Annual Trinity Term Elections of Masters of the Bench

Nominations and applications for the election of new Masters of the Bench in 2020 are open and will be accepted until 5pm on Friday 8 May 2020.

Guidance on eligibility, procedure and selection criteria for each of the different categories of Masters of the Bench is below. Please read this information carefully.

If you require any further information please contact the Executive Assistant to the Sub-Treasurer, Jennie Collis Price, by email to elections@innertemple.org.uk or on 020 7797 8177.

The Inn’s Requirements for Benchers

The following information is an extract from Bench Table Order APPENDIX 5 - Criteria for the Election of Benchers. The Bench Table Orders (BTOs), which define the election processes and criteria, are available here.

The primary function of the Inn is the provision of first-class education and training in advocacy and other professional skills for its students and new practitioners and of high quality continuing professional development for its more experienced barrister members. The Inn needs a sizeable pool of Benchers who possess the appropriate skills and commitment to assist in planning, devising and delivering training and continuing education both in London and on the Circuits.

The Inn also undertakes a full programme of work designed to encourage and facilitate entry to the Bar by persons from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures. This work includes the implementation of a Schools Project, the organisation of events such as debating workshops, open days, dinners for university students and schemes such as the Mentoring Scheme for students and the forging of links with schools, colleges, university academics and Bar Course providers. In addition, the Inn provides scholarships and other awards of varying value to students who would not otherwise have the means to enter the profession. Benchers play a large part in the planning and delivery of these activities.

Benchers with appropriate skills and interests are also required to direct and/or support the Inn’s full-time staff in a range of tasks, including: 

  • The provision and allocation of scholarships and other funding to assist students wishing to go to the Bar;
  • The management of the Inn’s assets, including its finances and investments;
  • The operation of the Inn’s Library and Archives;
  • The commercial use of the Inn’s facilities for private, corporate and other events and for other purposes such as filming;
  • The maintenance, upkeep and improvement of the Inn’s historic buildings and gardens;
  • The discharge of the Inn’s responsibilities as a commercial and residential landlord and as an employer;
  • The planning and organisation of the day-to-day activities of the Inn and of its musical and ecclesiastical life.  

An outline of the role and duties of Governing Benchers is available here. Academic, Overseas and Honorary Benchers are expected to make an equally positive contribution to the affairs and the ethos of the Inn.

Diversity

Inner Temple is committed to a policy of fairness and equality of opportunity (the Inn's Equality & Diversity Policy can be viewed here). The Bencher Nomination Committee reviews annually the diversity statistics of the Bench according to available data, with a view to monitoring how the Inn’s governing body and Bench in general reflects the composition of our overall membership. The Bencher Nomination Committee is therefore particularly keen to encourage a diverse range of nominations and applications with regard to gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation and geographical area of practice. Due regard shall be given to diversity throughout the nomination and election process.

Criteria and Guidance on Nominations and Applications Procedures

The types of Benchers, eligibility for nomination, guidance on making a nomination or application and selection criteria is available by category below.

The Bencher Nomination Committee, who will review all nominations, will be looking for candidates who are able to demonstrate their commitment to the Inn through past contribution to the affairs of the Inn (for instance, through support of the Inn’s education and training activities or as a member of the Bar Liaison Committee) and a strong likelihood that, if elected, they will continue to make an active and positive contribution. We recognise that there could be circumstances that may have prevented a candidate from previous participation – those circumstances, as well as contributions to the legal profession generally and a clear intention to actively participate in the affairs of the Inn, will be taken fully into account. The Committee will also play close attention to candidates who appear to possess skills and interests required either generally or in relation to any specific needs identified by the Inn to perform one or more of its functions.