Volunteer and Participant Code of Conduct

Relating to Education and Training Activities

  1. The purpose of this Code of Conduct is to give both Volunteers and Participants clear guidance as to the standards of behaviour expected by the Inn.
  2. The Inner Temple is committed to providing a training and mentoring environment in which all are treated with dignity and respect. The Inn will not tolerate any form of harassment, discrimination or inappropriate behaviour (falling short of the legal definition of harassment).

A. Definitions and Scope of This Code

  1. For the purposes of this Code:
    1. ‘Volunteers’ are those who attend or participate in any Education & Training activity in the capacity of teacher[1], group leader, assistant, mentor or ambassador for the Inn;
    2. ‘Participants’ are schoolchildren, students,[2] pupils and ‘New Practitioners[3]’ who are attending or participating in any Inner Temple Education & Training activity in the capacity of recipient or beneficiary of that activity.
  1. For the purposes of this Code, ‘Education & Training activities’ are defined as all activities, programmes, training events and mentoring schemes organised by the Education & Training Department, the Student Societies and any associated committees of the Inner Temple (including Qualifying Sessions, Outreach events and any social events in connection with the foregoing).
  2. This Code applies to Education & Training activities held both on and off Inner Temple’s premises including electronic communications and online activities.
  3. The standards of behaviour set out in this Code apply both to members of the Inn and non-members who engage in Education & Training activities (such as visiting lecturers or students).
[1] Including trainee teachers [2] Including those studying at university, on the GDL and on the Bar course [3] Those who have held a practising certificate for less than three years

B. General Principles applicable both to Volunteers and Participants

  1. Attention is drawn to the Inner Temple Equality & Diversity Policy and the Inns of Court Anti-Harassment Policy, which apply to all Volunteers and Participants and which all Volunteers and Participants should read. A breach of either Policy will, prima facie, constitute a breach of this Code.

Personal Relationships between Volunteers and adult Participants

  1. The close working relationships between Volunteers and Participants can on occasion cause the boundaries between the personal and the professional to become blurred. There may be an imbalance of power and authority in the relationship: for example, Participants may understandably be keen to please Volunteers - whom they perceive as having status and influence - and not to give offence. Volunteers should be mindful of the fact that Participants may be in a position of vulnerability which must not be taken advantage of (whether deliberately or inadvertently). Research has shown that sometimes a desire to please can give rise to misunderstandings about the nature of the relationship and may result in a Volunteer making romantic or sexual overtures with which the Participant may find difficult to deal. Although this may seem relatively innocuous to a Volunteer, unwanted sexual or romantic approaches can have a devastating effect on a Participant, causing them to lose trust in the process and confidence in themselves.
  2. Therefore it is the Inn’s policy that it is inappropriate for there to be a romantic or sexual relationship between Volunteers and Participants, neither of whom should initiate such a relationship. It applies whether or not the other person did not appear to object, appeared to give consent or even instigated the behaviour.
  3. The prohibition on relationships between Volunteers and Participants ordinarily lasts until:
    1. In the case of student or pupil Participants, the Participant ceases to be a student or pupil;
    2. In the case of New Practitioner Participants, the start of their fourth year of holding a practising certificate.
  4. If, exceptionally, such a relationship is contemplated, the Volunteer should bring it to the attention of the Treasurer and ask to be exempted from the prohibition, such exemption not unreasonably to be refused.


  1. When attending Education & Training events and activities (e.g. celebration dinners or dinners at residential courses), Volunteers and Participants should not consume alcohol in such a quantity that it impacts adversely on their behaviour, judgement or ability to maintain professional boundaries.

Location of one-to-one meetings

  1. Volunteers and Participants are reminded that the relationship between them (for example, between Mentor and Mentee, Advocacy Trainer and student) is a professional development relationship. When a one-to-one meeting is arranged, this should ordinarily take place in a professional setting which reflects that relationship. Pubs, bars [save for Inner Temple Pegasus Bar] and private accommodation or residences are inappropriate places for such meetings to be held.

