Grays Inn Standing Orders re Honorary Benchers

Being the sad sack I am, I have trawled through the Rules of my Inn, Gray’s, and found nothing. Now I have gone through the Standing Orders and found the following….

In my view, Grayling does not fit ANY of the categories 20, 23 b, e, or f, but there seems to be no mechanism to remove the honour. Anyone with any bright ideas…..?


Royal and Honorary Masters of the Bench
17. Pension may elect one or more members of the Royal Family to be a Royal Master of the Bench.
18. Pension may elect any person (including a Member of Hall) to be an Honorary Master. A Royal or Honorary Master shall not be required to pay an annual bench contribution and shall not have a Voice or Vote in Pension.
19. The Treasurer shall select advisers, whose names he shall report for approval to Pension as early as practicable in his year of office, to advise him whether there are any persons whom it would be appropriate to propose to Pension should be elected as Honorary Masters in accordance with this Order. The advisers should include those with knowledge of at least one of the categories of Honorary Master set out below.
20. Honorary Masters should be elected only from among people of outstanding public eminence and distinction or who have rendered great service to the Inn.
21. In March of each year, the Treasurer, Vice-Treasurer and Under-Treasurer shall meet to consider whether there are areas outside the profession where the Inn would benefit from having an Honorary Bencher with skill and expertise in that field. As Honorary Benchers are elected for life, the power should be exercised sparingly.
22. In April, the Under Treasurer shall write to all Masters asking for nominations against the selection criteria set out below. These nominations will form a list for the Treasurer and his advisers to consider in turn.
Selection criteria for Honorary Masters of the Bench
23. The categories should be considered in the following order:
(a) Members of the Inn who have obtained high office overseas e.g. Chief Justice or Governor General. (b) Those who have skills that the Inn requires or those that have rendered great service to the Inn, or are in a position to do so.
(c) Influential and senior overseas lawyers who will genuinely assist the Inn and have the ability and wish to work with the Inn.
(d) Overseas members of the profession to whom the Inn wants to show overt support, as the political situation dictates. (e) Famous or illustrious British non-lawyers whom the Inn would wish to honour. These should not number more than 5% of the total number of Honorary Benchers.
(f) Exceptional cases, being people who fall into none of the above categories, whom the Inn wishes to honour. This category includes those, akin to Royal Benchers, where it would be a great honour for the Inn if the person were to be an Honorary Bencher, and from whom no commitment would be appropriate.
24. At the last Pension of Trinity Term, the Treasurer shall report upon the advice which he has received from his advisers and shall in particular name the person or persons, if any, whom he intends to propose for election as Honorary Masters in the light of such advice. Each Master present shall then be given an opportunity of speaking for or against each of the persons named.
25. The Treasurer may then propose for election as an Honorary Bencher any person named by him under Order 13.24. In the event of such a proposal, Pension shall appoint a meeting of Pension at which the election shall take place.
26. When, but not before, his election has been proposed, a person proposed to be elected an Honorary Master may be invited to indicate his readiness to be honoured in the way proposed.
27. No person shall be elected an Honorary Master unless he has received the votes of two-thirds of the Masters present.

ORDER 14: Disciplinary Matters
A. Barrister members
1. When a complaint concerning the conduct of a Member of Hall is made to the Treasurer or Under-Treasurer, they shall decide whether the conduct, if true, falls within the jurisdiction of the Complaints Committee of the Bar Standards Board (“the Complaints Committee”) or amounts to a criminal offence. If it does, they shall further consider whether the conduct calls into question the fitness of that member to practise. If it does, the complaint shall be referred by the Under-Treasurer either to the Complaints Committee or to the police, unless it is clear that such a complaint has already been made or ought to be made by those more directly affected by the conduct complained of.
2. If the conduct would fall within paragraph 14.1 except that it does not call into question the Member’s fitness to practice, but is a matter that directly affects the Inn, the matter may be referred by the Under-Treasurer to the Complaints Committee or to the police.
3. Any complaint about the conduct of a Member of Hall in relation to the Inn, which is not within the jurisdiction of the Complaints Committee or does not call into question the Member’s fitness to practise, may be dealt with informally by either the Treasurer or Under-Treasurer.



About utterbarrister

Long-suffering, hard-working barrister in Criminal Practice at Chambers of John Coffey QC, 3 Temple Gardens, London
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4 Responses to Grays Inn Standing Orders re Honorary Benchers

  1. Pingback: Gray's Inn stupidly honoured Grayling and Brennan. Serves them right that now they've got them for eternity | Barrister BloggerBarrister Blogger

  2. Will says:

    Could there be a motion by the members of the Inn stating that the committee that appointed Grayling were acting beyond their competence due to none of the criteria being fulfilled, and that as a result the appointment is null and void?

  3. Pingback: A cheery Round Robin from the Mininstry of Justice Christmas Card | Barrister BloggerBarrister Blogger

  4. Pingback: Save UK justice: The Blogs | ilegality

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