Academic Benchers

Eligibility for Nomination

A member or non-member of the Inn who is a distinguished academic. A candidate may come from any academic discipline but ideally their work should contribute to the study of law and disciplines relevant to the education of future legal practitioners, or to other activities of the Inn.

Nomination Procedure

Nominations for Academic Benchers may be made by any Governing Bencher in writing having particular regard to the Criteria for the Election of Benchers (BTO Appendix 5). We recommend that a CV is also provided by the deadline for nominations for the Bencher Nomination Committee’s reference. Candidates should not be consulted on a nomination until the matter has been considered by Bench Table.

Nominations from Governing Benchers should be submitted by email, addressed for the attention of Master Reader, Chair of the Bencher Nomination Committee, and sent care of the Sub-Treasurer’s Office or to Jennie Collis Price, Executive Assistant to the Sub-Treasurer, at jcollisprice@innertemple.org.uk by 5pm on Friday 8 May 2020. Nominations received after the deadline or incomplete nominations may not be considered.

Review of Candidates

Each nomination will be considered by the Bencher Nomination Committee. When selecting candidates to be put forward for election as Academic Benchers, the Bencher Nomination Committee shall have regard to the Criteria for the Election of Benchers (BTO Appendix 5) and the views of the Education & Training Committee.

Candidates considered to have met the criteria will be recommended for election to the Executive Committee. If the Executive Committee approves the recommendation, the name of the candidate shall be submitted to Bench Table for consideration as an Academic Bencher and a vote shall be held by a show of hands. The candidate shall be approved for election to the Bench if no fewer than twenty Governing Benchers vote for the candidate, and they form a majority of the Governing Benchers present. Following such approval of a candidate by Bench Table, the Treasurer shall write to the candidate requesting their consent to election as an Academic Bencher. If consent is given, that candidate will be elected as Academic Bencher at the following Bench Table.

Successful candidates will be invited to complete an optional and anonymous online Equality & Diversity Monitoring Form on election to enable the Bencher Nomination Committee and Equality, Diversity & Inclusivity Sub-Committee to monitor diversity data.

There is no limit to the number of Academic Benchers that can be elected.

Selection Criteria

The Inn seeks to form stronger links with higher education institutions across the UK, the European Union, the Commonwealth and further afield by recognising academics of outstanding ability and distinction and, in doing so, produce an even stronger academic ethos within the Inn. An Academic Bencher should be prepared to contribute positively to the work and ethos of the Inn.

When selecting candidates to be put forward for election as Academic Benchers, the Bencher Nomination Committee shall have, inter alia, regard to the following:

(a)        Any specific need(s) that the Inn may have at that time for Benchers who possess the skills and interests necessary to perform one or more of its functions;

(b)       The extent to which the candidate appears to possess skills and interests required by the Inn either generally or in relation to any specific need(s) identified under (a) above;

(c)        The extent to which the candidate has demonstrated a strong likelihood that, as an Academic Bencher, he or she will make a positive contribution to the affairs of the Inn;

(d)       The extent to which the candidate has taken, or is taking, any significant part in the affairs of the Inn or, more generally, in the affairs of the legal profession;

(e)        The views of the Education & Training Committee.

As to (c), a strong likelihood that a candidate will make a positive contribution to the affairs of the Inn is best evidenced by previous participation in the affairs of the Inn or of the legal profession. However, it is recognised that, on occasion, circumstances may have prevented the candidate from such previous participation. In such cases, the Committee will take the candidate’s particular circumstances fully into account and will look for evidence of a real intention on the part of the candidate, if elected, to play an active part in the Inn’s affairs.