fellowship and to expand its outreach, it is hoped that Denham Fellows would be willing to act as ambassadors for the Fellowship. Denham Fellows may be asked to engage in publicity and other promotional activities in this regard.*  

 

* Participation in publicity is not a condition of the Fellowship      

 


Application Process

Applicants to The Denham Fellowship are required to

  • complete a detailed application form
  • submit a letter from the Access Office of their current or former Higher Education Institution confirming they accessed third level education through a specified Access Programme/Access Route due to socio-economic disadvantage (applicants in categories 1 and 2 above)
  • complete such forms and submit such information as is required by the Fellowship Board (applicants in category number 3 above)
  • submit transcripts of all law degree/diploma results (if available at time of application, but not later than 1st July)
  • submit a personal statement (max. 750 words)
  • supply the details of two referees
     

Completed application forms can be submitted via email to: Fellowship@lawlibrary.ie or via post to:

The Denham Fellowship
The Bar of Ireland
145-151 Church Street
Dublin 7, D07 WDX8

All of the supporting documentation required can be submitted as copies, however applicants may be required to show original copies if selected for interview.

Eligibility Criteria

1. Applicants who are, or who will be, eligible to apply to sit the Entrance Examination for the Barrister-at-Law degree programme at the King’s Inns*

 

                AND

 

2. Applicants who accessed a Higher Education Institution through an Access Programme/Access Route as school leavers or mature years’ students due to socio-economic disadvantage**

 

OR

 

3. Applicants who accessed the Diploma in Legal Studies at The Honorable Society of King’s Inns as a mature student without a third level degree*** 

 

* Admission as a student to the degree course is by an Entrance Examination. To be eligible to sit this examination, a candidate must have submitted a satisfactory student admission declaration together with a transcript of all degree/diploma results on or before 31st May in the year in which an applicant intends to take the examination. In the case of an applicant who is currently sitting his/her final degree examination, a provisional application to sit the Entrance Examination may be lodged conditionally and the result should be forwarded as soon as it becomes available but not later than 1st July. Moreover, an applicant should hold either an approved law degree/approved postgraduate diploma or the Society’s Diploma in legal Studies. Please refer to the King’s Inns website for more information about the Entrance Examination https://www.kingsinns.ie/prospective-students/entrance-examination

 

**Applicants are required to submit a letter from the Access Office of their current or former Higher Education Institution confirming they accessed third level education through a specified Access Programme/Access Route due to socio-economic disadvantage. Definition of “Access Programme/Access Route” extends to a variety of higher education initiatives which support access to third level education due to socio-economic disadvantage, for example the Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) and other access initiatives which are local and specific to individual Higher Education Institutions and which cater to both school leavers and mature years’ students. Mature years' students are defined as those aged 23 years or over prior to entry date and who have no previous undergraduate Level 8 qualification. If applicants are unsure as to whether or not they would qualify as an “Access Student”, please contact Fellowship@lawlibrary.ie.           

 

***This category applies to applicants who accessed the Diploma in Legal Studies at The Honorable Society of King’s Inns as a mature student without a third level degree and who were at least 23 years of age on 1st May in the year in which he/she sat the examination for the Diploma – part 1. Applicants in this category are required to demonstrate eligibility against a combination of social and financial indicators.

   

Selection Process

  • The selection process shall be overseen by The Denham Fellowship Board which shall comprise six members:
    1. Two members of The Bar of Ireland, at least one of whom shall be a member of the Council of The Bar of Ireland
    2. Two members of the King’s Inns to include the Dean or his /her nominee and a member of the Education Committee nominated by the Committee
    3. One external non-affiliated member, to be nominated by Council of The Bar of Ireland, who has experience in the field of access to education, diversity and socio-economic disadvantage
    4. One member of the judiciary (practising or retired) to act as Chair
  • Applicants’ eligibility is assessed by The Denham Fellowship Board against the stated criteria. The final decision regarding eligibility is determined by The Denham Fellowship Board.
  • The Denham Fellowship Board, and its supporting staff, reserves the right to contact the applicant’s current or former Higher Education Institution for any additional information or clarification required in connection with their application.
  • The Denham Fellowship Board, and its supporting staff, reserves the right to contact the referees supplied by the applicant during the selection process.
  • Applicants are shortlisted by The Denham Fellowship Board on the basis of their eligibility and the personal statement submitted as part of their application.
  • Shortlisted applicants will be invited for interview by The Denham Fellowship Board.
  • Successful applicants will be ranked and places will be awarded in that order should the first placed applicants decline their offer or fail the Entrance Examination to the Barrister-at-Law Degree Programme
  • The Denham Fellowship Board will be mindful of diversity and sensitive to the challenges of socio-economic disadvantage in its assessment of applicants.
  • Canvassing will result in disqualification

Awarding of The Denham Fellowship to successful applicants is contingent on the following conditions

  • The successful applicant having applied to sit the Entrance Examination by the first King’s Inns deadline on 31st May in the year in which they apply for The Denham Fellowship. In the case of an applicant who is currently sitting his/her final degree examination, a provisional application to sit the Entrance Examination may be lodged conditionally and the result should be forwarded as soon as it becomes available but not later than 1st July.
  • The successful applicant passing the Entrance Examination to the Barrister-at-Law degree programme at the King’s Inns as a first attempt in the year in which they apply for the Denham Fellowship*
  • The successful applicant taking up the place on the Barrister-at-Law degree course in the year in which they apply for the Denham Fellowship
  • The successful applicant must take the call to the Bar and commence practice in the Law Library in the year in which they complete the Barrister-at-Law degree course, save in exceptional circumstances.

