Inns of Court
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The Inns of Court in London are the professional associations for
barristers A barrister is a type of lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate An advocate is a professional in the field of law. Different countries' legal systems use the term with somewhat differing meanings. Th ...
in
England and Wales England and Wales () is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom, parts of the United Kingdom. England and Wales forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows ...

England and Wales
. There are four Inns of Court –
Gray's Inn The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn, commonly known as Gray's Inn, is one of the four Inns of Court (professional associations for barristers and judges) in London. To be called to the bar in order to practise as a barrister in England and Wale ...
,
Lincoln's Inn The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn is one of the four Inns of Court The Inns of Court in London are the professional associations for barristers A barrister is a type of lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices ...

Lincoln's Inn
,
Inner Temple The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, commonly known as the Inner Temple, is one of the four (professional associations for s and judges) in London. To be and practise as a barrister in , a person must belong to one of these Inns. It is ...

Inner Temple
and
Middle Temple The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, commonly known simply as Middle Temple, is one of the four Inns of Court The Inns of Court in London are the professional associations for barristers in England and Wales. There are four Inns of ...

Middle Temple
. All barristers must belong to one of them. 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 Legal profession is a profession A Profession is a disciplined group of individuals who adhere to ethical standards and who hold themselves out as, and are accepted by the public as possessing special knowledge and skills in a widely recognised ...
, together with a desire to practise from more modern accommodations and buildings with lower rents, caused many
barristers' chambers In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by ...
to move outside the precincts of the Inns of Court in the late 20th century.


History

During the 12th and early 13th centuries the law was taught in the
City of London The City of London is a city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It ...

City of London
, primarily by the clergy. But a
papal bull A papal bull is a type of public decree, letters patent, or charter issued by a pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the leaden Seal (emblem), seal (''bulla (seal), bulla'') that was traditionally appended to the end in order to auth ...
in 1218 prohibited the clergy from practising in the secular courts (where the English
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority ...
system operated, as opposed to the Roman
civil law Civil law may refer to: * Civil law (common law) Civil law is a major branch of the law.Glanville Williams. ''Learning the Law''. Eleventh Edition. Stevens. 1982. p. 2. In common law legal systems such as England and Wales and the law of the United ...
favoured by the Church). As a result, law began to be practised and taught by laymen instead of by clerics. To protect their schools from competition, first
Henry II Henry II may refer to: Kings *Henry II of England (1133–89), reigned from 1154 *Henry II of Jerusalem and Cyprus (1271–1324), reigned from 1285; king of Jerusalem in name only from 1291 *Henry II of Castile (1334–79), reigned 1366–67 and ...

Henry II
and later
Henry IIIHenry III may refer to: * Henry III, Duke of Bavaria (940–989) * Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor (1017–1056) * Henry III, Count of Louvain (died 1095) * Henry III, Count of Luxembourg (died 1096) * Henry III, Duke of Carinthia (1050–1122) * Henr ...

Henry III
issued proclamations prohibiting the teaching of the civil law within the City of London. The common law lawyers worked in guilds of law, modelled on trade
guild A guild is an association of artisan Wood carver in Bali An artisan (from french: artisan, it, artigiano) is a skilled craft worker who makes or creates material objects partly or entirely by hand. These objects may be functiona ...
s, which in time became the inns of court. In the earliest centuries of their existence, beginning with the 14th century, the Inns were any of a sizeable number of buildings or precincts where lawyers traditionally lodged, trained and carried on their profession. Over the centuries, the four Inns of Court became where barristers were trained, while the more numerous
Inns of Chancery The Inns of Chancery or ''Hospida Cancellarie'' were a group of buildings and legal institutions in London initially attached to the Inns of Court and used as offices for the clerks of court of equity, chancery, from which they drew their name. ...
– which were affiliated to the Inns of Court – were responsible for the training of solicitors. The four Inns of Court are: *
The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn is one of the four Inns of Court The Inns of Court in London are the professional associations for barristers A barrister is a type of lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices ...

