Broadening access

The legal profession is and always has been dominated by those from privileged backgrounds. Even today, accessing the training and education just to gain entry at the foot of the career ladder remains a challenge for many. The CILEX Foundation exists to help address this and to broaden access to legal careers by removing some of the barriers to legal education and career progression.

The CILEX Foundation provides scholarships to aspiring students and bursary funding and specialist advice services for members to enable them to fund the study on CILEX courses that will unlock their future careers.

The CILEX Lawyer Scholarship provides up to £12,500 to fully cover the cost of training to become a CILEX Lawyer, a designation that allows professionals to practice at a level equivalent to a solicitor. Eligibility for this and other funding is assessed on the basis of an applicant’s financial and life circumstances, with support targeted at those most under-represented in the legal profession and/or from socially disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Millicent Grant Scholarship also provides up to £12,500 to cover the training costs to become a CILEX Lawyer and is available to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) applicants. Millicent Grant is former President of CILEX, the first person from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background to lead a legal professional membership body. Her commitment to supporting BAME lawyers and aspiring lawyers, and to championing diversity across the whole legal profession, led to her being awarded the UK Legal Diversity Award of ‘Black Solicitors Network Lawyer of the Year’ in 2017.

In 2020, she was made an Honorary QC for making a major contribution to the law of England and Wales, outside practice in the courts. Speaking about CILEX scholarships in her name, Millicent (Millie) Grant QC says: “As a black woman I know only too well how difficult it can be to make it in the law. Yet, I am testament to what can be achieved. We must encourage students who may never have thought the law was for them to realise that there is an accessible and affordable route to qualification. By doing so, we can transform the provision of legal services and improve access to justice.”

The CILEX Foundation also provides support to members who are experiencing unexpected hardship.

Alongside its work on social mobility, the CILEX Foundation provides opportunities for members to use their skills and expertise to support other charitable activities and promotes pro bono activity throughout the legal sector.

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CILEX Lawyer Scholarships funded by the CILEX Foundation

Our mission at CILEX is to transform the legal profession by providing opportunities without barriers. Through the CILEX Foundation we are delighted to offer those from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to train as a CILEX Lawyer. 

We believe by widening access to a career in law through our CILEX Lawyer Scholarships and the Millicent Grant Scholarships we can develop the brightest future talent from all backgrounds to make the UK legal sector more efficient, more representative and better serve society. 

This targeted support for promising future legal professionals covers the training costs of becoming a fully qualified CILEX Lawyer as well as the opportunity to network and learn from thousands of like-minded legal professionals who have benefited from the CILEX route.

“CILEX is committed to improving social mobility within the legal profession – ensuring dedicated individuals can succeed in the sector regardless of their personal circumstances.”

How does the CILEX Lawyer Scholarship work?

Up to twenty-two CILEX Lawyer scholarships will be made available annually, each worth up to £12,500 covering fees for CILEX membership, registration onto each of the CPQ stages and training provider course fees.

In order to apply for a CILEX Lawyer Scholarship or a Millicent Grant Scholarship you must demonstrate that you are unable to access education and training in law due to your financial circumstances or that you identify as having a protected characteristic, as defined by the Equality Act 2010, which could result in challenges to accessing education and training. Supporting evidence will be required in the application process.

How to apply

You will need to submit an application through your myCILEX portal. There will be an application process to complete and evidence of financial or personal circumstances will be required.

We recommend you read the document ‘Information and Guidance to applicants’ before starting the process.

When to apply

Application and assessment cycles are held annually. In 2022, the application window will open on 30 May, and close on 29 July. Please note that applications submitted after that date cannot be considered.

How are applications assessed?

Applications are assessed initially by the CILEX Foundation to confirm eligibility. Eligible applications will then be put forward for shortlisting by a panel of Trustees. If successful at the shortlisting stage, candidates will be contacted and invited to attend an interview.

During the 2021 assessment period remote interviews will be held, candidates may use a smart phone, digital device or laptop with video calling capability for this interview. The Charity Support Office will support candidates who do not have access to this equipment or who have additional needs in this area, to ensure they are able to fully engage in the interview process.

How long does the application process take?

It is expected that the application process will take up to 12 weeks between an application being submitted and an award being made.

What training providers should I enrol with to be considered for a CILEX Lawyer Scholarship

Only students studying the CILEX Professional Qualification through a CILEX Approved Training Provider can apply for the cost of their course fees.

Will I receive funding if I meet all of the eligibility criteria?

The CILEX Lawyer Scholarship is expected to be in high demand, and an assessment process will be undertaken to select the successful candidate(s). Satisfying eligibility criteria does not guarantee payment of an award.

