How to Join
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 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. You can only apply to join one Inn.
2020 Applicants please note: The Inn will be closed from Monday 25 May until Friday 29 May 2020 and will re-open on 1 June. Applications submitted during the Inn closure will be processed when the Inn re-opens.
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 to the attention of the Director of Education. 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.
The admission papers
Submit your application to the Education Department by post or in person.
Applications must be sent to:
8 South Square
Contact the Education Department should you have any queries regarding your application.
Please read all of the following notes regarding each of the above documents before submitting an application.
Your admission papers consist of:
- a Four Inns of Court and General Council of the Bar Form
- an Admission Declaration Form
- certified copies of qualification certificates
- the admission fee of £100
- two passport size photos
- an Equal Opportunities Form
- a photocopy of photographic ID
Your admission papers should be filled out and printed double sided before signing and dating.
Please ensure your details are written clearly and accurately. You should give your full name, as it appears on your passport. The Inn should be informed of any future changes in your name or contact details.
2. Admission Declaration Form
Please ensure you thoroughly read and accurately complete this form.
Should you make any disclosures in question 3, please email Vicky Hanson without delay as you may be required to submit additional documents. The Inn is required to refer certain disclosures to the Inns Conduct Committee (ICC). View a flowchart of the ICC process for admission or readmission to the Inn.
Before signing the Admission Declaration Form, you must be aware of a further declaration that you will be required to complete before being called to the Bar (for reference see Petition for Call to the Bar). Should any disclosures be made during the course of your student membership of the Inn, the Inn may be required to refer to the ICC. View a flowchart of the ICC process for student members of an Inn.
To be eligible for the Bar Course, you must complete either a qualifying law degree or a qualifying degree in a subject other than law and successfully complete a conversion course. The minimum standard for acceptance on to the BPTC is a lower second class honours degree. The Inn will therefore only admit students who can show they have achieved, or are on course to achieve, this result. Students will not normally be admitted before they commence the second year of a degree course. If you have not yet completed your degree, you must also provide evidence of your English language proficiency.
For all of your qualification certificates:
- you must have them certified as a ‘true likeness of the original’ with an official stamp by your university, or by someone currently working in one of the following roles: Judge, Magistrate, Barrister, Solicitor, Member of Parliament, Accountant, Secondary school teacher, Professor, University lecturer, Officer of the British Armed Forces, Senior police officer, Doctor (medical), Dentist, Senior nurse, Pharmacist
- it is recommended you send in certified copies and not original documents
Please provide the appropriate documents with your admission papers as outlined below.
Graduates of a UK Qualifying Law Degree
- A certified copy of your degree certificate
Graduates of a UK Qualifying Degree (non-law)
- A certified copy of your degree certificate
- Evidence that you have completed, or been accepted onto, a conversion course
Undergraduates studying for a UK Qualifying Law or non-Law Degree
- Certified copies of degree transcripts showing your grades to date
- A photocopy of either your:
- O’Level English Language certificate (A-E)
- GCSE English Language certificate (A-C)
- IELTS certificate (overall minimum 7.5)
N.B. We will require a certified copy of your degree certificate in order for you to be Called to the Bar. If you have not yet completed your degree upon applying to join the Inn, please ensure that you forward a certified copy of your degree certificate when your result is conferred.
Graduates of universities outside of the UK
If you hold overseas qualifications, you must contact the Bar Standards Board (BSB) to discuss your eligibility for a Certificate of Academic Standing. Your application for admission can only be processed once your Certificate of Academic Standing has been issued. You will need to provide the following with your application:
- A certified copy of the Certificate of Academic Standing awarded by the BSB
- Certified copies of all relevant qualification certificates
- If required to complete a conversion course, evidence that you have completed, or been accepted onto, the course
If you wish to be admitted as a mature student, you must first contact the Bar Standards Board (BSB) to discuss eligibility to commence the Bar Course. You may need to provide further documentation with your application such as:
- A certified copy of a Certificate of Academic Standing or Reactivation of stale qualifications awarded by the BSB
- If required to complete a conversion course, evidence that you have completed, or been accepted onto, a course
4. Admission fee
The fee for admission is a one off payment of £100. Please enclose a cheque, postal order or bankers draft for £100 made payable to ‘Gray’s Inn’. Cash or card payments cannot be accepted; please do not send cash through the post with your admission papers.
5. Passport size photos
6. Equal Opportunities Form
To monitor the progress of all groups in society, we request that you submit this form. If you do not wish to disclose the requested information, please tick the ‘Unwilling to supply information' box.
Please include a photocopy, not the originals, of your passport or driving licence.
Ad eundem membership
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.