The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn
* * * The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn There have been lawyers in the
Temple A temple (from the Latin ) is a building reserved for spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. Religions which erect temples include Christianity (whose temples are typically called church (building), churches), Hinduism (w ...
since 1320. In 1337 the premises were divided into Inner Temple, where the lawyers resided, and Middle Temple, which was also occupied by lawyers by 1346. Lincoln's Inn, the largest, is able to trace its official records to 1422. The records of Gray's Inn begin in 1569, but teaching is thought to have begun there in the late fourteenth century. In 1620 it was decided at a meeting of senior judges that all four inns would be equal in
order of precedence An order of precedence is a sequential hierarchy of nominal importance and can be applied to individuals, groups, or organizations. Most often it is used in the context of people by many organizations and governments, for very formal and state o ...
. In the 16th century and earlier, students or apprentices learned their craft primarily by attending court and sharing both accommodations and education during the legal terms. Prior to the
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, ...
in 1642, this training lasted at least seven years; subsequently, the Inns focused their residency requirements on dining together in the company of experienced barristers, to enable learning through contact and networking with experts. In the mid-18th century, the
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority ...
was first recognised as a subject for study in the universities, and by 1872, bar examinations became compulsory for entry into the profession of law.


Importance in English Renaissance theatre

The Inns played an important role in the history of the
English Renaissance theatre English Renaissance theatre, also known as Renaissance English theatre and Elizabethan theatre, refers to the theatre of England between 1558 and 1642. This is the style of the play (theatre), plays of William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe ...
. Notable literary figures and playwrights who resided in the Inns of Court include
John Donne John Donne ( ; 22 January 1572 – 31 March 1631) was an English poet, scholar, soldier and secretary born into a recusant Recusancy, from the Latin ''recusare'' (to refuse), was the state of those who remained loyal to the Catholic Church ...

John Donne
,
Francis Beaumont Francis Beaumont ( ; 1584 – 6 March 1616) was a dramatist in the English Renaissance theatre, most famous for his collaborations with John Fletcher (playwright), John Fletcher. Beaumont's life Beaumont was the son of Francis Beaumont (MP) ...

Francis Beaumont
, John Marston,
Thomas Lodge Thomas Lodge (c. 1558September 1625), the son of Lord Mayor of London, Thomas Lodge (Lord Mayor of London), Thomas Lodge, was an English writer and author during the Elizabethan era, Elizabethan and Jacobean era, Jacobean periods. Biogra ...

Thomas Lodge
,
Thomas Campion Thomas Campion (sometimes Campian; 12 February 1567 – 1 March 1620) was born in London, educated at Cambridge, studied law in Gray's inn. He was an English composer, poet, and physician. He wrote over a hundred lute songs, masques for dancing ...
,
Abraham Fraunce Abraham Fraunce (c. 1558/1560 – c. 1592/1593) was an English poet. Life A native of Shropshire Shropshire (; alternatively Salop; abbreviated in print only as Shrops; demonym Salopian ) is a landlocked historic Counties of England, cou ...
,
Sir Philip Sidney Sir Philip Sidney (30 November 1554 – 17 October 1586) was an English poet, courtier A courtier () is a person who is often in attendance at the Court (royal), court of a Monarchy, monarch or other royal personage. The earliest historical ...
,
Sir Thomas More Sir Thomas More (7 February 1478 – 6 July 1535), venerated in the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian chur ...

Sir Thomas More
,
Sir Francis Bacon Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban, (; 22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626), also known as Lord Verulam, was an English philosopher and statesman who served as Attorney General for England and Wales, Attorney General and as Lord Chancellor of K ...

Sir Francis Bacon
, and
George Gascoigne George Gascoigne (c. 15357 October 1577) was an English poet, soldier and unsuccessful courtier. He is considered the most important poet of the early Elizabethan era, following Thomas Wyatt (poet), Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, Earl of Su ...

