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Becoming a Bencher

The Inn maintains a register, on behalf of the Advisory (Benchers) Committee, of members over fifteen 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. For further information please contact Amy Higgins, Manager, Bench Administration below.

Complete a Bench Register Form

If you are a member of the Inn of fifteen years Call or more and have not provided a completed form for the Bench Register, we strongly encourage you to do so.

There have been two recent changes –

  • The first is that eligibility for election and those eligible to be on the Bench Register have been brought into line at fifteen years Call (eligibility previously having been 20 years Call).
  • The second is that the A(B)C have agreed a new Bench Register form for use in all future selections.

Fill in a Bench Register Form

So that the members of A(B)C can give proper consideration with the best evidence in front of them, members are strongly encouraged to register so that you can go back and edit your form at any time.

The Process

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. 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.

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.

Nominations

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 and members should not be told of their nomination. 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.

Download a Nomination form