Lincoln's Inn

Lincoln's Inn

The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn is one of four Inns of Court in London to which barristers of England and Wales belong and where they are called to the Bar. The other three are Middle Temple, Inner Temple and Gray's Inn. Lincoln's Inn is able to trace its official records to 1422 ("i.e." beyond those of the other three); however, by tradition, none of the Inns claims to be the oldest of the four.

The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn is said to take its name from Henry de Lacy, 3rd Earl of Lincoln who died in 1311. His own great house was adjacent and he is credited with being the Society's patron. Although the other three Inns of Court are of comparable antiquity, having evolved from uncertain origins in the fourteenth century, Lincoln's Inn can claim the oldest extant records, the Black Books, which record its principal activities from 1422 to this day.

The present character of Lincoln's Inn owes much to the fact that its precincts and buildings - the medieval Hall and Gateway abutting onto Chancery Lane, the late seventeenth century New Square in the centre, and the magnificent Victorian gothic Great Hall and Library beside Lincoln's Inn Fields - survived nearly unscathed the devastations of the Blitz. Striking as they are, these buildings however are not merely architectural and historical tourist attractions but provide the professional home for the practising bar and many of the educational facilities for the training of students. It is to meet those needs that the Inn exists and on which it expends the bulk of its resources.

It is near Holborn, in the London Borough of Camden, just on the border with the City of London and the City of Westminster, near the Royal Courts of Justice. The Inn lies to the north of the Strand (and the two Temples) and to the south of High Holborn (and Gray's Inn); Chancery Lane being the nearest tube station.


Stone Buildings were designed by Sir Robert Taylor and the Great Hall by the father and son architects, Philip and Philip Charles Hardwick. Another famous architect, Giles Gilbert Scott, also contributed to the Great Hall and it can be clearly seen which part Philip Hardwick wanted to be known for as his initials are shown one side of the building as P.H. - 1843.


The three ranks of membership of the Inn are students, barristers and benchers. The lowest rank, that of student (once known as "inner barrister"), is open to all of good character who satisfy certain educational requirements, which nowadays include acceptance by a British university for a degree course. On obtaining a law degree, passing the Bar Vocational Course, and "keeping" the requisite number of terms by dining in hall sufficiently often during the seven dining periods in the year, the student qualifies for call to the Bar. The Inn plays a vigorous part in supplementing a pupil's formal training by arranging debates, moots, instruction and exercises in advocacy, and experience as a judge's marshal. There is also a system of sponsorship whereby practising barristers give general assistance to students on an individual basis. Call to the Bar is made by the Treasurer of the Inn on one of the five call days in the year. The student then becomes a barrister, or, as it was once called, an outer or "utter" barrister. In order to attract new members of the highest calibre, the Inn provides scholarships, bursaries, awards and prizes worth over £1.1 million ($2 million).

Famous Members and Benchers

Names famous in the law naturally feature among its benchers and members, such as Sir Matthew Hale and Lord Mansfield, Chief Justices of the Kings Bench in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries or more recently, Lord Denning and Lord Hailsham, but it has also served as a training ground for those whose achievements were in other fields. Fifteen Prime Ministers, from Pitt to Tony Blair, have been benchers. The names of the novelists Charles Reade, Charles Kingsley, Wilkie Collins, Rider Haggard, and John Galsworthy will all be found in the membership records. Of literary figures, perhaps standing rather higher than those is John Donne, who was Preacher to the Society and laid the foundation stone of the present Chapel, built in 1623. And perhaps the most famous name of them all, Thomas More, admitted as a student in 1496, he went on to become a bencher of the Inn. []


*Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder and first Governor General of Pakistan
*Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
*Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
*Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, former President and first elected Prime Minister of Pakistan
*William Pitt, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
*Herbert Henry Asquith, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
*Richard Cromwell, former Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland
*Fredrick Richard Senanayake, first Prime Minister of Sri Lanka