George Gascoigne
. Plays written and performed in the Inns of Court include ''
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, Gismund of Salerne'', and ''
The Misfortunes of Arthur ''The Misfortunes of Arthur, Uther Pendragon's son reduced into tragical notes'' is a play by the 16th-century England, English dramatist Thomas Hughes (dramatist), Thomas Hughes. Written in 1587, it was performed at Greenwich before Queen Elizabe ...
''. An example of a famous
masque The masque was a form of festive courtly Courtesy (from the word ''courteis'', from the 12th century) is Gentleness, gentle politeness and Royal court, courtly Etiquette, manners. In the Middle Ages in Europe, the behaviour expected of the no ...

masque
put on by the Inns was
James Shirley James Shirley (or Sherley) (September 1596 – October 1666) was an English dramatist. He belonged to the great period of English dramatic literature, but, in Charles Lamb's words, he "claims a place among the worthies of this period, not so m ...

James Shirley
’s ''
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''.
Shakespeare William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national p ...

Shakespeare
’s ''
The Comedy of Errors ''The Comedy of Errors'' is one of William Shakespeare's William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and one ...
'' and ''
Twelfth Night ''Twelfth Night'', or ''What You Will'' is a romantic comedy Romantic comedy (also known as romcom or rom-com) is a subgenre of comedy and slice-of-life Slice of life describes the depiction of mundane experiences in art and entertainm ...

Twelfth Night
'' were also performed at the Inns, although written for commercial theatre.


Military tradition

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 the present, 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.


Membership and governance

Each of the four Inns of Court has three ordinary grades of membership: students, barristers, and masters of the bench or "
bencher A bencher or Master of the Bench is a senior member of an Inn of Court Image:London-Inns-of-Court.JPG, 300px, Combined arms of the four Inns of Court. Clockwise from top left: Lincoln's Inn, Middle Temple, Gray's Inn, Inner Temple. The Inns of ...
s". 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. 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 The Bar Professional Training Course or BPTC is a Postgraduate education, postgraduate course which allows law graduates to be named and practise as barristers in England and Wales. The eight institutes that run the BPTC along with the four pres ...
, but do provide supplementary education during the 'Bar School' year,
pupillage A pupillage, in England and Wales England and Wales () is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom, parts of the United Kingdom. England and Wales forms the constitutional successor to the f ...
and the early years of practice. All prospective Bar School students must be a member of one of the four Inns, and must attend ten (formerly 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, which is associated with a graduation ceremony ('Call Day'). Prospective students may choose which Inn to apply to for membership, but can only apply to one Inn for scholarships. It makes no long-term difference which Inn a barrister joins; an applicant might, for example, choose a particular inn because he or she knows someone already a member, or it has a student association at their university. The inns' disciplinary functions are carried out by a joint Council of the Inns of Court, which administers the disciplinary tribunals. Barristers are prosecuted by the
Bar Standards Board The Bar Standards Board regulates barristers in England and Wales Barristers in England and Wales are one of the two main categories of lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at law, barr ...
.


Location and layout

The four inns are located near one another in central London, near the western boundary of the
City of London The City of London is a city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It ...

City of London
. Nearby are the
Royal Courts of Justice The Royal Courts of Justice, commonly called the Law Courts, is a court building in Westminster which houses the High Court of Justice of England and Wales, High Court and Court of Appeal of England and Wales. The High Court also sits on circui ...

Royal Courts of Justice
, which were moved for convenience from
Westminster Hall The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In the UK and Canada, the Common ...
to the legal quarter of London in 1882. 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 A temple (from the Latin word ) is a building reserved for religious or spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. The term typically used for such buildings belonging to all faiths where a more specific term such as church ( ...
area. The closest
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Tube
station is
Temple A temple (from the Latin ) is a building reserved for spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. Religions which erect temples include Christianity (whose temples are typically called church (building), churches), Hinduism (w ...
. Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn are in the
London Borough of Camden The London Borough of Camden () is a London borough The London boroughs are the 32 local authority districts that make up the ceremonial county The counties and areas for the purposes of the lieutenancies, also referred to as the l ...
(formerly in the Borough of Holborn) near the boundary with the City of London. They do not have the status of a local authority. The nearest Tube station is
Chancery Lane Chancery Lane is a one-way street One-way traffic (or uni-directional traffic) is traffic that moves in a single direction. A one-way street is a street either facilitating only one-way traffic, or designed to direct vehicles to move in o ...
. Each Inn is a substantial complex with a
great hall #REDIRECTGreat hall#REDIRECTGreat hall A great hall is the main room of a royal palace, nobleman's castle or a large manor house or hall house in the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted fr ...

