Guru Nanak Social Mobility Scholarships

2023 Bar Scholarship

What is the role of a lawyer in a democracy?


The Guru Nanak Social Mobility Scholarships is a joint project between Mukhtiar Singh and the Sikh Education Council.

  1. The aims of the scholarships are:
    1. To improve social mobility in professions perceived to be out of reach for those from poorer backgrounds. This will be achieved through financial awards, mentoring and work placements.
    2. To encourage a wider understanding of Sikh jurisprudence by considering whether society may learn from Sikhism for the benefit of us all.
  2. The first scholarship was the Bar Scholarship which has run since 2018. There may also be scholarships for other professions in the future.

Criteria for Bar Scholarship

  1. Applicants from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply as long as they meet the following criteria:
    1. A strong commitment to a career at the Bar. Applicants will be expected to be studying law at degree level (or GDL); or studying or about to study the Bar Professional Training Course (“BPTC”); or have completed the BPTC but are yet to secure pupillage.
    2. The potential to become a barrister. This will be tested by the application itself, including the essay.
    3. Financial and social disadvantage. This will be for the Applicant to demonstrate, who must be prepared to provide further details and documentary evidence upon request. State school education alone is not sufficient. Examples of disadvantage include, but are not limited to:
      1. Qualifying for free school meals.
      2. Living in, or having lived in at relevant times, social housing.
      3. Please note that these are only examples. Anyone in doubt over whether they may meet this criterion should contact Mukhtiar Singh If you are advised that you meet the criterion, then this is on the basis that you will provide verification in accordance with the application process.

The application process

  1. By 9AM on 21 August 2023, applicants should provide by email to
    1. The Application form , references and a 1 page covering letter.
    2. The essay. The 2023 essay will be on the topic, “What is the role of a lawyer in a democracy? ”. The Essay Guide should be carefully considered.
  2. The applications will be considered and further information may be requested. There may be brief interviews.
  3. It is hoped that the results will be published within three months of the deadline and mentoring will start around December 2023.


  1. The prize for the Bar Scholarship will once again be £4,000 and mentoring.
  2. If the first runner-up is exceptional, they will be awarded a Bar Scholarship of £300.
  3. Depending on the quantity and quality of applications, some work experience may be offered to those just falling short of the first prize.
  4. Anyone fitting the criteria who has made a genuine attempt at the essay will be offered assistance with their pupillage application forms.
  5. Chambers and firms willing to provide work placements should please contact Mukhtiar Singh at .

The Future

  1. In the spirit of the legal profession, and in the spirit of Sikhism, award winners/runner ups who subsequently secure pupillage through the scheme (“the Scholars”) will be expected to participate in the scheme including providing mentoring and helping with mock interviews. This has proven to be the case thus far.
  2. Further, it is hoped that as the scheme develops, Scholars will lead engagement in state schools with the Sikh Education Council to encourage the very best potential to consider a career in the Bar, whatever their background.
  3. The Guru Nanak Social Mobility Scholarships will be available in other professions: please contact me or the Sikh Education Council if you wish to register your interest
  4. The Guru Nanak Social Mobility Scholarships will be available in other professions: please contact me or the Sikh Education Council if you wish to register your interest.
  5. Previous applicants can re-apply except for first prize winners.

Any Questions

  1. Questions about the Bar Scholarship or the scholarships generally should be directed to Mukhtiar Singh at


Please find below the form and guidelines for the process:

  1. Application form – here
  2. Essay guidelines – here