The Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Vos, the 516th Treasurer of Lincoln’s Inn, reflects on his year in post.
May I be forgiven for some brief reflections on the past year at Lincoln’s Inn as my term of office draws to a close?
Shortly after my inauguration last January, I acknowledged that some of you were probably apprehensive at having elected a mad or maddening moderniser as Treasurer. Perhaps you thought that, by the end of my year, the Library would have “gone digital” and the books would have been placed underground in a disused mine shaft. I am, after all, well known for having given up using paper. I hope you can now breathe more easily. The Library is untouched and our historic buildings are still intact.
Indeed, I believe that 400th anniversary of the Lincoln’s Inn Chapel has been a triumph. There have been a series of inspirational events that have been widely supported by those of all faiths and none.
I also said at my inauguration that I was committed to making the Inn an ever more inclusive place for all its members, whether students, barristers or benchers, and all its staff. I feel that this year has seen the consolidation of a number of initiatives that have made a material contribution to the realisation of this objective.
The Equality Diversity and Inclusion Committee has gone from strength to strength. The new Code of Conduct has become embedded in the life of the Inn, detailing expected standards of behaviour for all our members. The secular grace has, I hope, gone some way to making those who felt uncomfortable with an exclusively Christian grace, feel more included. We have formally abandoned the use of the term “Master” to refer to Benchers. We have made the process by which we appoint future Treasurers more transparent and accountable. And finally, we have published the results of Lincoln’s Inn first EDI Survey conducted across the Inn’s membership. We cannot be complacent about the outcome, but it is a big step forward to recognise the problems we face.
Our formal statement of purpose describes Lincoln’s Inn as an inclusive and diverse professional community. I believe that the Inn is now set on a path towards achieving that purpose, ensuring compliance with our Code of Conduct, establishing a programme of D&I (Diversity & Inclusion) training and awareness raising, and a series of other measures to tackle non-inclusive behaviours.
Only you can say whether my feelings about the Inn are true. But I think that a lot of fun has been had this year. I think the atmosphere at Inn’s events, at Call days, at Grand Days and at Domus evenings has been buzzy and engaged. I feel that staff and members alike have enjoyed the year. I know I have.
Finally, I made a plea at my inauguration for more of you regularly to use the Inn for lunch, whether in Hall or in the MCR. After all, the catering at Lincoln’s Inn is marvellous and wins prizes. Please, please continue to do so.
It has been an honour and a privilege to have served as the 516th Treasurer of Lincoln’s Inn. Many thanks to all the staff, members and Benchers for your conspicuous help and support. I much look forward to doing all I can to support Lord Michael Briggs, the next Treasurer, in 2024.
Season’s Greetings to all.