Lincoln’s Inn

Lincoln’s Inn is an active and thriving society of lawyers with a very long history situated in a tranquil enclave of some 11 acres in central London. “Lincoln’s Inn” thus refers both to the Society and the place.

As with the other Inns of Court, the precise date of founding of Lincoln's Inn is unknown. The Inn can claim the oldest records - its "black books" documenting the minutes of the governing Council go back to 1422, and the earliest entries show that the Inn was at that point an organised and disciplined body. The third Earl of Lincoln had encouraged lawyers to move to Holborn, and they moved to Thavie's Inn, one of the Inns of Chancery, later expanding into Furnival's Inn as well. It is felt that Lincoln's Inn became a formally organised Inn of Court soon after the Earl's death in 1310. At some point before 1422, the greater part of "Lincoln's Inn", as they had become known, after the Earl, moved to the estate of Ralph Neville, the Bishop of Chichester, near Chancery Lane. They retained Thavie's and Furnival's Inn, using them as "training houses" for young lawyers, and fully purchased the properties in 1550 and 1547 respectively. In 1537 the land Lincoln's Inn sat on was sold by Richard Sampson, the then-Bishop, to a Bencher named William Suliard, and his son sold the land to Lincoln's Inn in 1580. The Inn became formally organised as a place of legal education by virtue of a decree in 1464.

A Bencher, Benchsitter or (formally) Master of the Bench, is a member of Council, the governing body of the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn. There are currently over 270 ordinary benchers, comprising mostly judges and senior barristers. There are also "additional benchers" - members who have been successful in a profession other than the law; "honorary benchers" - people of "sufficient distinction" includes people such as Margaret Thatcher; "Royal Bencher" - presently Duke of Kent who was elected after the death of the previous incumbent Princess Margaret. In 1943, when she was elected as Royal Bencher, Queen Mary became the first female Bencher in any Inn. Mr. Ajmalul Hossain QC is the first Bangladeshi origin to become Queen’s Counsel and Hon’ble Benchers of Lincoln's Inn.