Honorary Benchers

Eligibility for Nomination

A non-member of the Inn who has achieved distinction in any area of public or professional life, but ideally in areas relevant to the interests of members of the Inn.

Nomination Procedure

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

Nominations from Governing Benchers should be addressed for the attention of Master Reader, Chair of the Bencher Nomination Committee, and sent by email to the Head of the Sub-Treasurer’s Office, Jennie Collis Price, at jcollisprice@innertemple.org.uk

Incomplete nominations or those received after the deadline of 5pm on Friday 7 May 2021 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 Honorary Benchers, the Bencher Nomination Committee shall have regard to the Criteria for the Election of Benchers (BTO Appendix 5).

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 Honorary 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 Honorary Bencher. If consent is given, that candidate will be elected as Honorary 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.

Not more than three Honorary Benchers shall be elected in any one year, unless the Executive Committee in consultation with the Bencher Nomination Committee shall decide that there are exceptional circumstances justifying an increase in a particular year. At its meeting in March 2021, the Bencher Nomination Committee recommended a permanent increase in the annual cap on the number of new Honorary Benchers by doubling the maximum number of appointments from three to six, in order to improve diversity. This will be subject to approval by the Executive Committee in mid-April and Bench Table at the end of April.

Selection Criteria

The Inn seeks to reinforce and diversify professional input to the full range of its activities through the appointment of Honorary Benchers who can contribute to the strengthening and broadening of The Inner Temple’s spectrum of skills, experience and expertise.

When selecting candidates to be put forward for election as Honorary Benchers, the Bencher Nomination Committee shall have 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 Honorary Bencher, they will make an active and positive contribution to the affairs of the Inn;
(d)     The extent to which the candidate has taken, or is taking, any part in the affairs of the Inn or, more generally, in the affairs of the legal profession.

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 serious intention on the part of the candidate, if elected, to play an active part in the Inn’s affairs.