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School of Law

Lemn Sissay with barrister Tunde Okewale and Isabella Cox

Black Lawyers Matter

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

Inspire and be Inspired - a poem by Lemn Sissay

Our secondary aim is to continue to build upon and promote a mutually beneficial and co-productive relationship between the University and Manchester's African and African Caribbean communities.

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

Lemn Sissay Law Bursaries

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 School of Law undergraduate courses. The bursaries seek to address the under-representation of male students of African and African Caribbean heritage in the School of Law and are open to male students of African or African Caribbean heritage from widening participation backgrounds.

The bursary offers eligible applicants an annual cash bursary of £3,000 in funding. It is a means of supporting individuals who wish to progress to undergraduate students commencing their studies in 2018.

Additional financial support may be available to some applicants.

Applications now open

Eligibility criteria

The bursary is available to applicants to a School of Law undergraduate degree at The University of Manchester, submitting an application via UCAS, whom satisfy all five criteria:

  • Black African, black African Caribbean, mixed-race black African or mixed-race black African Caribbean
  • Live in Greater Manchester, or study at an institution in Greater Manchester
  • 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
  • Male

Applicants must meet all of the above essential criteria in order to be eligible to apply and satisfy at least one of the below priority criteria.

Applications will be assessed in accordance with the order of the priorities as listed below

  1. Have had experience of being in local authority care
  2. Live in a 'disadvantaged' neighbourhood. This is defined by the applicants' home postcode using the University's geo-demographic indicator
  3. Applicants current or most recent educational institution has a performance that is lower than the national average (we can check this for you)
  4. Have at any time been eligible for free school meals at a UK senior school (Under 21 years old criterion) or 
    are or have been in receipt of means tested benefits (Over 21 years old criterion)

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

How to apply

All applications for the bursary should be submitted using the online application form before the deadline of 5pm Friday, 30 March 2018 providing an application for undergraduate study has already been completed via the UCAS website.

If you have any questions or would like some support in making an application please contact Isabella Cox at or on 0161 306 0491.

Apply now

Download an application form:


Black Lawyers Matter Access Day #2 - Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Lemn Sissay laughing with two black lawyers (one male and one female)

4.30 - 6.30pm at Room 5.209, University Place, Oxford Road.

Black Lawyers Matter Access Day #1

Our first Black Lawyers Access Day took place on Saturday, 4 November 2017.

This event was hosted for students thinking about applying to university for September 2018.

Designed to provide information about the brand new Lemn Sissay law Bursary, it offered free, friendly in-person guidance and support.

The day focused on exploring career aspirations and undergraduate study options, applying for the Lemn Sissay Law Bursary, selecting the right courses and the UCAS application process, understanding student finances, and insight into student experience and graduate opportunities (with a special focus on law).

If you weren't able to attend the Access Day event (or can't make the next one) and would like advice on any of the above, please get in touch: 

Launch of the Lemn Sissay Law Bursaries - Wednesday, 13 September 2017

6 - 8pm at the West Indian Sports and Social Club (WISSC).

Wednesday 13 September 2017 marked the launch of our Lemn Sissay Bursaries for Black Lawyers Matter.

We were joined by leading black legal professionals, academics and community organisers, including the Chancellor of the University Lemn Sissay, barrister Tunde Okewale, senior lecturer Dr Dawn Edge and Kyle Blackburn of the Black Solicitors Network. We were also joined by members of the Greater Manchester Black and Asian Police Association, and Manchester-based youth workers and musicians. 

During the event, we facilitated a collective conversation on how lawyers can assist and empower communities to:

  • combat the recent rise in violence
  • challenge cuts to services
  • influence the role of the police
  • work to make our communities safer for all.

If you attended this event, we would love to receive your feedback using the below survey.

Watch a video of the 2017 launch event

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

Watch a video of the 2016 Moss Side meeting

After a shockingly low number of young black males enrolled on the Law course at The University of Manchester, the University decided to hold a meeting in the community. The discussion took place in May 2016 at the West Indian Sports and Social Club (WISSC), Manchester:

Black Lawyers Matter in the media