Joining the Inn is one of the key early steps to becoming a barrister. Remember you must be a member of an Inn before you can start the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) and you can only apply to join one Inn.
We advise you to read the ‘Coming to the Bar?’ advice sheet issued jointly by the four Inns of Court and the BPTC providers.
The steps to a career at the Bar can be summarised as:
- Academic stage: an undergraduate degree in law (LLB), or an undergraduate degree in any other subject followed by the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) conversion course
- Joining an Inn: you must join the Inn by the 31 May before you commence the BPTC (the Vocational Stage)
- Vocational stage: a one year (full time) or two year (part time) BPTC at one of the approved providers
- Call to the Bar: on passing the BPTC and gaining 12 Qualifying Sessions, you will be called to the Bar by the Inn. Only the four Inns of Court have the right to call men and women to the Bar
- Pupillage: one year, split into a non-practising ‘1st Six’ and practising ‘2nd Six’, spent as a pupil in a barristers’ chambers or other approved organisation
- Tenancy: it is common to then be appointed as a tenant (i.e. a full time barrister) by the same chambers or organisation at which you undertook your pupillage
Your journey through the above stages will be supported by the Education Department, which is available to provide pastoral care to student members. The department processes your application to join the Inn, organises Qualifying Sessions such as moots, arranges your call to the Bar and runs the compulsory training courses you require during pupillage and tenancy.
I look forward to the next stage of my education in the sure knowledge that I have a dedicated professional support network behind me in my Inn.
Benefits of joining
Once you’ve joined, you can start your life at the Inn and take advantage of the facilities available to members. These include:
- lunch in Hall (discounts are available for student and pupil members)
- joining any of the Inn’s clubs and societies
- use of the Bridge Bar
- parking (discounts are available for student members)
- access to the Library and its resources
Ad eundem membership
As a barrister member of one of the other Inns (not a student member), you are eligible to join the Inn ad eundem as an associate member. To apply for ad eundem membership you must:
- write to the Inn addressing your letter to the Under Treasurer and outlining your reasons to become an ad eundem member
- send two passport size photographs
- enclose a cheque made payable to ‘Gray’s Inn’ for £500 (if over 10 years Call) or £250 (if under 10 years Call)
Once received, your current Inn will be contacted for a Certificate of Good Standing and this, along with your letter, will be put to the next available meeting of Pension.
Should you have any questions regarding ad eundem membership please contact Carmel Walsh.
If you are intending to practice at the Bar of Northern Ireland, you should refer to The Bar of Northern Ireland website.
The Inn of Court of Northern Ireland deals with the admission and education of students.
Any barrister in independent practice wishing to practice in Northern Ireland 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.