A blupete Essay

On The Inns of Courts, Part 8 to blupete's Essay
"An Essay On Lawyers"

Did you know in earlier days that respectable lawyers in England were called serjeants! Today, it pretty well has only a military meaning. Its roots, however, go to feudal times, "an armed officer in the service of a lord, ... [one of a] body of men of knightly rank, originally 24 in number, who were required to be in immediate attendance on the king's person, to arrest traitors and other offenders." Courts in the earlier days were regal matters, and with this historical context, it should be easier to see how high ranking lawyers in the earlier days were designated as serjeants, members of a "superior order of barristers (abolished in 1880), from which, until 1873, the Common Law judges were always chosen (hence a serjeant was always called by a judge my brother So-and-so')."

The establishment and the ranking of barristers in England goes back a long way, in fact, the system, known as the Inns of Court, is rooted in the days of the crusades, and, the Knights Templars.10 In any event, the concept of the Inns of Court was fully established by the 15th century.

The Inns of Court are institutions of legal learning located in London. There are four of them: the Inner Temple, the Middle Temple, Lincoln's Inn, and Gray's Inn.11 These four legal societies have the exclusive right of admitting persons to practice at the bar; they hold courses of instruction and conduct examinations to determine those who are to be admitted. As long as one is a barrister his professional life is guided by the inn to which he continues to belong. He involves himself in the operation and advances the purposes of his inn of court: to educate and to keep their brethren together through socialization.12 The four inns are each governed by a committee or board, called the benchers. Each inn is in effect a neighborhood located fairly close to one another at the core of the City of London. In each will be found many old and beautiful buildings where people, mostly connected with the law, live and work. Also will be found the chambers [offices] of the barristers.


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Peter Landry

2011 (2019)