How to Join
Joining the Inn is one of the key early steps to becoming a barrister.
Please see our Covid-19 page for the latest updates on the Inn's response in relation to the Covid-19 virus (Coronavirus).
If you are taking the Two Part Bar Course, membership must be applied for 12 weeks prior to the start of Part 2. We ask that you submit your applications electronically first by email to the admissions team. Once received a member of the team will check the documents and upon approval they will contact you. Please do not send any cheques at the moment. Please be aware, that certain documents will need to be submitted via post, but we ask that you do not do this presently.
Remember you must be a member of an Inn before you can start the vocational stage of training ‘the Bar course’ and you can only apply to one Inn.
Six steps to becoming a barrister
Don't forget to check out our scholarships. Our GDL and Bar Course scholarships must be applied for in advance of your course and can be applied for before you join the Inn. You can only apply to one Inn and you must apply 12 weeks in advance of the start of your Bar Course.
The most common steps to qualify to practise are:
- 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
- Join an Inn: you must submit your application for Inn membership at least 12 weeks prior to commencing the Bar Course (the vocational stage)
- Vocational stage: : a one year (full time), two year (part time), a two part course including knowledge and skills training delivered by an authorised approved provider
- Call to the Bar: eligible on successful completion of the vocational stage, completing 10 Qualifying Sessions. The four Inns of Court have the exclusive right and responsibility to call individuals to the Bar
- Pupillage: normally one year, split into a non-practising ‘1st Six’ and practising ‘2nd Six’, spent as a pupil in a barristers’ chambers or other approved AETO (Authorised Education and Training Organisation)
- Tenancy: to be taken on as a self-employed member of chambers or in permanent employment
Your journey through the above stages will be supported by the Education Department, which provides career services, professional development, education & training, scholarship and pastoral care to student members. The department processes your membership application to join the Inn, organises Qualifying Sessions, arranges your Call to the Bar and delivers the compulsory training courses required during your 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 Inn membership
Once you are a member of Gray’s, 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
When to apply
You must submit your application (‘admission papers’) to the Education Department 12 weeks before you commence the Bar Course. If you are taking the Two Part Bar Course, membership must be applied for 12 weeks prior to the start of Part 2.
You can only apply to join one Inn.
You can apply:
- from the second year of your qualifying law degree if you can provide proof you are on course to achieve at least a lower second class
- once you have a confirmed place on the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) conversion course, if you undertook a non-law qualifying degree and achieved at least a lower second class
If you are a transferring lawyer, please see the transferring lawyers page for details on how to join the Inn.
Processing your application
Please be aware it can take the Education Department up to 6 weeks to process your application. If you have not received confirmation of receipt within one week of submitting your papers, please contact the Education Department.
You are strongly advised to submit your papers as early as possible. Forms received less than 12 weeks before you start the Bar Course will not be accepted. To request an extension due to extenuating circumstances, email Vicky Hanson. Requests are reviewed on a case by case basis.
Once you have received your membership number and card, you will be able to book Qualifying Sessions and use the Inn’s member facilities.
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.
Please email the Bar of Northern Ireland for further assistance.