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Encyclopedia > Inns of Court
Combined arms of the four Inns of Court. Clockwise from top left: Lincoln's Inn, Middle Temple, Gray's Inn, Inner Temple.
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 Court, in London, are the professional associations to one of which every English barrister (and those judges who were formerly barristers) must belong. 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. Each Inn of Court is a self-contained precinct within London, where barristers traditionally train and practise, although growth in the profession caused many barristers' chambers to move outside the precincts of the Inns of Court in the late 20th century. Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... Image File history File linksMetadata London-Inns-of-Court. ... Image File history File linksMetadata London-Inns-of-Court. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... // Artists impression of an English and Irish barrister A barrister is a lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions which employ a split profession (as opposed to a fused profession) in relation to legal representation. ... A lawyer is a person licensed by the state to advise clients in legal matters and represent them in courts of law and in other forms of dispute resolution. ... A judges chambers - often just called Chambers - is the office of a judge. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999...


History and composition

Several 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 four, which are Lincoln's Inn, Gray's Inn, Inner Temple and Middle Temple. Part of Lincolns Inn drawn by Thomas Shepherd c. ... Entrance to Grays Inn Grays Inn is one of the four Inns of Court in around the Royal Courts of Justice in London, England to which barristers belong and where they are called to the bar. ... Combined coat of arms of the four Inns of Court. ... Part of Middle Temple c. ...

The Inns are located near the western border of the City of London (i.e. the central part of the London urban area); nearby is the Royal Courts of Justice, which was placed here in the legal quarter of London for convenience (opened in 1882; these Courts sat previously in Westminster Hall). 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. Motto: Domine dirige nos Latin: Lord, guide us Shown within Greater London Sovereign state Constituent country Region Greater London Status City and Ceremonial County Admin HQ Guildhall Government  - Leadership see text  - Mayor David Lewis  - MP Mark Field  - London Assembly John Biggs Area  - Total 1. ... The main entrance The Royal Courts of Justice, commonly called the Law Courts, is a building in London, which houses the Court of Appeal and the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. ... A great hall was the main room of a royal palace, a noblemans castle or a large manor house in the Middle Ages, and in the country houses of the 16th and early 17th centuries. ... This article is about the unit of measure known as the acre. ... Oxbridge is a name used to refer to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, the two oldest in the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world. ...

Membership and governance

The Inns of Court have three grades of membership: students, barristers, and Masters of the Bench or "benchers". The benchers constitute the governing body and are self-electing i.e. existing benchers co-opt new benchers from amongst the membership of the Inn. The senior bencher of each Inn is the Treasurer, a position which is held for one year only. A bencher or Master of the Bench is a senior member of an Inn of Court. ... Look up Treasurer in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

The Inns of Court no longer provide all the education and training needed by prospective barristers (who must pass the Bar Vocational 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. 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). The Inns also formally pronounce the sentence determined in disciplinary proceedings, including the ultimate sanction of disbarment. This does not cite its references or sources. ... A pupillage, in England and Wales, is the barristers equivalent of the training contract that a solicitor undertakes. ...


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. The closest London Underground station is Temple. The London Underground is an underground railway system - also known as a rapid transit system - that serves a large part of Greater London, United Kingdom and some neighbouring areas. ... Categories: Circle Line stations | District Line stations | London Underground stubs ...

Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn are in the London Borough of Camden (formerly in the Borough of Holborn), just by the border with the City of London. They have no such status as local authorities. The nearest tube station is Chancery Lane. The London Borough of Camden is a borough of London, England, which forms part of Inner London. ... The Metropolitan Borough of Holborn was a metropolitan borough in the County of London between 1899 and 1965, when it was amalgamated with the Metropolitan Borough of St Pancras and the Metropolitan Borough of Hampstead to form the London Borough of Camden. ... Chancery Lane tube station platform, eastbound Chancery Lane tube station platform, with arriving Central Line train Chancery Lane is a London Underground station in central London. ...

Other Inns

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, 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 (which is one of two sites formerly occupied by the Serjeants, the other being in Chancery Lane) was purchased by the Inner Temple in 2002. Serjeant-at-law is an obsolete order of barristers at the English or Irish bar. ... 1877 (MDCCCLXXVII) was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... Serjeants-at-Law (servientes ad legem), or Sergeants Counters, were the highest order of counsel in England and Ireland. ... For information about The Times satire Queens Counsel, see Queens Counsel (comic strip). ...

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. Now, however, there being 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). However, 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. The Inns of Chancery were buildings which housed associations of lawyers in London from the late Middle Ages to the 19th century. ... Cliffords Inn was an Inn of Chancery, which formerly stood on Cliffords Inn Passage, off Fleet Street. ... Combined coat of arms of the four Inns of Court. ... Part of Middle Temple c. ... Furnivals Inn was an Inn of Chancery which formerly stood on the site of the Holborn Bars building (the former Prudential Insurance Company building) in Holborn, London. ... Part of Lincolns Inn drawn by Thomas Shepherd c. ... Staple Inn in 1886. ... Barnards Inn is the current home of Gresham College in Holborn, London. ... Entrance to Grays Inn Grays Inn is one of the four Inns of Court in around the Royal Courts of Justice in London, England to which barristers belong and where they are called to the bar. ...

There is also an Inn of Court of Northern Ireland. In the Republic of Ireland, there exists only one Inn of Court, namely the Honorable Society of King's Inns (note not Honourable). The Kings Inns or formally the Honorable Society of Kings Inns (HSKI) is the institution which controls the entry of barristers-at-law into the justice system of the Republic of Ireland. ...

Beginning in the late 1970's, 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. Instead, 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.
Warren Burger at a press conference in May 1969 shortly after he was nominated to be Chief Justice of the United States. ... From the Inns of Court article: Beginning in the late 1970s, U.S. Chief Justice Warren Burger led a movement to create Inns of Court in the United States. ...

Inns of Court
Gray's Inn | Lincoln's Inn | Inner Temple | Middle Temple



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