Barrister Governing Benchers

Eligibility for Nomination

A member of the Inn in practice as a self-employed barrister or as an employed barrister (as defined in the Bar Standards Board Handbook); who has shown ability and distinction in their practice. Seniority as a member of the Inn or in Silk shall not be a determinative factor as to suitability for nomination or election.

Nomination Procedure

Nominations for Barrister Governing Benchers must be proposed by THREE Governing Benchers, of whom at least TWO must be current Barrister Governing Benchers. The third may be a Judicial or an Other Governing Bencher. Members of the Bencher Nomination Committee are not permitted to support a nomination.

The nomination paperwork to be submitted by the candidate to the Sub-Treasurer’s Office by 5pm on Friday 8 May 2020 shall consist of:

  1. A Nomination and Application Form (download below), completed by the candidate and signed by three nominating Governing Benchers. Electronic signatures will be accepted in light of restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic;
  2. Supporting references from the three nominating Governing Benchers by email, addressed for the attention of Master Reader, Chair of the Bencher Nomination Committee, and sent care of the Sub-Treasurer’s Office. References should set out the reasons in favour of the candidate being elected, having particular regard to the Criteria for the Election of Benchers. It is not necessary for the supporting references to be lengthy. Governing Benchers should, however, note that separate and full references are of assistance to the Bencher Nomination Committee;
  3. The candidate’s CV (of no more than two sides of A4) to include information presented under the following headings: brief statement of nature of practice at the Bar; Inn or other Scholarships gained; professional or other appointments;
  4. A statement from the candidate (no more than 200 words), demonstrating their qualification for election and including details of their recent support of the Inn, having regard to Bench Table Orders (BTO) 3.2 and 3.3 and the Criteria for the Election of Benchers (BTO Appendix 5) including, as necessary, an undertaking and declaration (see guidance on form);
  5. Photograph of candidate (high quality and resolution, suitable for professional print, JPG format);
  6. Completion of an optional and anonymous online Equality & Diversity Monitoring Form to enable the Bencher Nomination Committee and Equality, Diversity & Inclusivity Sub-Committee to monitor diversity data on the point of nomination. Successful candidates will be asked to complete a further anonymous monitoring form on election so as to track diversity statistics (link below).

The candidate should submit the above by email to the Executive Assistant to the Sub-Treasurer, Jennie Collis Price, at Supporting references can sent by the nominating Benchers directly to Mrs Collis Price by email. 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 Barrister Governing Benchers, the Bencher Nomination Committee shall have regard to the Criteria for the Election of Benchers (BTO Appendix 5).


If the number of Barrister Governing Bencher candidates selected to be put forward by the Bencher Nomination Committee does not exceed the number of spaces available for election, the Committee may recommend to the Executive Committee that all candidates should be put forward to Bench Table for direct election. However, if there are more suitable candidates than there are spaces, the Committee may determine to arrange a ballot of Governing Benchers: in which case further details of voting procedures for Governing Benchers will be circulated in June. 


Candidates nominated from circuits other than the South Eastern circuit or from the Employed Bar may be nominated by the Committee for direct election without entry into any ballot (BTO 5.8). Such candidates will be submitted to the Executive Committee, who shall consider whether or not to approve each of the Direct Nominees. If approved, the Direct Nominee is eligible for election at Bench Table; if not approved, they shall cease to be a Direct Nominee but shall become eligible for entry in the ballot.

Selection Criteria

Bench Table Order 3.3 defines the expectations of Governing Benchers as follows:

  • attend at Parliaments and Bench Tables wherever possible;
  • attend meetings of committees and sub-committees of the Society to which they have been elected and meetings of other bodies to which they have been nominated by the Society;
  • assist the Society in carrying out the education and training functions of the Society.

When selecting candidates to be put forward for election as Barrister, Judicial or Other Governing 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 a Governing Bencher, they 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, whether on the Bar Council, on circuit; in a specialist Bar association or the Judicial College; or otherwise.

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. 

Bencher Fee and Bench Commons Subscription

If elected, a Governing Bencher shall be required to pay the prescribed Bencher Fee of £1,560. Options are available for payment in instalments. If you would like to speak to the Sub-Treasurer about the Bencher Fee, please do so by email to

Bench Commons is a subscription and invoicing system granted to Governing and Senior Benchers to encourage them to take part in events that are Qualifying Sessions for students and to facilitate participation in the social and collegiate life of the Inn. Bench Commons covers the cost of attendance for Benchers at all Qualifying Sessions and can also be used as a credit charging facility to pay for chargeable social events, for the purchase of merchandise or for car parking permits.

The Bench Commons quarterly subscription is currently £79 (and subject to annual RPI increases). Bench Commons bills are invoiced retrospectively at the end of each quarter in March, June, September and December and can be paid by direct debit.