the london crown Introduction to the Inns of CourtThe four Inns of Court have the exclusive right to Call men and women to the Bar - ie to admit those who have fulfilled the necessary qualifications to the degree of Barrister-at-Law, which entitles them, after a period of pupillage (vocational training) either to practise as independent advocates in the Courts of England and Wales or to take employment in government or local government service, industry, commerce or finance. Thus, to qualify as a barrister, everyone must join an Inn and keep a qualifying session on at least 12 occasions. The government of each Inn is ultimately controlled by the Masters of the Bench, elected mainly from among its members who are also senior members of the judiciary or Queen's Counsel.click on a title for more information Grays Inn
There has been law teaching on this site since the reign of Edward III. The London residence of the De Grey family, who had strong links with the Wales and Chester Circuit, was the Manor of Purpoole, where a number of lawyers and their families came to live and work and formed the Honourable Society of Gray's Inn. The Inn flourished under the first Elizabeth. The Hall was completed at the beginning of her reign and anyone who was anyone at her Court joined Gray's. The 'Armada' screen in the Hall may have been partly made from the timbers of the Spanish ship 'Nuestra Senora del Rosario' and donated by the Lord High Admiral of England, Howard of Effingham, who was a member. The Inner Temple
The recorded history of the area known as the Temple begins in about 1160 when it was acquired by the Knights of the Military Order of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, who moved their London base there from the Old Temple site in Holborn. Following the loss of the Holy Land in the 1290s, the Order of the Temple declined and in 1312 was dissolved, after the Knights had been arrested and imprisoned at the instigation of Pope Clement V for alleged malpractice. The Templars estates were granted by the Pope to the Knights of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem and, although the New Temple was seized initially by Edward II as forfeit to the Crown, the King conceded the consecrated portion and subsequently the whole site to the Hospitallers. The Inner Temple Library provides a service for Inner Temple barristers and students and for barrister members of the other Inns of Court. Facilities include a reference library of over 70,000 volumes of English law as well as Specialist Scottish & Commonwealth collections. There is also a very comprehensive Lincoln's Inn
In the heart of Central London lies Lincoln's Inn, a haven from the roar of traffic and crowded pavements. The Inn occupies most of the rectangle formed by High Holborn on the north, Carey Street and the Royal Courts of Justice on the south, Chancery Lane on the east and Lincoln's Inn Fields on the west. Indeed, if one excludes the frontage to High Holborn and the south-eastern block, the eleven acres of the Inn comprise virtually all that remains. The Inn is old, very old; but it is no mere relic. It houses a living, functional body of public importance, the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn. ''Lincoln's Inn'' is thus a term which describes both the place and the Society which inhabits it. Middle Temple
No precise date can be given for the establishment of the Middle Temple, or for that matter of the other three Inns of Court, though it is likely that the four Inns had come into being by the middle of the 14th century. The Inn's name derives from the Knights Templar who were in possession of the site we now call the Temple for some 150 years. The origins of the Inn trace from two roots: the occupation of the Knights and the replacement of priestly lawyers by a lay profession.
Inns of Court
The Inns of Court in London are the professional associations for barristers in England and Wales. All such barristers must belong to one such association. They have supervisory and disciplinary functions over their members. The Inns also provide libraries, dining facilities and professional accommodation. Each also has a church or chapel attached to it and is a self-contained precinct where barristers traditionally train and practise, although growth in the legal profession, together with a desire to practise from more modern accommodation caused many barristers' chambers to move outside the precincts of the Inns of Court in the late 20th century.
History and compositionSeveral centuries ago the Inns of Court were any of a sizable number of buildings or precincts where barristers traditionally lodged, trained and carried on their profession.
Over the centuries the number of active Inns of Court was reduced to the present four:
- The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn
- The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple
- The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple
- The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn
The Inns are near the western boundary of the City of London; nearby are the Royal Courts of Justice (opened in 1882; previously sat in Westminster Hall), which were placed in the legal quarter of London for convenience. Each Inn is a substantial complex with a great hall, chapel, libraries, sets of chambers for many hundreds of barristers, and gardens, and covers several acres. The layout is similar to that of an "Oxbridge" college. The "chambers" were originally used as residences as well as business premises by many of the barristers, but today, with a small number of exceptions, they serve as offices only.
Membership and governanceEach of the four Inns of Court has three ordinary grades of membership: students, barristers, and Masters of the Bench or "benchers". The benchers constitute the governing body for each Inn and appoint new members from among existing barrister members. As a rule, any barrister member of the Inn is eligible for appointment. In practice, appointments are made of senior members of the Bar, usually QCs, or High Court judges or those who carry out work on behalf of the Inn, be it on committees or through the training of students and other junior members.
