Chambers Essay Competitions

6KBW College Hill Essay Competition 2022

6KBW College Hill is committed to making itself and the profession as accessible, welcoming and supportive as possible to the best candidates, whatever their background. As part of that commitment, we are pleased to launch our essay competition aimed at fostering greater diversity and inclusion at the Bar. The competition takes place each year, with the question being published in July and the deadline in September.

The competition is open to any student in tertiary education (i.e. any university degree, GDL, LPC, BPTC) or any graduate interested in the Criminal Bar who, at the closing of submissions, does not have pupillage or a training contract and who is from a group underrepresented at the Bar.

Please see below for details of this year’s competition, as well as past questions and competition winners.

2022 Competition

This year’s question is:

One rule for them: should anyone ever be exempt from the criminal law?

Entries must be submitted as a single Word document by midnight on 2 September 2022 to

Essays must be no more than 1,500 words (including footnotes). In addition, entrants must outline at the start of their essay (in no more than 50 words) what makes them a person typically underrepresented at the Bar. Please also confirm what stage you are at in your studies, and that you do not yet have a pupillage or training contract.

The top prizes for the 2022 competition are as follows:

1st prize: £500

2nd prize: £200

3rd prize: £100

 Longlisted entrants will be offered a mini pupillage at 6KBW College Hill, and the winning essay will be published on the 6KBW College Hill Blog.

Further Details

The eligibility criteria for the competition are as follows:

  1. Eligibility criterion 1: Entrants to the competition must have started their first year of undergraduate study (whether in law or any other discipline) before 7 November in the year of the competition. Entrants may have completed their studies, and may be of any age and any background, but they should not have already been awarded a pupillage or training contract.
  2. Eligibility criterion 2: Entrants may be from any group(s) which is/are underrepresented at the English Bar. They will be asked to describe, briefly, how they meet this criterion. For instance, underrepresented groups include (non-exhaustively):

     2.1. women;

     2.2. people from minority ethnic backgrounds;

     2.3. people with disabilities;

     2.4. LGBT+ people;

     2.5. people who spent time in care;

     2.6. people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds (as indicated, e.g., if an entrant was eligible for free school meals, or comes from a family on income support/universal credit);

     2.7. people who attended state schools, in particular non-selective state schools, for the majority of their secondary education (i.e. between the ages of 11 and 18 years); and

     2.8. people who were in the first generation in their family to attend university.

  1. Applicants must meet eligibility criteria 1 and 2.

Essays are judged in two stages:

  • In the first instance, members of chambers review all entries to select a shortlist.
  • At the second stage, the prize-winners are decided by a panel of three eminent legal practitioners and judges.

Each essay is judged against three criteria: (1) legal analysis; (2) structure; and (3) style and presentation.

Please note that we are unable to provide feedback on any entry to the competition. 

The question for 2021 was “When, if ever, should it be a crime to go to a friend’s for dinner?

Thank you to all the entrants for their submissions, which we enjoyed reading. The winners were selected by a panel consisting of Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, HHJ Sarah Whitehouse QC and Duncan Atkinson QC. The prizes were awarded as follows:

1st place: Cara Shepherd

2nd place: Sean O’Neill

3rd place: Tochi Ejimofo

Cara’s essay can be found on the 6KBW College Hill Blog. We offered mini pupillages to all those who made the longlist.