The Benchers Administrator maintains a register, on behalf of the Advisory (Benchers) Committee, of members over twenty years Call who have indicated their willingness to take part in the governance of the Inn by submitting a completed Bench Register form. Those on the register form a pool from which candidates for election to the Bench are drawn.
Save in exceptional cases, Benchers are expected to take their turn dining in Hall on a rota basis and, if possible and appropriate, attending Chapel on Sundays; to take part when available in the Inn’s education programme for students; and generally to assist in the running of the Inn’s affairs.
While there is no annual subscription, those elected are asked to pay a ‘Bench Fine’, currently £2,000, before taking up their Bench privileges; and term commons of £75 which pays for the first dinner in any dining term (ie four times per year).
If you are a member of the Inn of twenty years Call or more and have not provided a completed form for the Bench Register (or you wish to submit a new one to reflect some significant change from a previous form), please download and complete the proforma below. It will greatly assist the Committee in its difficult task of sifting information from a large number of people if you would also provide a CV - even if the information you give may be duplicated.
Members of at least fifteen years Call may also be nominated for consideration at a particular election by at least five other members of the Society. Members may not nominate themselves. A nomination may be made at any time but is only valid for one election. Elections are held twice a year (unless at any particular time Council decides there are no vacancies), culminating in the announcement of new Benchers in May and November. A closing date is set for nominations for each election round and any nomination received after that date is retained on file for the next round, unless the nominators ask for it to be withdrawn.
The closing date for nominations is Friday 7 July 2017. The names of those elected will be announced at Adjourned Council on Tuesday 21 November 2017.
As part of the election process, the Advisory (Benchers) Committee submits selected names for the consideration of Council from among those whose names are on the register and those for whom there are valid nominations when vacancies are declared. A candidate will not normally be told that his or her name is going forward.
Successful candidates are told of their election by a Bencher, who will usually be one of the two Benchers who will act as supporters for the new Bencher's publication to Hall. This takes place at a convenient lunchtime during the legal term and involves the brief ceremony known variously as 'benching' or 'dragging in', when the new Bencher is marched around the Benchers' table in the Great Hall to the Treasurer's chair (resisting - but not too much! - as a mark of his or her unworthiness of the honour). The senior supporter then presents the candidate to the Treasurer, who responds by formally publishing him or her as a Bencher.