The Richard Sykes QC Studentship in Corporate Law

The Richard Sykes QC Studentship in Corporate Law

The Richard Sykes QC Studentship in Corporate Law (to be held at Pembroke College, Cambridge) will provide full fees and maintenance for a student undertaking the Masters Degree in Corporate Law (MCL) at the University of Cambridge. The aim of the Studentship is to offer a student from a financially disadvantaged background who would not otherwise be able to afford it the opportunity to undertake the MCL at Cambridge. Preference will be given to Home/EU students but applications for the Studentship from overseas candidates will also be considered.

Applicants should be able to persuade the awards committee that their academic talents, potential and aspirations accord with what the MCL has to offer and it is important that they can make a convincing argument for why they want to do this degree course. It is expected that applicants will be planning a future career in corporate law. It is hoped that applicants, whilst having (or being predicted) the necessary academic qualifications to be admitted to this challenging course, will also take advantage of the diverse range of opportunities offered by the College and the University.

Applicants will have to show that their financial background is such that they would not be able to afford to do the MCL without the assistance of the Richard Sykes QC Studentship.

Anyone wishing to be considered for the studentship must complete the application form and submit it by 15 January 2018. Completed application forms should be sent to the Graduate Admissions Office, Pembroke College, Cambridge CB2 1RF  Shortlisted applicants for the Studentship will be interviewed.

The successful candidate for the Studentship will have been offered a place on the MCL by the Faculty of Law. Pembroke College reserves the right not to award the Studentship should no suitable applicants present themselves.


Richard Sykes QC

Richard Sykes QC was at Pembroke from 1954 to 1957, where he read English and then law. During this time, he also met his wife, who is funding this studentship, one of whose brothers was a contemporary at Pembroke.

Following Cambridge, Richard was called to the Bar of Lincoln’s Inn in 1958 and became a tenant in his father’s chambers, now known as Erskine Chambers. He soon established a very successful practice and became the leading company lawyer of his generation. He made a major contribution to the reform of company law, both as a member for over twenty years of the Law Society Company Law Committee and as an influential member of the Company Law Steering Group for the Review of Company Law established by the DTI in 1998. He was Chairman of the Judging Panel, Stock Exchange and Institute of Chartered Accountants’ Awards from 1990; Consultant Editor of three successive editions of Gore-Browne on Company Law between 1972 and 1986; and author of the 20th and 21st editions of Conduct of Meetings in 1966 and 1975. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1981, a Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn in 1989 and was Head of Chambers from 1991 until his retirement.

On his retirement in 1999 Richard became chairman of the Financial Reporting Review Panel. He died in 2007 at the age of 73. More than one commentator at that time noted that a client once observed: ‘Company law is what Richard Sykes says it is.’

Richard was a widely and highly respected member of his profession, but remained modest and without any sense of self-importance. He was also a strong believer in equality of opportunity. It is this which underlies the donor’s desire to help a motivated and talented person from a disadvantaged background to achieve their potential and to go on to help others in a similar position achieve theirs.