The Inner Temple

The Inner Temple is an independent, unincorporated organisation, and works as a trust which have existed since the 14th Century. It has approximately 8,000 qualified members, including Judges, Barristers (both practising and non-practising) and Pupils. The Inner Temple plays a central role in the recruitment of student members, training of aspiring barristers and continuing professional development of established barristers.

The history of the Inner Temple begins in the early years of the reign of Henry II (1154Ė1189), when the contingent of Knights Templar in London moved from the Old Temple in Holborn to a new location on the banks of the River Thames, stretching from Fleet Street to what is now Essex House. The original Temple here covered much of what is now Lincoln's Inn, and Chancery Lane (originally New Street) was constructed by the Knights to provide access to their new buildings. Two centuries later, after the abolition of the Order in 1312, lawyers came to occupy the Temple site and buildings. They formed themselves into two societies, the Inner Temple and Middle Temple. After a disruptive early period (during which the Temple was almost entirely destroyed in the Peasant's Revolt) it flourished, becoming the second largest Inn during the Elizabethan period (after Gray's Inn).

The 16th century was an age of expansion for the Inner Temple and new buildings were constructed to accommodate its growing membership, although not all the students joining at this time intended to pursue a legal career. The Great Fire of London of 1666 destroyed many of the Inner Temple buildings. In 1922 the Temple called Ivy Williams to the bar, making her the first female barrister in England and Wales. The Temple suffered massively during The Blitz in the Second World War.

The Inner Temple is ruled by a governing council called "Parliament", made up of the Masters of the Bench (or "Benchers"), and led by the Treasurer, who is elected to serve a one-year term. The Temple also has a Reader, who traditionally holds the position for a year before being made the Treasurer.