Other Governing Benchers

Eligibility for Nomination

A member of the Inn who holds or has held any office, appointment or position with distinction; or who is appointed Lord Chancellor, Speaker of the House of Commons or House of Lords, or a Law Officer of England & Wales.

Nomination Procedure

Nominations for Other Governing 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 all nominations are made in consultation between the Governing Bencher and the candidate and that a CV and photograph are provided by the deadline for nominations for the Bencher Nomination Committee’s reference.

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.

On receipt of a nomination, the candidate will be contacted by the Inn and invited to complete 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.


Review of Candidates

Each nomination will be considered by the Bencher Nomination Committee. When selecting candidates to be put forward for election as Other Governing 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 so decides, such member shall be qualified for election as an Other Governing Bencher by Bench Table, provided that the member first complies with the requirements of BTO 7.4 (to provide an undertaking in writing to participate in the management of the Inn’s affairs if elected).

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

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.

A document outlining examples of the role and duties of Governing Benchers will be made available to existing Benchers and potential candidates as part of the annual nomination and election procedure.  

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 subtreasurer@innertemple.org.uk.

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.