This page includes information on joining an Inn of Court, contact details for the Inns, Fit and Proper Person checks, student conduct, and support for pupils.

Bar Qualification Rules

BSB Handbook

Rule Q3 To be called to the Bar by an Inn an individual must have successfully completed the following:

.1      academic legal training;

.2      vocational training;

.3      the number of qualifying sessions as a student member of an Inn as prescribed from time to time by the BSB; and

.4      pay such fee or fees as may be prescribed.

Rule Q6 The BSB shall set out in writing:

.1      the requirements to be met by an Inn in admitting student members and calling individuals to the Bar;

.2      the manner in which an Inn shall assess whether such individuals are fit and proper; and

.3      the minimum requirements for the delivery of qualifying sessions by an Inn.
 

Overview

1) The Inns of Court ("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.       

2) The Inns are professional membership associations for barristers in England and Wales dedicated to promoting the rule of law and providing education and training to their student and barrister members.

Joining an Inn of Court

3) An individual must be admitted as student member of an Inn in order to complete compulsory qualifying sessions (see Part 3B of the Bar Qualification Manual) before Call to the Bar and to facilitate the fit and proper persons checks that are required as part of that process. The BSB Authorisation Framework specifies the latest point for a student to become a member of an Inn of Court.

4) A student’s choice of Inn does not affect the area of law in which they wish to practice, or their choice of pupillage (see Part 2C of the Bar Qualification Manual) or tenancy – it is usually a matter of personal choice. We suggest that students visit the Inns and talk to current members and to the Student Officers to inform their decision.

Contact information

5) The four Inns of Court are:

Fit and Proper person checks

6)  We have agreed detailed Guidelines with all four Inns of Court and the Inns Conduct Committee (ICC) for determining whether you are a fit and proper person, how any disclosures about your conduct will be considered and, where appropriate, likely outcomes. The Inns and the ICC will apply the Guidelines when seeking to determine whether an applicant or a student is a fit and proper person to become a practising barrister. We recommend you refer to these Guidelines if you require any further information. More information on the fit and proper person checks can be found here.

7) On application to join an Inn, students must complete an Admission Declaration. This enables the Inn to identify any issues which may call into question whether they are a fit and proper person to become a practising barrister.

8) If there are any matters which might call into question a student’s fitness to become a practising barrister, the Inn will refer the student’s application to the ICC for determination.

Student conduct

9) Once a student is a member of an Inn, and before they are Called to the Bar, their conduct will be overseen, and any concerns managed, by their Inn to ensure that only those who are fit and proper to practise as a barrister can be Called to the Bar.

Call to the Bar

10) To ensure that only those who are fit and proper persons to practise as barristers are Called to the Bar, the Inn will undertake checks, including a Call Declaration from each student prior to Call.