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 Oxbridge is a portmanteau A portmanteau (, ) or portmanteau word (from "portmanteau (luggage) A portmanteau is a piece of luggage Baggage or luggage consists of bags, cases, and containers which hold a travel Travel is the move ...
college. The chambers were originally used as residences as well as business premises by many of the barristers, but today they serve as offices with only a small number of apartments.


Historically related Inns


Serjeants' Inn

Another 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 A Serjeant-at-Law (SL), commonly known simply as a Serjeant, was a member of an order of barristers at the Barristers in England and Wales, English and Bar Council of Ireland, Irish bar. The position of Serjeant-at-Law (''servientes ad legem''), ...
, 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 In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some pr ...
, 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.


Inns of Chancery

There were also
Inns of Chancery The Inns of Chancery or ''Hospida Cancellarie'' were a group of buildings and legal institutions in London initially attached to the Inns of Court and used as offices for the clerks of court of equity, chancery, from which they drew their name. ...
, including
Clement's Inn , the only Inn of Chancery building to survive largely intact The Inns of Chancery or ''Hospida Cancellarie'' were a group of buildings and legal institutions in London initially attached to the Inns of Court Image:London-Inns-of-Court.JPG, 300p ...
, Clifford's Inn and Lyon's Inn (attached to the Inner Temple); Strand Inn and New Inn (Inn of Chancery), 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) were not Inns of Court.


Irish Inns of Court

There is also an Bar of Northern Ireland, 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 Court

From the late 1970s, U.S. Chief Justice Warren Burger led a movement to create Inns of Court in the United States, loosely modelled after the traditional English Inns. In 1985, he and others established the American Inns of Court Foundation to promote and formally charter local Inns of Court across the United States. Each local Inn is devoted to promoting professionalism, civility, ethics, and legal skills amongst the American bench and bar, in a collegial setting, through continuing education and mentoring. At present, each major American city has more than one Inn of Court; for example, one Inn may be affiliated with a local law school, and another may be associated with a specific field of legal practice. American Inns of Court do not possess any real property. They are groups of judges, practising attorneys, law professors and students who meet regularly (usually monthly) to discuss and debate issues relating to legal ethics and professionalism. American Inn of Court meetings typically consist of a shared meal and a programme presented by one of the Inn's pupillage teams. The U.S. does not require attorneys to be members of an Inn of Court, and many of the equivalent functions are performed by state bar associations. Some states 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 membership of an official bar association a compulsory condition of licensure. Neither voluntary professional 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 English Inns of Court in selection and training of new barristers. While the American Inns of Court share a collegial relationship with the English Inns, there is no formal or legal relationship. A Declaration of Friendship was signed by the English and American Inns of Court, establishing visitation procedures under which American Inn members can acquire a letter of introduction that will officially introduce them to the Inns in England and Ireland, with reciprocal procedures available for English and Irish barristers. An annual six-week exchange program, known as the Pegasus Scholarships, was created to provide for young English barristers to travel to the United States, and young American Inn of Court members to travel to London, to learn about the legal system of the other jurisdiction.


See also

*Faculty of Advocates, the rough equivalent in Scots law, Scotland to the English Inns of Court *Doctors' Commons *The Inns of Court & City Yeomanry *City Law School, formerly the Inns of Court School of Law


References


Notes


External links


Gray's Inn's websiteInner Temple's websiteLincoln's Inn's websiteMiddle Temple's websiteInns of Court comparison table
{{Legal services in the United Kingdom Inns of Court, Bar of England and Wales Legal organisations based in the United Kingdom