Harassment, Bullying and Discrimination

  1. In the paragraphs below we set out a summary of the principal definitions and requirements of the Equality and Diversity and Anti-Harassment Policies, together with examples of types of behaviour which, even if not amounting to misconduct, are incompatible with volunteering for or participation in Inner Temple Education & Training activities.


  1. Equality and diversity are at the heart of the Inn’s Education &Training activities. Volunteers and Participants are expected to be aware of, and active in the pursuit of, equality and diversity and not to tolerate or participate in unlawful discrimination in any form. Volunteers and Participants are expected to respect the background, culture and traditions of others and to be mindful of behaviour that may offend those beliefs.


  1. Harassment is unlawful under the Equality Act The legal definition covers any form of unwanted conduct relating to age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation which has the aim or effect of violating a person's dignity, or which creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person (or, in some cases, a witness to the conduct). It also arises where a person engages in unwanted conduct of a sexual nature towards another person and the conduct has one or other of the above aims or effects. Harassment also includes treating a person less favourably than another person because they have either submitted to, or did not submit to, sexual harassment or harassment related to sex or gender reassignment.
  1. Harassment may take many forms including:
  • Conduct which is unwanted by the recipient and perceived as hostile, intimidating or threatening;
  • Conduct which gives rise to a hostile, intimidating or threatening work environment;
  • Conduct which creates an atmosphere in which it is feared that rejection of, or submission to, the conduct will be used as a basis for decisions which have an impact on the recipient at work or study.
  1. The effect of the unwanted behaviour on the person concerned will be an important factor to be taken into account, whether or not the behaviour was intended to be harmful, together with whether it was reasonable for the conduct to have had that effect.
  2. Harassment can include physical, verbal and non-verbal conduct. The following are non-exhaustive examples of types of behaviour which may amount to harassment:
  • Exploitation of a position of influence;
  • Physical or sexual assault;
  • Requests for sexual intimacy in return for career advancement;
  • Unnecessary physical contact;
  • Unwanted direct or indirect communication, including messaging and posting offensive comments on social media;
  • Exclusion from social networks and activities or other forms of isolation;
  • Bullying;
  • Victimisation;
  • Compromising suggestions or invitations;
  • Suggestive remarks or behaviour;
  • Display of offensive materials, including on a computer screen;
  • Offensive jokes or verbal abuse, including any sent by email or social media;
  • Offensive remarks or ridicule;
  • Dealing inappropriately or inadequately with complaints of harassment.

