2022 Vision for Education

The strategy we propose for the Inn is one of life-long education based upon core values of Excellence, Integrity, Ethics, Inclusion and Community.

Barristers have, in addition to traditional knowledge-based skills, a range of attributes or personal characteristics which they deploy both consciously and unconsciously. Inner Temple should develop its education and training strategy with this in mind.

The Bar faces a number of challenges: 

  • (a) from the development of artificial intelligence;
  • (b) from those who are not legally qualified but who give advice in areas traditionally the preserve of lawyers, and
  • (c) the "Post Truth" challenge: this is harder to define, but the use and abuse of social media seems likely to deepen disrespect for expertise. 

We identify three major areas that will characterise a barrister’s work over the years ahead. These are:

  • (a) Building knowledge;
  • (b) Advocacy (both oral and written); and
  • (c) The public presentation of the barrister’s profession.

When considering the core function of advocacy, the traditional emphasis on cognitive skills and knowledge of the law should be complemented by greater recognition of the importance of:

  • (i) non-cognitive skills (such as collaboration), 
  • (ii) attitudes (particularly empathy for others, including witnesses and other court users),
  • (iii) independence  and 
  • (iv) the values of integrity and respect for the court. 

One of the aspects we feel is of primary importance is that the Inn should explicitly include the middle years and senior barristers when considering its future education and training programme. 

We emphasise the central importance of advocacy training, lying as it does at the heart of what it means to be a barrister.  We recommend that the provision of advocacy training should now be extended beyond the student and the new practitioner to include the middle years and even the senior practitioner. However, we feel that it is neither desirable nor achievable for this to be compulsory; rather, we would seek to make it attractive. 

We recommend that in the pursuit of lifelong learning, much more effort should be put into developing teaching methods other than the traditional face-to-face training. The use of technology is central to this.

The Bar's reputation for integrity (including, for example, the existence of the cab-rank rule) is one of its major selling points. Training in ethics needs more prominence. Every aspect of the new education and training programme should be assessed in the context of the need for an ethical component. 
Inner Temple should continue to encourage the widest possible pool of candidates both for the Bar in general and membership of the Inn in particular. 

The Inn should be a “thought leader” in the legal profession and a centre for promoting values which support the rule of law. The Inner Temple should aim to be recognised as a leading institution promoting the rule of law and advancing knowledge of the British legal system, with a reputation and status similar to those of the Royal Institution or  Royal Medical Colleges.