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585
INNS OF COURT


their wigs and gowns), in the "parliament, " “pension” or “ council ” chamber of the benchers. The benchers sit at a table round which are ranged the students to be called. Each candidate being provided with a glass of wine, the treasurer or senior bencher addresses them and the senior student briefly replies. “ Call Parties ” are also generally held by the new barristers; at the Middle Temple they are allowed in hall. During the reign of Edward III. the Inns of Court and Chancery, based on the collegiate principle, prospered under the supervision and protection of the crown. In 1381 Wat Tyler invaded the Temple, and in the succeeding century (1450) Tack Cade meditated pulling down the Inns of Court and killing the lawyers. It would appear, moreover, that the inmates of the inns were themselves at times disorderly and in conflict with the citizens. Fortescue (r. 1464) describing these societies thus speaks of them: “There belong to the law ten lesser inns, which are called the Inns of Chancery, in each of which there are one hundred students at least, and in some a far greater number, though not constantly residing. After the students have made some progress here they are admitted to the Inns of Court. Of these there are four, in the least frequented of which there are about two hundred students. The discipline is excellent, and the mode of study well adapted for proficiency.” This system had probably existed for two centuries before Fortescue wrote, and continued to be enforced down to the time of Sir Thomas More (I4Q8), of Chief Justice Dyer (1537) and of Sir Edward Coke (1571). By the'time of Sir Matthew Hale (1629) the custom for law students to be first entered to an Inn of Chancery before being admitted to an Inn of Court had become obsolete, and thenceforth the Inns of Chancery have been abandoned to the attorneys. Stow in his Survey succinctly points out the course of reading enforced at the end of the 16th century. He says that the Inns of Court were replenished partly by students coming from the Inns of Chancery, who went thither from the universities and sometimes immediately from grammar schools; and, having spent some time in studying the first elements of the law, and having performed the exercises called “ bolts, ” “ moots ” and “ putting of cases, ” they proceeded to be admitted to, and become students in, one of the Inns of Court. Here continuing for the space of seven years or thereabouts, they frequented readings and other learned exercises, whereby, growing ripe in the knowledge of the laws, they were, by the general consent either of the benchers or of the readers, called to the degree of barrister, and so enabled to practise in chambers and at the bar. This ample provision for legal study continued with more or less vigour down to nearly the commencement of the 18th century. A languor similar to that which affected the church and the universities then gradually supervened, until the fulfilment of the merest forms sufficed to confer the dignity of advocate and pleader. This was maintained until about 1845, when steps were taken for reviving and extending the ancient discipline and course of study, bringing them into harmony with modern ideas and requirements.

The fees payable vary slightly at the different inns, but average about £150. This sum covers all expenses from admission to an inn to the call at the bar, but the addition of tutorial and other expenses may augment the cost of a barrister's legal education to £400 or £500. The period of study prior to call must not be less than twelve terms, equivalent to about three years. Solicitors, however, may be called without keeping any terms if they have been in practice for not fewer than five consecutive years. It has been seen that the studies pursued in ancient times were conducted by means of “ readings, ” “ moots ” and “ bolts.” The readings were deemed of vital importance, and were delivered in the halls with much ceremony; they were frequently regarded as authorities and cited as such at Westminster in argument. Some statute or section of a statute was selected for analysis and explanation, and its relation to the common law pointed out. Many of these readings, dating back to Edward I., are extant, and well illustrate the importance of the subjects and the exhaustive and learned manner in which they were treated. The function of “ reader ” involved the holder in very weighty expenses, chiefly by reason of the profuse hospitality dispensed constant and splendid table being kept during the three weeks and three days over which the readings extended, to which were invited the nobility, judges, bishops, the officers of state and sometimes the king himself. In 1688 the readers were paid £200 for their reading, but by that time the office had become a sinecure. In the present day the readership is purely honorary and without duties. The privilege formerly assumed by the reader of calling to the bar was taken away in 1664 by an order of the lord chancellor and the judges. Zlloots were exercises of the nature of formal arguments on points of law raised by the students and conducted under the supervision of a bencher and two barristers sitting as judges in the halls of the inns. Bolts were of an analogous character, though deemed inferior to moots. In the early history of the inns discrimination was exercised in regard to the social status of candidates for admission to them. Sir John Ferne, a writer of the 16th century, referred to by Dugdale, states that none were admitted into the houses of court except they were gentlemen of blood. So also Pliny, writing in the ISL century of the Christian era (Letters, ii. 14), says that before his day young men even of the highest families of Rome were not admitted to practice except upon the introduction of some man of consular rank. But he goes on to add that all barriers were then broken down, everything being open to everybody remark applicable to the bar of England and elsewhere in the present day. It may here be noted that no dignity or title confers any rank at the bar. A privy councillor, a peer's son, a baronet, the speaker of the House of Commons or a knight all rank at the bar merely according to their legal- precedence. Formerly orders were frequently issued both by the benchers and by the crown on the subject of the dress, manners, morals and religious observances of students and members. Although some semblance of a collegiate discipline is still maintained, this is restricted to the dining in hall, where many ancient usages survive, and to the closing of the gates of the inns at night.

Each inn maintains a chapel, with the accompaniment of preachers and other clergy, the services being those of the Church of England. The Inner and the Middle Temple have joint use of the Temple church. The office of preacher is usually Iilled by an ecclesiastic chosen by the benchers. The principal ecclesiastic of the Temple church is, however, constituted by letters patent by the crown without episcopal institution or induction, enjoying, nevertheless, no authority independently of the benchers. He bears the title of Master of the Temple. It has already been stated, on the authority of Fortescue, that the students of the Inns of Court learned to dance, sing and play instrumental music; and those accomplishments found expression in the “ masques ” and “ revels ” for which the societies formerly distinguished themselves, especially the Inner Temple and Gray's Inn. These entertainments were of great antiquity and much magnificence, involving very considerable expense. Evelyn (Diary) speaks of the revels at the Middle Temple as an old and riotous custom, having relation neither to virtue nor to policy. The last revel appears to have been held at the Inner Temple in 1734, to mark the occasion of the elevation of Lord Chancellor Talbot to the woolsack. The plays and masques performed were sometimes repeated elsewhere than in the hall of the inn, especially before the sovereign at court. A master of the revels was appointed, commonly designated Lord of Misrule. There is abundant information as to the scope and nature of these entertainments: one of the festivals is minutely described by Gerard Leigh in his Acccdence of Armorie§ 1612; and a tradition ascribes the first performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night to a revel held in the Middle Temple hall in February 1601. The hospitality of the inns now hnds expression mainly in the “ Grand Day, ” held once in each of the four terms, when it is customary for the judges and other distinguished visitors to dine with the benchers (who sit apart from the barristers and students on a dais in some state), and “ Readers Feast, ” on both which occasions extra commons and wine are served to the members attending. But the old customs also

found some renewal in the shape of balls, concerts, garden-parties