In this section, we have tried to answer many frequently asked questions relating to the Inner Temple and the Bar in general. If you have a question that has not been answered here or throughout the site, please do not hesitate to contact the Inner Temple on 020 7797 8250.
Joining the Inn
When should I join?
You need to join by May 31st in the year that your BPTC starts. You may join the Inn at anytime from the first year of your LLB onwards. Please note that if you have a criminal record, a County Court Judgment, a Caution or have ever been bankrupt, you will need to apply as early as possible, as your application has to go before a committee.
How much does it cost?
The one off fee is £100. This is for lifetime membership of the Inn.
Can I join the Inn if I have a previous conviction?
The Inn does consider applications from people with previous convictions. However, the process will take longer, as the application will go before the Masters of the Bench on the Admission and Call Committee. They will decide whether you can be admitted to the Inn.
You must complete an additional form which will ask for more details about the offence. Please contact Jude Hodgson.
Do I need to join before applying for a scholarship?
You needn't join before applying, but if you are awarded a scholarship or prize you must join the Inn before accepting any money. Applicants for Inner Temple Awards may not be a member of any other Inn.
Who should I get references from?
You need two references from professional people (e.g. teachers, barristers, doctors, accountants etc) that have known you for at least one year.
I have an overseas qualification - can I join the Inn?
You need to contact the Bar Standards Board, as they will be able to inform you of all the requirements (academic and professional) that will be necessary for you to be called to the Bar. Please contact the Bar Standards Board on +44 (0) 20 7611 1444. Please see the Bar Standards Board website for more information.
What differentiates the Inns? How should I choose which one to join?
When deciding between the four Inns of Court, prospective students often compare scholarships, ethos, education and training opportunities and membership. You should consider exploring the websites of each Inn to see what services are offered to students and members. You might also wish to take a tour of the Inns to consider which has the atmosphere that appeals most to you and contact the Education & Training departments should you have any questions. Please note that the Inns are not differentiated by areas of law. Each Inn covers all areas of law but you may only apply to join one Inn.
Laying between the Thames and Fleet Street, Inner Temple grounds include three acres of gardens as well as the famous Temple Church, of which the Round dates back to the Knights Templar in 1185. One of few remaining local divisions known as liberties, the membership of the Inn has long been committed to political engagement, critical thought and social responsibility. Our former members include signatories of the US Declaration of Independence and the first presidents of India, Malaysia and Botswana. The first female barrister was called to the Bar by Inner Temple as well as the first female judge of the Commercial Court and the first female judge appointed to the International Court of Justice. In addition, numerous Lords Chancellors and Lords Chief Justice in the UK were called to the Bar by Inner Temple.
What chance do I have of becoming a barrister?
It is a small and competitive profession. It is best to be realistic but if you are determined to succeed, then you can. In order to see what life at the Bar is really like, you need to undertake mini-pupillages, court visits and as much other legal experience (including working in a solicitor's firm or Citizens Advice Bureau etc) as you can. Also, experience of mooting and debating or other public speaking is useful, as is success in e.g. acting, journalism, writing, politics and so on.
Please look at the Bar Standards Board website for more information.
What to Apply for and When
Please click here for details of what scholarships are available, when you should apply, closing dates and additional information.
Can I apply for a scholarship to more than one Inn?
Do I need to join before applying for a scholarship?
No, you don’t need to join the Inn before applying for a scholarship. You will need to join the Inn before we will pay you an award.
Can I apply as a part-time student?
What is an Exhibition award?
The Exhibitions make up the majority of the awards we have on offer. You can be considered for these if you do not fill in a financial statement but if you are successful any award you win would be at the minimum level of funding.
Should I apply for an award and fill out a financial statement even if I am not in great financial need?
Yes. Our awards are made on a combination of merit and need criteria. It is worth applying for an award and filling in the financial statement even if you don’t think you have any financial need. The financial statement will generally influence the size of your award, not whether you win one or not. If you don't fill in a financial statement we have to assume that you have adequate funding in place and as such any award you won would be at the minimum level.
Will filling in the financial statement affect my chances of winning an award?
No. The financial statement will generally influence the size of your award, not whether you win one or not.
Will the Inner Temple contact my referees?
No, it is your responsibility to forward the referees’ letter to your referees and to ensure that the references are sent to us by the closing date.
How will I find out if I have been selected for interview?
In the last round of applications, the Inner Temple interviewed every applicant. It is the Inn's intention, numbers permitting, to continue to offer interviews to all candidates that apply for any award.
Are any other sources of financial assistance available?
The Inn's available funds are all awarded in the form of scholarships. HSBC provides a Professional Studies Loan for BPTC students: more details are available from The Bar Council.
If you have any queries, please contact Eamonn O'Reilly
Qualifying Sessions & Call
How many sessions do I need to complete to be Called to the Bar?
You need to have 12 qualifying session points*. These can be completed right up to your Call date (i.e. not before you apply to be called). Call night will count as 1 point so before being called you should have 11 points.