C. Volunteer and Participant Obligations

  1. Volunteering lies at the heart of Inner Temple’s core activities. The Inn values the time, commitment and effort of all its Volunteers and acknowledges that without their contribution it would be impossible to provide Education & Training in the way we now do. The Inner Temple intends to support its Volunteers by providing the information, training and resources that they need.
  2. This section is intended to assist Volunteers and Participants by describing types of behaviour which are inconsistent with the Inn’s aims and obligations, including the need to treat each other with dignity and respect.
  3. Volunteers and Participants should be mindful of the risk that behaviour which may seem to them to be innocuous or courteous may be perceived as unwanted or even threatening to another person.
  4. Volunteers and Participants should not engage in conduct which includes, but is not limited to, the following:
    • Initiating unsolicited personal or social contact via social media;
    • Making comments about the physical appearance of a Volunteer or Participant, however seemingly innocuous. This includes compliments of any kind as even these may give offence, appear intimidating  or make the other person feel uncomfortable;
    • asking intrusive or otherwise inappropriate questions about a Volunteer’s or Participant’s romantic or sex life;
    • giving unsolicited information about their own romantic or sex life[1];
    • Making offensive jokes or verbal abuse, including any sent by email or social media;
    • Making offensive remarks or exposing anyone to ridicule, including the use of stereotypes relating to individuals of a particular age, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity, family status (including those who have children), religion, socio-economic or ethnic background or relating to disability;
    • Suggesting that the Bar is an unrealistic career option for persons of a particular age, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity, family status (including those who have, or are considering having, children), religion, socio-economic or ethnic background or who have a disability;
    • Suggesting that a person’s name or accent might present an obstacle to advancement in the profession; or
    • Assuming that Volunteers or Participants, by virtue of their race, religion or other personal or cultural characteristics, are not British, or asking questions which may be perceived by the other person as questioning whether they are British, such as “where are you from?”.
  5. The Inn is required to ensure that all Volunteers have completed recognised equality and diversity training[2] and must maintain accurate records of this. For this reason, all Volunteers who are members of the Inn will need to confirm in writing to the Education & Training Department that within the previous three years they have undertaken appropriate training. Volunteers will need to refresh this training every five years[3].
  6. If a Volunteer has a wellbeing concern in relation to a Participant, this should in the first instance be raised with the Master of the Activity in question or Head of Department. Volunteers are not required to investigate the matter themselves and should not do so.
  7. Volunteers and Participants must use Inner Temple resources appropriately[4] and in line with all Inn rules and policies.
  8. Inner Temple is a community and expects its members, including students, to conduct themselves at all times in a manner that does not bring the Inn into disrepute. This includes behaviour which takes place when not on the Inn’s premises.
  9. ‘Good conduct’ in this context means that members (including students) should:
    • Inform themselves of Inner Temple’s policies and abide by them;
    • Recognise the diversity of the Inn’s community and treat others with respect;
    • Act responsibly, being honest, considerate, respectful and courteous towards others;
    • Show consideration for the Inn’s property and care for the environment of the Inn by respecting buildings, spaces and facilities;
    • Use social media responsibly;
    • Play their part in maintaining security;
    • Recycle and dispose of litter responsibly;
    • Show consideration for others regarding noise (for example, by switching mobile phones off during classes);
    • Show consideration for the welfare of friends and peers and, if appropriate, provide advice on how to seek help.
  1. Volunteers and Participants who are members of the Inn must appreciate that they are ambassadors for the Inn and behave accordingly.
[1] This should be interpreted in a common sense way; for example, there is nothing wrong with either a Volunteer or Participant making a passing reference about their spouse or partner when it is appropriate in the context of the conversation [2] For example, that offered by the Inn, the Bar Council or the Judicial College [3] This is in line with Bar Council requirements [4] This would include, for example, use of Inner Temple IT resources

D. Resolving Problems

  1. The Inner Temple will treat all Volunteers and Participants fairly, objectively and in a consistent manner.
  2. If a concern is raised about a matter which constitutes a possible breach of this Code, it will always be acted upon promptly and with the aim of reaching a positive and agreed solution.
  3. If a Participant or a Volunteer has a concern or complaint in relation to a possible breach of this Code, they should follow the Procedure set out in the Anti-Harassment Policy (which provides for informal resolution as well as setting out the mechanism for making a formal complaint).
  4. All formal complaints against Volunteers and Participants who are members of the Inn will be resolved in accordance with the procedure set out in the Inner Temple Bench Table Orders 40, 42, 43 and the Schedule.
  5. The Inn recognises that a complaint, and any process which flows from such a complaint, is likely to be stressful and distressing for all those concerned. The Inn will offer a mentor or supporter both to the person making the complaint and to the person complained about[1].
  6. The Inn is committed to ensuring that no one who brings a complaint in good faith is subject to any detriment as a result. Any victimisation of a complainant or anyone else involved in the investigation of a complaint will be treated as a separate disciplinary matter.
  7. Breach of this Code may result in a Volunteer not being permitted to teach at Inner Temple events, act as a mentor to Participants or attend other Education & Training activities, including social events.
  8. Breach of this Code may result in a Participant not being permitted to attend Education & Training activities, save that the Participant will be permitted to:
    • attend sufficient Qualifying Sessions to allow them to be called the Bar, and
    • Undertake the compulsory pupillage and New Practitioner training.
[2] The Inn is not in a position to offer representation