Happy New Year. I very much hope that you and your families have all enjoyed a well-earned rest over the holiday season.
Let me begin by expressing, on behalf of all the members and all the staff of the Inn, our very sincere thanks to the Immediate Past Treasurer for two heroic years. No one could have foreseen what David had to confront, and no one could have handled it with greater wisdom or greater fortitude. His sound judgment and good humour will be greatly missed. Thank you, David. Please allow me to convey the best wishes of the whole Inn, both to you and also to Gillian for the unstinting and selfless service you have given.
Turning to this year, it is a momentous occasion for the Inn as we mark 600 years of unbroken records in the Black Books. Although the Inn is known to have existed before 1422, quite possibly for decades, it is only right to treat this year as a truly significant anniversary, if not strictly a birthday – just as our predecessors celebrated the quincentenary in 1922.
There is much in the Inn’s history of which we can be justly proud, but there is no reason to be complacent. So, while commemorating the anniversary, we must also do what we can to prepare the Inn for the future, to ensure that our successors will be similarly able to look back with pride at what we have achieved in nurturing and strengthening our own inheritance. This will involve not only completing the current phase of renovation works on the Inn’s estate but also, more importantly, the long-anticipated modernisation of the Inn’s governance, along with the continued development and delivery of crucial training for students and for practitioners. Above all, the Inn’s livelihood and unique character must always be founded on the preservation and enhancement of its special status as a collegiate work-place for professionals.
Who knows what 2022 will bring? But we have already seen, from the last two years of dedication and adaptation on the part of our members and our wonderful staff, that the Inn is well capable not only of surviving but even of thriving in the face of adversity. We have, for example, learnt that members’ engagement with the Inn’s activities can be expanded by holding remote and hybrid events, enabling those outside London to share in educational and social events, as well as committee and Council meetings, in a way we would never otherwise have exploited. None of us can claim to have enjoyed the pandemic, but we can all claim to have learnt from it, both as individuals and as an institution.
Whatever this year may bring, I know that we can all look to each other for mutual support, and that everyone will continue to manifest the same wonderfully collaborative spirit that has brought the Inn this far, and will hopefully ensure that it continues to thrive for just as long in the future.
With best wishes for 2022,
Jonathan Crow QC, Treasurer