17 April 2014

Joining an Inn

What is their purpose?

What do they provide?

When should you become an Inn member?

Making your Inn choice

Qualifying units

Advocacy training

 

What is their purpose?

The Inns alone have the power to call a student to the Bar. Only those called to the Bar are able to exercise rights of audience in the superior courts of England and Wales as barristers.

What do they provide?

The Inns are principally non-academic societies which provide collegiate and educational activities and support for barristers and student barristers. They all provide the use of a library, lunching and dining facilities, common rooms and gardens.

They also provide a number of grants and scholarships for the various stages on the way to becoming a barrister. Please contact your Inn for details of the closing date for CPE scholarships. Closing date for BPTC scholarships is the first Friday in November for the BPTC in the following academic year.

As well as awards and scholarships, the Inns are able to offer advice to their student members, for example, assistance with completing CVs and application forms for the BPTC and for pupillage. Mock interviews are also available, as are the arrangement of marshalling schemes. Check with the student officers of the Inns for details.

When should you become an Inn member?

Admission to an Inn is required before registration on the Bar Professional Training Course, although many undergraduates join before this stage in order to participate in activities, use the library, or start their qualifying sessions. Students are reminded that they must join an Inn by 31st May of the year their Bar Professional Training Course is due to commence. Students are stongly warned that if there is likely to be a problem with your application to an Inn, please ensure that you apply as early as possible as this may mean that you cannot start a course if your membership is not confirmed in time for enrolment.

Making your Inn choice

A student's choice of Inn does not affect the area of law in which they wish to practise or their choice of pupillage or tenancy. It is usually a matter of personal choice - we suggest that you visit the Inns and talk to current members and to the student officers to help you make the decision on which Inn to join.

Qualifying units

Students are required to complete 12 qualifying units in order to be called to the Bar. These units, also known as qualifying sessions can be defined as "educational and collegiate activities arranged by or on behalf of the Inn(s)" for the purpose of preparing junior barristers for practice. These sessions used to be known as 'dining sessions', traditionally focused on dining with senior practitioners, which also provided networking opportunities and sharing of best practice. It is more common now for these sessions to have relevant talks and training workshops.

Qualifying sessions can be achieved through a number of different ways:

Attendance at weekends either in the Inn or at a residential centre such as Cumberland Lodge.

Education Days (primarily for out of London students).

Education Dinners (with lectures or talks).

Domus Dinners (when students and seniors dine together).

Social Dinners (such as Grand Night or student guest nights or dinners at the providers).

The weekends count as 3 units, the days count as 2 units and dinners and Call Night count as 1 unit.

BPTC Students are reminded that qualifying session dinners are held both in London and in the provinces, as are various guest lectures throughout the year.

London students starting the BPTC are invited to attend the Introductory Party for London Students (held by all four Inns jointly). The introductory weekends for out of London students take place on different dates, check with your Inn.

These all count towards your qualifying units. See the Inns' websites for full details and to book places. Details of other events which can count as qualifying units are also available from their websites.

Advocacy training

Each Inn also runs advocacy training courses for their pupils. These vary in format and length and combine advocacy training with lecturers on particular areas of law or forensic skills.

Additionally, each Inn has student societies and supports involvement in debating activities which range from internal events to inter-Inn, national and international competitions. The students organise their own social events through their Inns' student association and some Inns also support sporting societies.

Some of these training sessions count as qualifying units.