Black Lawyers Matter

The University of Manchester's Black Lawyers Matter scheme is a Law social responsibility initiative. Our primary aim is to work in collaboration with University and external partners to address the under-representation of Black people, particularly men, working in the legal and criminal justice professions, particularly in the Greater Manchester area.

Inspire and be Inspired - a poem by Lemn Sissay

We are working with local schools and colleges to deliver activities aimed at inspiring young people to fulfil their potential, and with legal professionals who act as role models and provide opportunities.

Our aims have been developed with our community partners and directly address our commitment to engaging with our local communities.

Lemn Sissay Law Bursary

Lemn Sissay in front of the crest in the moot room

The Lemn Sissay Law bursary is aimed at widening access by removing barriers to Law School undergraduate courses. The bursaries seek to address the under-representation of students of African and African Caribbean heritage in the Law School.

Bursary applications are open to all UK applicants of African or African Caribbean heritage from under-represented backgrounds. The Law School is particularly interested in supporting male applicants due to under-representation in the legal sector, as well as those living in Greater Manchester.

The bursary offers successful applicants an annual cash bursary of £3,000. It is a means of supporting individuals who wish to progress to undergraduate students commencing their studies in September.

Further information is available by downloading the brochure

Additional financial support may be available to some applicants.

Eligibility criteria

The bursary is available to prospective students who have submitted an application via UCAS to study a Law or Criminology undergraduate degree in the School of Sciences at The University of Manchester, and who satisfy:

All of the following 3 criteria:

  • Black African, black African Caribbean, mixed-race black African or mixed-race black African Caribbean
  • Has not at any time attended a fee-paying school in the UK
  • Has not at any time attended a fee-paying school outside of the UK for which the fees are more than nominal

and at least one of the below priority criteria 1-6 (ranked in order of priority):

  1. Are Male
  2. Live in Greater Manchester, or study at an institution in Greater Manchester
  3. Have had experience of being in local authority care
  4. Live in a 'disadvantaged' neighbourhood. This is defined by the applicants' home postcode using the University's contextual data eligibility checker.
  5. Applicant’s current or most recent educational institution has a performance that is lower than the national average (we can check this for you using the tool above)
  6. Either:
    a) If you are under 21 years old - have at any time been eligible for free school meals at a UK senior school
    b) If you are over 21 years old - are or have been in receipt of means-tested benefits

*Please note that the above criteria are prioritized in accordance with the order in which they appear above. Applications are assessed based on which of the priority criteria are met, and the strength of your personal statement. Making an application and meeting the criteria does not guarantee the offer of a bursary.

If you are unsure about whether you meet any of these criteria please contact for further guidance.

How to apply

Applications for the bursary should be submitted by sending a completed application form to before the deadline of 31 May, providing that an application to study an undergraduate Law or Criminology course has already been made via the UCAS website.

Access and download the application

Alternatively, you can email us to send you a copy of the application form, or if you have any questions, at

Good luck and we look forward to receiving your application.

Teachers / Careers Advisors

For your students

The University of Manchester works closely with schools and colleges in the Greater Manchester area, delivering workshops and organising events both in schools and on campus. If you would like us to deliver one of our workshops to your students, please contact

Watch a video of the launch event 

The launch of the Lemn Sissay Law Bursaries took place at the West Indian Sports and Social Club (WISSC), Manchester:

Black Lawyers Matter in the media