Politicians, Ministers and Law Officers

*Sir Thomas More, former Lord Chancellor of the United Kingdom
*Lord Hailsham, former Lord Chancellor of the United Kingdom
*Clement Higham, former Speaker of the House of Commons
*William Cordell, former Speaker of the House of Commons
*Sir Francis Walsingham, former Lord Privy Seal
*Henry Bedingfeld, Privy Counsellor to King Edward VI
*Vicary Gibbs, former Attorney General of England and Wales
*Daniel O'Connell, famous Irish political leader
*David Renton, former British Member of Parliament
*Frederic Bennett, former British Member of Parliament
*William Cornwallis-West, former British Member of Parliament
*James Arbuthnot, former British Member of Parliament
*Sir William Goodenough Hayter, 1st Baronet, former British Member of Parliament
*Charles McLaren, former British Member of Parliament


*Fazal-e-Akbar, former Chief Justice of Pakistan
*Nicholas Conyngham Tindal, former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
*Robert Dallas, former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
*Lord Denning, former Master of the Rolls, England
*Michael Fox, former Lord Justice of Appeal, England
*Edward John Gambier, former Chief Justice of Madras, India
*Richard Garth, former Chief Justice of Bengal, India
*John Glynne, former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
*Sir John Fortescue, former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
*William Grant, former Master of the Rolls, England
*Mirza Hameedullah Beg, former Chief Justice of India
*Lloyd Kenyon, former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
*Thomas Langlois Lefroy, former Chief Justice of Ireland
*Ajmal Mian, former Chief Justice of Pakistan
*Justice Ghulam Mujaddid Mirza, Chief Justice Lahore High Court Punjab Pakistan and first and only Chief Ehtesab (Accountability)Commissioner [ [ Curriculum vitae, p.84] ]
*Frank Murphy, United States Supreme Court Associate Justice (1940–49)
*William Osgoode, first Chief Justice of Ontario, Canada


*Anthony Grabiner, former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the London School of Economics
*William Garrow, established cross-examination as a cornerstone of the adversarial trial system
*Frank Lockwood, represented the English Bar at the 19th meeting of the American Bar Association
*Cherie Blair, wife of Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
*Fidelis Oditah, prospective Governor of Delta State, Nigeria
*James Hope-Scott, famous ecclesiastical lawyer
*Peter Prescott, intellectual property law specialist

Jurists and Scholars

*Geoffrey Cheshire, influential writer on private international law and real property law
*William Noy, 17th century British jurist
*Arthur Lehman Goodhart, first American to be made a Master of an Oxford college
*William Hearn, first Dean of the University of Melbourne Law School

Writers, Poets and Philosophers

*Muhammad Iqbal, Muslim poet, philosopher and politician of the Indian Subcontinent
*John Henry Newman, Cardinal and Catholic writer
*John Donne, Jacobean poet and preacher
*Frank Moraes, former Editor of the Times of India
*Charles Kingsley, English novelist
*Charles Reade, English novelist and dramatist
*Wilkie Collins, English novelist and playwright
*Rider Haggard, prolific writer of adventure novels


*Lancelot Ware, co-founder of Mensa International
*St. George Jackson Mivart, famous British biologist
*George Harrison, distinguished civil servant
*Diana Louie Elles, former British representative to the UN General Assembly
*William Prynne, 17th century pamphleteer and opponent of Archbishop William Laud
*Matthew Duane, 18th century art patron
*Archibald Smith, famous Scottish mathematician
*Henry Charles Sirr, famous diplomat
*Robert Holford Macdowall Bosanquet, English scientist and music theorist

Lincoln's Inn Library

The Lincoln's Inn Library is of ancient foundation - it is first mentioned in the Inn's records in 1471. The Library holds about 150,000 volumes, the core of which is a comprehensive range of English legal materials for the practitioner and bar student including important collections of rare books and manuscripts; by no means all connected with the law. The most important are the Hale Manuscripts. They take their name from Sir Matthew Hale, Chief Justice of the King's Bench and great antiquary, who bequeathed his large personal collection on his death in 1676. The collection includes most of the Library's 63 medieval manuscripts.

