Call to the Bar

For over six hundred years, the Inns have held exclusive rights to admit candidates to the Bar.

In light of current government guidelines regarding social distancing requirements, we are unable to hold Deferred Trinity (15th October) and Michaelmas (26th November) Call ceremonies in person at Gray’s Inn.  These ceremonies will go ahead, but will be online “In Absentia” events. 

In order to be called to the Bar you must have either:

  • Completed 10 Qualifying Sessions and passed the Bar Course (For students who commenced the Bar Course prior to September 2020 you must have completed 12 Qualifying Sessions - being Called counts as one Qualifying Session - and passed the Bar Course) 
  • applied to the Bar Standards Board and given permission as a transferring lawyer

When to apply

If you are a current Bar Course student, (full time or on the second year of a part time course), Trinity Call is the earliest Call day you can apply for during your Bar Course year. If you are a first year part time student, you cannot apply until your second year.
If you have completed the Bar Course or have finished the course and are waiting for re-sit results you can apply for any Call day.

If you are a transferring lawyer, you can apply for any Call day. You must complete ten Qualifying Sessions before being called. The Bar Standards Board (BSB) may also require you to sit all or parts of the Bar Transfer Test (visit the BSB website for details).


There are 4 Call days per year, each with its own specific application deadline. The next 4 Call days are:

Call day   Date   Apply   Details
Deferred Trinity   Thursday 15 October 2020   by Tuesday 15 September 2020   Online In Absentia Ceremony



Thursday 26 November 2020


by Monday 26 October 2020


Online In Absentia Ceremony

Hilary   Thursday 25 March 2021   by Thursday 25 February 2021   Ceremony in Hall, reception in the LPR and Hall
Trinity   Thursday 22 July 2021   by Tuesday 22 June 2021   Ceremony in Hall, reception in the Walks

*Trinity is the most popular Call day as it is the first opportunity for current Bar students to be called to the Bar. We advise you apply for this Call as soon as possible once the application period has opened.

2019/20 BPTC students:  Following the rescheduling of the Centralised Exams to August, the earliest you can be Called is Michaelmas in November 2020.  You can submit your application now before you have received your results

How to apply 

Your application for Call should consist of:

Email your application to the Call team. Call documents can only be accepted by email for the foreseeable future. Please do not post any documents to the Education Department. 


Both of your referees must:

  • have known you for a minimum of 12 full months
  • not be your partner/spouse or related to you
  • be currently working as one of the following:
    • Judge
    • Barrister
    • Solicitor
    • Member of Parliament
    • Accountant
    • Secondary school teacher  
    • Professor
    • University lecturer
    • Bar Course lecturer*
    • Officer of the British armed forces
    • Senior police officer
    • Doctor (who knows you personally, not just as your GP for example)

*References from your Bar Course lecturers are only acceptable if written after they have known you for a full academic year. Current full time students may not use Bar Course lecturers if applying for Trinity Call.

Both your references must be:

  • written on professional headed paper
  • dated and signed with an original signature
  • clearly show the identity and qualifications of the person writing the letter

It may be possible to use overseas references, but only if you cannot provide suitable references from referees based in the UK because you have not lived in the UK for more than 12 months.

Both your references must be addressed to ‘The Masters of the Bench’ and read:

“This is to introduce (your name) whom I have known (statement regarding the nature, extent and duration of the referee’s acquaintance with you).

I consider him/her to be in every way a fit and proper person for Call to the Bar.”

We suggest you forward a Call reference template onto both your referees.

Please note that referees and/or references which do not meet the criteria above will not be accepted and will be returned to you. Your place on a particular Call will not be confirmed until both your referees and references meet the criteria.


You will be invited to pay your call fees via your Gray’s Inn Booking Account (GIOS). 

For a common scenario - being called in person with 2 guests - the fees broken down are:

Call fee £75
Your attendance at the reception £28
Guest 1 (optional) £30
Guest 2 (optional) £30
Total £163

Degree Certificate

If you did not submit a certified copy of your final degree certificate when you applied to join the Inn, (i.e. you applied to join before your final result was conferred), we will require a certified copy of your final conferred degree result in order for you to be Called. 

The copied certificate should hold an official stamp (such as the University seal) and the certifier should state that it is a true likeness of the original. 


Due to the capacity of Hall you will only be allowed to invite 2 guests to the Call ceremony and reception. Should you wish to invite more than 2 guests, we suggest you apply for Hilary Call, which is typically the smallest, when this may be possible.

At Trinity Call you will be able to invite additional guests to the reception (in the Walks) only.

All guests must be over 11 years of age.


For all Call days you:

  • must submit your Call papers by the relevant deadline, or during the specific time period (Trinity Call only)
  • are expected to be called in person
  • may be granted the right to be called in absentia, but permission for this is rare; please contact the Education Department to discuss further
  • cannot be called if you have BPTC re-sits and your results are published less than 1 week before Call day; please check with your provider when the results will be published

Barrister card photograph

The photograph that currently appears on your student membership card will be used for your barrister card. If you would like a different photograph to be used, please provide an updated passport photograph with your Call papers.

After Call - Regulatory Guidance

You must familiarise yourself with the regulations which apply to unregistered barristers (barristers who do not hold a practising certificate). Guidance is provided by the Bar Standards Board

Call to the Bar in Other Jurisdictions   

The Inns of Court call members to the Bar of England and Wales. If you are intending to practice in another jurisdiction, please refer to that jurisdiction's relevant regulatory body for further information. 

The Bar of Northern Ireland

If you are intending to practice at the Bar of Northern Ireland, you should refer to The Bar of Northern Ireland website. 

To practice in Northern Ireland you must be a member of the Bar Library or seek exemption from Bar Library Membership. If you intend to apply for exemption, please note that application periods apply. Application periods will be published in the News section of The Bar of Northern Ireland website. 

Applications for exemption from the Bar Library are currently open with a deadline of Friday 8 November 2019. 

Please email the Bar of Northern Ireland for further assistance. 

Find out more

  • Qualifying Sessions

    Qualifying Sessions (QSs) required in order to be called to the Bar

    Qualifying Sessions

  • Transferring Lawyers

    Transferring to the Bar, joining the Inn and post Call requirements

    Transferring Lawyers

  • Contact

    Get in touch with the Inn