Ancient legal societies situated in central London; every barrister must belong to one of them. These voluntary unincorporated associations have the exclusive right of call to the Bar. The early history of the Inns is disputed, but they probably began as hostels in which those who practised in the common law courts lived. These hostels gradually evolved a corporate life in which Benchers, barristers, and students lived together as a self-regulating body. From an early date they had an important role in legal education. In modern times four Inns survive: Gray's Inn, Inner Temple, Lincoln's Inn, and Middle Temple.
Subjects: Arts and Humanities.