(*At present, this is subject to change in the future)
Can I make up extra qualifying session points after being called?
No. You must have 11 points before being called.
I am a transferring solicitor, how do I go about being called to the Bar?
You must join the Inn at least one month before you wish to be called. Please note that it takes approximately one month for an application to be processed.
Please see also the Call Guidelines.
Can I attend dinners before my BPTC year starts?
Yes, you can start dining as soon as you become a member. However, please note that for dinners to count as qualifying sessions they must be within five years of being called.
Can I get involved with any of the E&T schemes before my BPTC year?
As soon as you are a member you can get involved in the Mentoring Scheme.
Practising Overseas Barristers
I am a practising barrister abroad, can I be called to the Bar in England?
If you have been practising as a lawyer in your own country for 3 years or more then you need to contact Pauline Smith or telephone +44 (0) 20 7611 1444 at the Bar Standards Board to find out whether you are eligible to be called to the Bar in England. Please see the Bar Standards Board website for more information.
How long is my BVC/BPTC qualification valid to begin pupillage?
The BVC /BPTC qualification is valid for 5 years from completing the course.
What advice can you offer on gaining pupillage?
We organise Pupillage Advice Evenings. We invite a number of barristers to these evenings who practise in a variety of areas of law. The aim of this is to give students the opportunity to talk informally to practitioners on a one-to-one basis about different areas of law and to receive advice on the most appropriate chambers to which they should apply. Details of the next advice evening will be advertised nearer the time.
We recommend that students apply for our Mentoring Scheme. Please note that this is subject to availability and that priority is given to current BPTC students.
We also run a Mock Interview Scheme, which may help you if / when you secure a pupillage interview.
If you would like to sign up for the Pupillage Advice Evening or Mentoring Scheme or Mock Interview Scheme please contact Paul Clark.
How do I register my pupillage with the Bar Standards Board?
As soon as you have details of your pupillage, please register the details with the Bar Standards Board using Schedule 14 Part 1A. This is available to download from the Bar Standards Board website. Please ensure that you also send a copy of the completed form to Beth Philips at the Inn’s Education & Training Department. The department will then contact you regarding your compulsory advocacy training course.
Which courses do I have to complete during pupillage?
Pupils are required to complete a compulsory advocacy training course (offered by all the Inns of Court and the Circuits) and an Advice to Counsel course (offered by the Bar Standards Board). Further details of the Inner Temple advocacy course are available on the Pupils section of this website. A full qualification certificate will not be issued at the end of pupillage unless these requirements have been met. Barristers are also required to undertake a forensic accountancy course (details from the Bar Standards Board) during pupillage or during the first three years of practice.
What is a mini-pupillage and how do I organise one?
A mini-pupillage is an opportunity for you to spend time in a set of Chambers and see at first hand the day-to-day life of a barrister. To organise a mini-pupillage, you should apply directly to chambers enclosing a copy of your CV and specifying the dates you are available. Please visit the TARGETjobs website where you will find an A-Z listing of all Chambers. Each Chambers Record will list whether mini-pupillages are available or provide a website link for you to research further.
What is the CPD requirement for New Practitioners?
New Practitioners are required to complete a minimum of 45 hours of Continuing Professional Development within the first three years of practice. This must include at least 9 hours of advocacy training, at least 3 hours of ethics training and at least 33 hours of other CPD activities. If the Forensic Accountancy course was not completed during Pupillage this will be added to your NPP requirement.
When does the New Practitioners’ programme three year period begin?
The three year period begins at the start of either a 3rd six, squatting, tenancy or, if in employed practice, from the day that you start with a firm, as long as you have a practising certificate.
What is the CPD requirement for Established Practitioners?
All barristers (including those who have completed the New Practitioners Programme) are required to complete the Established Practitioners' Programme. This consists of at least 12 hours of other CPD activities per year, 4 hours of which must be on Accredited courses.
How do I find out about CPD courses?
New Practitioner Advocacy and Ethics courses are offered by all the Inns and Circuits (further details of the Inner Temple courses are on the New Practitioners'and Established Practitioners' sections of this website). Other CPD Courses are listed on the online CPD courses database on the Bar Standards Board website.
What happens if a barrister fails to complete the CPD requirements?
Those Barristers who fail to meet the requirements and have not been granted an extension will be put forward to the Professional Conduct and Complaints Committee.
What is the difference between a barrister and a solicitor?
Solicitors give advice to individuals and organisations on legal matters, usually working from an office rather than in court.
Barristers represent clients in court (advocacy) and give advice on complicated legal matters. Barristers will usually receive instructions through solicitors and work in chambers or for organisations. Barristers frequently work in courts.
It is important to note that since the 1990's, differences between the two have become less clear. Solicitors have been able to represent clients in the lower courts and, in some circumstances, experienced solicitors can gain specific qualifications which allow them to become ‘solicitor advocates’, meaning they can represent clients in higher courts.