The Masters of the Bench, generally referred to as Benchers, form the Council of Lincoln’s Inn, our governing body. The Inn undertakes a number of regulated activities in relation to qualification for the Bar. Further details on our governance and regulation are set out below.
In addition, the four Inns of Court collaborate via the Council of the Inns of Court (COIC). This body co-ordinates work that the four Inns of Court undertake jointly. It is chaired by a President and comprises the Treasurers, Under Treasurers, and nominated Trustees of the Inns. The Bar Council and BSB also attend COIC meetings. COIC is also responsible for administering the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service (BTAS), the Inns’ Conduct Committee (ICC), and the Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA).
The Inn has a number of roles and responsibilities in relation to the education, training, and qualification of barristers of England and Wales. The rules and regulations that govern these roles and responsibilities are set out in a number of places, namely:
BSB Handbook (Part 4: Qualification Rules)
Bar Qualification Manual (Part 3: The Role of the Inns)
Memorandum of Understanding between the Inns and the BSB, including Schedule 1: Guidelines for Fit and Proper Person Checks, Schedule 2: Qualifying Sessions Framework, Schedule 3: Data Sharing Protocol, and Schedule 4: Assurance Framework
Joint Inns’ Education and Qualification Rules
There are transitional arrangements in place for students who commenced the Bar Course prior to 1 June 2020, students who started undertaking qualifying sessions prior to 1 June 2020, and transferring lawyers admitted prior to 1 September 2020. Please refer to the tables in the Joint Inns’ Education and Qualification Rules for further information.
Officers of the Inn
The Officers of the Inn are Benchers elected annually to hold certain positions within the Inn for a one-year term. The Treasurer is the head of the Inn. The Treasurer is supported by the other Officers, namely the Master of the Library, the Keeper of the Black Book, and the Master of the Walks. The role of Dean of the Chapel is usually held by the Keeper of the Black Book but may be held by another Officer.
Officers of the Inn for 2021
Treasurer – The Rt Hon Lord Justice David Richards
Lord Justice David Richards was called to the Bar in 1974 by Inner Temple and joined Lincoln’s Inn in 1977. He was in practice at the Bar from 1975 to 2003 and took silk in 1992. He was appointed a High Court Judge in 2003. On 16 November 2015 he was appointed as a Lord Justice of Appeal. He was elected a Bencher in 2000. He was a longstanding member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee and served as its Chairman from 2014-2019. He is a Director of the Inn’s Corporate Trust, a Trustee of the Heritage Fund, a member of PADG and the Wine Committee.
The Immediate Past Treasurer is The Rt Hon Lord Justice McCombe.
Master of the Library – Jonathan Crow QC
Jonathan Crow QC was called in 1981 and took silk in 2006. He is a practising barrister at 4 Stone Buildings. His practice includes civil fraud, company law, corporate insolvencies, public law and constitutional law. In addition to his work in London, he also has a busy overseas practice. He sits part time as a Deputy High Court Judge in London and as a judge of the Courts of Appeal in Jersey and Guernsey. He is Attorney General to HRH The Prince of Wales. He was elected a Bencher in 1998. He sits on the Finance and General Purposes Committee and previously served on the Estates Committee, Treasurer’s Committee and University Liaison Committee.
Keeper of the Black Book – The Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Vos
Sir Geoffrey Vos was called to the Bar by Inner Temple in 1977 and joined Lincoln’s Inn in 1979. He practised at the Chancery-Commercial bar and took silk in 1993. He was appointed a Justice of the High Court in October 2009. He was appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2013. He was appointed Chancellor of the High Court of England and Wales in 2016. He was the Chairman of the Chancery Bar Association from 1999 to 2001 and of the Bar Council in 2007. He was elected a Bencher in 2000. He sits on the Wine Committee and previously served on the Admission, Call and Pupillage Committee and Finance and General Purposes Committee.
Master of the Walks and Dean of the Chapel – The Rt Hon Lord Briggs of Westbourne
Lord Briggs practised in commercial and chancery work before being appointed to the High Court in 2006. He was the judge in charge of the extensive Lehman insolvency litigation from 2009 to 2013. He was appointed as a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2013. In January 2016 he was appointed Deputy Head of Civil Justice. He became a Justice of The Supreme Court in October 2017. He was elected a Bencher in 2001. He became Chair of the Chapel Committee last year having been a member since 2002. He previously served on the Advisory (Benchers) Committee and the Rent Executive Committee.
Council is the governing body of the Inn; made up of all the Benchers of the Inn. Council meetings are usually held ten times a year. Council is responsible for the oversight of the Inn’s functions and the election of new Benchers. The detailed oversight is carried out by the Inn’s Standing Committees.
Standing Orders is the document by which rules and guidance is stated in relation to the administration of the Society.
Members of the Inn may request a copy from Liz Carter, EA to the Under Treasurer or locate a copy in the Library.
The Benchers are joined in carrying out their governance of the Inn by the Bar Representation Committee (BRC). This Committee exists to provide representation of the views of our Called members who have not been elected Benchers. BRC members sit on almost all of the Inn’s Standing Committees, where they play an active role in the governance of the Inn.