The present library building stands at the north end of the Great Hall. It is approached by the staircase which also leads to the Benchers' Rooms; and beneath them are the offices of the Inn. These structures were built at the same time as the Great Hall, in 1843-45, though the library was extended eastwards in 1872, to the design of Sir George Gilbert Scott, R.A. Before the present building was erected, the library was at No.2 Stone Buildings; and before 1787 there was a library close to the Old Hall. As a collection of books, the library has been in continuous existence for over five centuries. In addition to law reports, statutes, legal textbooks and all the usual material of a working law library, there are many other books on a wide range of subjects, including topography, local records, parish registers and many branches of literature.

Apart from an outstanding collection of English legal treatises and extensive collections of early civil and continental law, the Library has a large collection of pamphlets and tracts, over two thousand of which date from before 1700, and which contain important material of interest to many apart from legal historians.

The Library also holds extensive collections of Commonwealth legislation and law reports (though relatively few textbooks and journals). The Library's current acquisitions policy is to concentrate mainly on Australia and New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and the Pacific, and Africa, with Inner Temple Library having primary responsibility for Canada, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan and the Caribbean, though the Library does hold some materials from those jurisdictions.

The Library holds a virtually complete set of all Parliamentary papers and debates from 1801. The main exception is House of Commons Standing Committee debates (published separately from the main Hansard) which, other than for a small selection for sessions 1954-55 to 1971-72, are held only from 1983-84.

Preachers of Lincoln's Inn

The office of Preacher of Lincoln's Inn or Preacher to Lincoln's Inn is a clerical office in the Church of England. [] Past incumbents include:
*John Donne
*William Warburton
*Henry Wace []
*Derek Watson
*Edward Maltby


Other organisations based in the Inn

*68 Signal Squadron

68 Signal Squadron is a British Army unit of the Royal Corps of Signals. It operates out of two locations: a townhouse in Lincoln's Inn, Central London, and (some thirty kilometers away) a more barrack-style premises in Whipps Cross, Leytonstone in East London. It is attached to 71 (Yeomanry) Signal Regiment (Volunteers).


ee also

*Lincoln's Inn Fields

External links

* [ Lincoln's Inn website]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lincoln’s Inn — Lincoln s Inn Armoiries combinant celles des quatre Inns of Court. Celles du Lincoln s Inn constituent le 1e quartier, en haut à gauche Lincoln s Inn est l une des quatre Inns of Court de Londres …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Lincoln Green Inn — (Кармел,США) Категория отеля: Адрес: 26200 Carmelo Avenue, Кармел, CA 93923, США …   Каталог отелей

  • Lincoln's Inn — see INNS OF COURT * * * …   Universalium

  • Lincoln's Inn — See barrister. Collins dictionary of law. W. J. Stewart. 2001 …   Law dictionary

  • Lincoln's Inn — one of the Inns of Court in London …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Lincoln's Inn — see INNS OF COURT …   English World dictionary

  • Lincoln’s Inn — Gemeinsames Wappen der vier Anwaltskammern. Lincoln’s Inns ist links oben dargestellt …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Lincoln's Inn — Gemeinsames Wappen der vier Anwaltskammern. Lincoln’s Inns ist links oben dargestellt. Lincoln’s Inn bzw. die Honorable Society of Lincoln’s Inn ist eine der vier englischen Anwaltskammern (Inns of Court) für Barrister in England. Die anderen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Lincoln's Inn —    One of the Inns of Court on the west side of Chancery Lane, outside the City boundary.    The name seems to have been originally applied to what was afterwards the town house of the Abbot of Malmesbury, on the south side of Holborn, east of… …   Dictionary of London

  • Lincoln's Inn — 51°31′01.65″N 00°06′52.48″O / 51.517125, 0.1145778 …   Wikipédia en Français