*If the successful applicant declines their offer, including circumstances where the successful applicant has failed the Entrance Examination, the fellowship will be awarded to the next placed candidate who has successfully passed the Entrance Examination.

Conditions on accepting the Award:

  • A Denham Fellow is responsible for the payment of their own Professional Indemnity Insurance while in practice at the Bar including the period in which they are being supported by the Fellowship.
  • A Denham Fellow is responsible for any additional day-to-day costs incurred throughout the duration of The Denham Fellowship, such as travel expenses, educational materials and Law Library services e.g. printing, photocopying etc. The Denham Fellowship does not preclude a Fellow from engaging in part-time work during the course of their studies at the King’s Inns provided that work does not interfere with class attendance. A Fellow is also permitted to engage in any part-time occupation while in practice at the Law Library, provided that it is not inconsistent with the Code of Conduct of The Bar of Ireland.
  • The full-time Barrister-at-Law degree programme is an approved course for grant purposes under the Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) grant scheme. All applicants to The Denham Fellowship are advised to apply to SUSI in order to assess their eligibility for a grant.*
    Please visit www.susi.ie for more information.

*Applicants’ eligibility for SUSI does not have any bearing on their eligibility for The Denham Fellowship, nor does the Fellowship preclude Fellows from accepting a maintenance grant in addition to the annual stipend.

Queries

For queries please contact Fellowship@lawlibrary.ie

I meet the criteria of an “access” student but I did not access a Higher Education Institution through an Access Programme, am I eligible to apply?

No, unless you are a Category 3 Applicant you must have actually accessed a Higher Education Institution through an Access Programme/Access Route as a school leaver, or mature years’ student, due to socio-economic disadvantage, in order to be eligible to apply.

I was awarded funding from SUSI; does this qualify as an Access Programme/Access Route?

No, SUSI is not classified as an access route for the purposes of applying for The Denham Fellowship. Definition of “Access Programme/Access Route” extends to initiatives which support access to third level education due to socio-economic disadvantage. As eligibility for SUSI is determined by reference to income only, it alone does not meet our criteria.

I completed an Access Programme which assessed my eligibility solely on the basis of income, am I eligible?

No, as provided for under categories 1 and 2, applicants with an approved law degree or diploma must have accessed a Higher Education Institution through an Access Programme/Access Route as a school leaver, or mature years’ student, due to socio-economic disadvantage. As such, we can only consider applications from those whose eligibility for entry to the Access Programme involved an assessment of both social and financial circumstances. Please contact the Access Office of your current/former Higher Education Institution who should be able to provide you with the full criteria on which you were assessed for entry to the Access Programme.

I accessed my Masters Degree programme through an Access Programme, am I eligible?

No, as provided for under categories 1 and 2, applicants with an approved law degree or diploma must have accessed a Higher Education Institution through an Access Programme/Access Route as a school leaver, or mature years’ student, due to socio-economic disadvantage. As such we can only consider applications from those who completed an Access Programme as a first-time entrant to third level education.

What does socio-economic disadvantage mean?

Socio-economic disadvantage involves an assessment of both your social and financial circumstances. An assessment of income alone does not suffice. Please contact the Access Office of your current/former Higher Education Institution who should be able to provide you with the full criteria on which you were assessed for entry to the Access Programme and confirm whether or not it involved an assessment of your socio-economic status.

What are regarded as financial indicators for the purposes of assessing socio-economic disadvantage?

The following are generally regarded as indicators of financial hardship:
(i) Low family income
(ii) Possession of a Medical Card
(iii) In receipt of means-tested social welfare payments

What are regarded as social indicators for the purposes of assessing socio-economic disadvantage?

The following are examples only and are by no means exhaustive. We are aware that different Access Programmes/Access Routes operated by different Higher Education Institutions will assess candidates on a variety of social factors, however the following are commonly associated with access programmes such as the Higher Education Access Route (HEAR):
(i) Socio-economic group (SEG)
A socio-economic group (SEG) is a measure of your social background based on your parents’ or guardian’s occupation and employment status.  The measure is used by the Central Statistics Office to analyse the social background of the Irish population. Research clearly shows that participation in higher education is not evenly spread across the socio-economic groups. Children of higher professionals, employers, managers, lower professionals, skilled manual workers and farmers are more likely to go on to college than the children of non-manual, semi-skilled and unskilled manual workers.  Eligible Socio-Economic Groups include: Non-manual workers; Semi-skilled manual workers; Unskilled manual workers; Agricultural workers; State Labour Intervention Scheme e.g. CE schemes; Never worked; Housewife; Permanently ill; Student.
(ii) DEIS School
Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) is an initiative of the Department of Education and Skills aimed at lessening educational disadvantage and bringing about social inclusion in primary and second level education. Traditionally, few students from these schools go on to third level education. Also, children from DEIS schools tend to leave school earlier and do less well academically than students from other schools. Further information on DEIS, including a listing of all DEIS schools, is available on the DEIS website: www.education.ie.
(iii) Disadvantaged Area
There is very strong international evidence that living in a disadvantaged area can negatively affect educational attainment and progression to higher education. To meet this indicator, you must live in an area that is disadvantaged, very disadvantaged or extremely disadvantaged. Your address is checked against information from a deprivation index of relative affluence or disadvantage. The index is based on information gathered in the 2011 Census. The country is divided up into small areas and each area is assigned an average score ranging from extremely disadvantaged up to very affluent. To check the classification of your address, please visit https://www.pobal.ie/Pages/New-Measures.aspx .