Prospective students may choose to which Inn to apply for membership, but can only apply to one Inn for scholarships. An applicant may choose a particular Inn because he or she knows someone already a member, or it has a student association at their university. It makes no long-term difference which Inn a barrister joins.
The senior bencher of each Inn is the Treasurer, a position which is held for one year only. Each Inn usually also has at least one Royal Bencher. They may also appoint Honorary Benchers, from academics, the world of politics and overseas judiciary.
The Inns of Court no longer provide all the education and training needed by prospective barristers, who must pass the Bar Professional Training Course, but do provide supplementary education during the 'Bar School' year, pupillage and the early years of practice. All prospective Bar School students must be a member of one of the four Inns, and must attend twelve 'qualifying sessions' before being eligible to qualify as a barrister. Qualifying sessions traditionally comprise formal dinners followed by law-related talks, but increasingly the Inns offer training weekends that may count for several sessions' worth of attendance. The Inns still retain the sole right to call qualified students to the bar, a right currently found in section 27(3) of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990.
LocationThe four Inns are close to one another in central London. Middle Temple and Inner Temple are liberties of the City of London, which means they are within the historic boundaries of the City but are not subject to its jurisdiction. They operate as their own local authorities. These two Inns neighbour each other and occupy the core of the Temple area. The closest Tube station is Temple.
Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn are in the London Borough of Camden (formerly in the Borough of Holborn) near the boundary with the City of London. They do not have the status of local authority. The nearest Tube station is Chancery Lane.
Other InnsAnother important inn, Serjeants' Inn, was dissolved in 1877 and its assets were, controversially, distributed amongst the existing members. The membership of the Inn had consisted of a small class of senior barristers called serjeants-at-law, who were selected from the members of the other four inns and had exclusive rights of audience in certain Courts. Their pre-eminence was affected by the new rank of Queen's Counsel, which was granted to barristers who were not serjeants. The serjeant's privileges were withdrawn by the government in the 19th century, no more serjeants were appointed, and they eventually died out. The area now known as Serjeants' Inn, one of two sites formerly occupied by the Serjeants, the other being in Chancery Lane, was purchased by the Inner Temple in 2002.
It was formerly the custom for senior judges to join Serjeants' Inn, thereby leaving the Inn in which they had practised as barristers. This meant that the Masters of the Bench of the four barristers' Inns of Court were mostly themselves barristers. Since there is now no Serjeants' Inn, judges remain in the Inns which they joined as students and belonged to as barristers. This has had the effect of making the majority of the Masters of the Bench senior judges, either because they become benchers when appointed as judges, or because they become judges after being appointed as benchers.
There were also minor Inns of Chancery, including Clement's Inn, Clifford's Inn and Lyon's Inn (attached to the Inner Temple); Strand Inn and New Inn (attached to the Middle Temple); Furnival's Inn and Thavie's Inn (attached to Lincoln's Inn); and Staple Inn and Barnard's Inn (attached to Gray's Inn). There were and are only four Inns of Court, which have a special and historic status including, for example, the authority to call members to the Bar and therefore confer on them rights of audience in the High Court. The other Inns (none of which continues to function), including the Inns of Chancery, were not Inns of Court.
Since at least 1584, members of the Inns of Court have rallied to the defence of the realm during times of crisis. That tradition continues to this very day, in that 10 Stone Buildings in Lincoln's Inn has been the permanent home of the Inns of Court & City Yeomanry since the building was freed up by the abolition of the Clerks of Chancery in 1842.
There is also an Inn of Court of Northern Ireland. In the Republic of Ireland, there is only one Inn of Court, the Honorable Society of King's Inns.
American Inns of CourtFrom the late 1970s, U.S. Chief Justice Warren Burger led a movement to create Inns of Court in the United States. Although they are loosely modeled after the traditional English Inns, American Inns of Court do not include any real property. They are groups of judges, practicing attorneys, law professors and students who meet regularly to discuss and debate issues relating to legal ethics and professionalism. American Inn of Court meetings typically consist of a shared meal and a program presented by one of the Inn's pupillage teams. Chief Justice Burger and others established the American Inns of Court Foundation in 1985 to promote and charter Inns of Court across the United States.
The U.S. does not require attorneys to be a member of an Inn of Court, and many of the equivalent functions are performed by Bar Associations. However, some states do require attorneys to belong to the official bar association, e.g., the State Bar of Michigan, while other states, such as Illinois, do not make compulsory membership in an official bar association a condition of licensure. But neither voluntary bar associations (including the American Inns of Court) nor mandatory bar associations typically have any role in training or licensing of law students that would be comparable to that function of the four Inns of Court in selection and training of new barristers.