Only those who meet the eligibility criteria will be considered for a Scholarship.

What if my application is not successful?

We encourage applicants who have not been successful in applying for a CILEX Foundation Scholarship to continue to explore the CILEX route to law and further seek advice and guidance from our experienced customer services team.

Will you share the details of my claim with CILEX, my learning provider, CRL or any other party? 

The CILEX Foundation will only share your data with your permission, such as when we pass your application form to Auriga Services Ltd for their claims assessment service, or if you agree for us to make a referral to another agency or support service.  

There may be some exceptions, such as where we are required by law to disclose information, or if we become aware that a person is at risk of serious harm. For more information on how we use your data, please see our privacy notice. 

CILEX Foundation Bursaries

The CILEX Foundation Bursary Programme aims to encourage diversity within the legal sector, by providing opportunities for those from under-represented groups to access and progress in the legal profession.

CILEX Foundation Bursaries provide funding for training and development for members of CILEX, where the costs are a barrier to them gaining qualifications and progressing in their careers. Bursary Awards cover Continued Professional Development (CPD), CILEX Professional Qualification (CPQ), training courses and qualifications provided by CILEX Law School or by a CILEX approved training provider. Awards may be made up to a maximum of 60% of the value of the course fee and are means tested following an assessment process.

Eligibility criteria for a CILEX Foundation bursary

To be considered for a Bursary, you must be:

1. A member of CILEX

2. That if it were not for the bursary, study fees would prohibit access for you, or that due to current financial hardship, support is required for you to complete your course of study.

3. Intending to use a bursary award only towards CILEX education and training programmes or CILEX approved qualifications

4. Limited to a maximum of one bursary award per year

How to apply

You will need to submit an application through your myCILEX portal. There will be an application process to complete and evidence of financial or personal circumstances will be required.

We recommend you read the document ‘Information and Guidance to applicants’ before starting the process.

Applications will be considered for merit, by a panel including Trustees of the Board of the CILEX Foundation.

Your financial application will be passed to an external assessment service, for the purpose of means-testing eligibility. By submitting an application to the Bursary Programme, you consent to our sharing this information for the purpose of completing this assessment.

It is important that you complete the form honestly, and to the best of your ability. Some personal information may be removed to ensure applications are assessed fairly, and forms may be anonymised prior to consideration.

The Bursary programme is expected to be in high demand, and meeting eligibility criteria does not guarantee that an award will be made.

The decision on whether a bursary is awarded, and the value of the award will be made by the Trustees of the CILEX Foundation. Their decision is final.

CILEX Foundation Welfare and Support Programme

The CILEX Welfare and Support Programme is designed to support CILEX members who are experiencing money worries or unexpected hardship. By partnering with Auriga Service Ltd, we are able to provide members with expert money advice.

New services include independent Money Management, which aims to improve our Members’ financial wellbeing. Members can receive advice on their entitlement to discounts, benefits and other financial assistance whilst also getting tips on how to reduce their energy bills, avoid unmanageable debt and regain control of their finances.

For members experiencing unexpected or complex financial problems, access to an independent specialist to provide Income Maximisation can be arranged. After an initial consultation, the specialist case worker will advise on increasing income, reducing bills, accessing charitable funding (including support with utility arrears) and can help the member with claims for state benefits, tariff reductions, grants and other financial relief.

Members may also be able to access Debt Management Advice, subject to availability. For details of how to apply, please contact the CILEX Foundation using the General Enquiry Form.

For CILEX members who would like to access fast, free digital advice on reducing and managing their utility costs, Ask Bill– a free to access site provided by our partners Auriga Services Ltd - will provide information on schemes and tariffs offered across the water and energy sector. The site also has tools for customers, empowering them to look for ways to improve their situation. Self-help tips and techniques are provided to reduce energy consumption and where to find additional support.

The CILEX Foundation will also consider applications from members who require financial assistance in the form of a Welfare Grant, to assist with an essential payment, unexpected cost, or to support them in period of financial hardship. Previously, members have been supported to access specialist therapeutic services not available on the NHS, buy digital equipment to assist their studies and make other essential purchases or payments that they could otherwise not afford.

For more information, and to request an application form, please contact the CILEX Foundation in confidence, by logging into your myCILEX portal and using the Contact Us Form.

To access the CILEX Foundation Welfare and Support programme, you must be a current CILEX member, resident in England or Wales.

How to apply

You will need to create a myCILEX account and submit an enquiry. There will be an application process to complete and evidence of financial or personal circumstances will be required.

We recommend you read the document ‘Information and Guidance to applicants’ before starting the process.

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