Inns of Court School of Law

Inns of Court School of Law

Infobox Law School

established = 1852
type = Private
endowment =
parent endowment =
head =
city = London
state =
country = England
students =
faculty =
ranking =
bar pass rate =
annual tuition = £4,100-£7,950 (LLB), £10,400 (LPC), £6,750-£8,150 (CPE)
homepage =
motto =
aba profile =

The Inns of Court School of Law, often abbreviated to ICSL, is a professional legal training institution based in London in Gray's Inn. Up until 1999 the ICSL had a monopoly on the provision of the Bar Vocational Course (BVC), the obligatory professional training for would-be barristers in England and Wales, before they commence pupillage.

The School now also teaches the Legal Practice Course (LPC) for would-be solicitors. In 2007 it received the highest grading from the Law Society of England and Wales for its provision. The School also provides a range of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses and a Master of Laws (LLM) programme.

Students who successfully complete the BVC are awarded a Postgraduate Diploma. The ICSL provides all its bar students with the opportunity of upgrading that diploma to a full LLM through the submission of a dissertation.


The ICSL was founded by the Council of Legal Education in 1852. Before that time the Inns of Court were responsible for the education of young barristers. There was call during the nineteenth century for the education of barristers to be unified and thus the Council of Legal Education was formed and ICSL founded. Since 2001 the ICSL has been affiliated with and adminsitered by City University.

When the ICSL was first created, each of the four Inns of Court were required to each provide two rooms for the school. Until just after the second world war the ICSL was located in Lincoln's Inn. In the 1950s a purpose built building was built at 4 Gray's Inn Place within Gray's Inn and the school relocated there. Shortly after that Atkin Building in Gray's Inn was secured and then in the 1980s a further building was acquired for the ICSL in Princeton street.


As mentioned above the ICSL is mainly based in Gray's Inn and has three buildings, 4 Gray's Inn Place (GIP), Atkin Building (AB) and Princeton Street (PS).

4 Gray's Inn Place houses the library, school office and the staff offices. Located in Atkin Building is the lecture theatre, (formerly named Morrison Hall), the Common Room, the Muslim Prayer Room and several small group rooms. The Princeston Street building houses a computer suite and a number of small group rooms as well as playing host to the school's pro bono facilities and the video recording rooms.

All small group rooms are specifically maintained to accommodate a class of twelve, although the rooms can accommodate a few more students without desk space. Each room has a television, video camera and DVD player to allow for filming a student's advocacy performances.

Famous Alumni

As might perhaps be expected from the institution which had a monopoly on half of the legal training in a large jurisdiction for nearly a century and a half, the alumni of the ICSL includes many judges, Queen's Counsel, and distinguished academics. Others who went on to achieve the highest distinction include four British Prime Ministers - Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, Clement Attlee and Herbert Asquith - Mahatma Gandhi, M A Jinnah (first Governor General of Pakistan), and Jawaharlal Nehru (first Prime Minister of India).


In 2007 the ICSL introduced a new scholarship award scheme, worth over £25,000, for the BVC. Each scholarship award is made through each Inn of Court, the professional societies to which every English barrister must belong.

Coat of Arms

The ICSL Coat of Arms is pictured at the top of this page, the picture is taken from the fron entrance to Gray's Inn Place. The Arms consists of th joint Coats of Arms of all four Inns of Court, namely (in order) Lincoln's Inn, the Middle Templethe , the Inner Temple and Gray's Inn. The Council of Legal Education used a similar form of the Arms.


Since July 2008, the ICSL brand was dropped and replaced with The City Law School brand. Replacement of the ICSL brand was phased in gradually. Initially both logos were used on the school stationery, then the 2007-2008 manuals bore the City Law School name with the ICSL logo, and now all notices in the school are being fully replaced with the City Law School logo.

Many students currently at the ICSL still refer to it by that name and also when students and alumni state either verbally or in written form, such as their CV, they went to the ICSL without any mention of City University.

One possible motive for the rebranding of the ICSL appears to be from pressure from the Bar Council resulting from complaints raised by other BVC providers of the association the Inns within the name of the ICSL and the unfair prejudice other providers receive from that.

Key Personalities

The current Dean of the Inns of Court School of Law is Professor Adrian Keane. In addition to leading ICSL, Professor Keane is also the author of the Modern Law of Evidence and a contributing author to both Blackstone's Civil Practice and Blackstone's Criminal Practice. The the current BVC Course Director is Stuart Sime, whom is also the Co-ordinator of the Civil Litigation module. Mr Sime is also the author of a Practical Approach to Civil Litigation, author and editor of the ICSL Civil Litigation Manual and co-editor of Blackstone's Civil Practice.

BVC Association

The purpose of the BVC Association is to provide parties and social activities for those students at ICSL reading for the bar. The ICSL provides the BVC Association with a sum of money for the purpose of undertaking this task. All BVC students are automatically members of the BVC Association. The Committee Officers are the President, Vice President, Social Secretary and Treasurer, all of which are elected by the BVC students.

ee also

*City Law School

External links

* [ Inns of Court School of Law]
* [ Roger Williams University School of Law Summer Program in London]
* [ News: CLS congratulates first BVC scholarship winners]

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