We’re going where the Sun Shines Brightly…

So why do Treasurers and the Sub-Treasurer travel abroad every year on behalf of the Inn?

In my time Treasurers have visited Singapore and Washington in 2018; Mauritius, Malaysia, Singapore and Washington in 2019; Washington in 2022; and Delhi and Goa (the latter for a Commonwealth Lawyers Conference) in 2023, with a visit to Barbados; Trinidad and Tobago; and Washington still to come at the time of writing. The international programme was disrupted by the pandemic and last year a joint Amity Visit with Gray’s Inn to the US and an Inner Temple visit to four Caribbean countries were cancelled because of the sad death of Her Majesty The Late Queen two days before we were due to set out. In the past there have been visits to even more exotic locations.

Master Deborah Taylor, Emilia Clegg, Sub-Treasurer at AIC 2022

These visits are not based on the random wishes of successive Treasurers. The equivalent of a ‘business case’ is prepared when deciding where a Treasurer might visit. This is carefully considered by the International Committee, at least since 2017 when it was established, who might endorse it but might equally suggest an alternative itinerary, which they believe might be of more practical benefit to the Inn. Affordability is an issue too, of course, and the Finance Sub-Committee also play a role when determining the international budget for the following year.

Supreme Court of India 2023

How do we select where Treasurers should visit? The whereabouts of Inner Temple members, alumni for want of a better word, is one criterion. Nationality is not the same as current location and sadly not all our members stay in touch or update us on changes of address. But broadly, by location, our top ten countries are Malaysia, Singapore, Ireland, India, the USA, Mauritius, Pakistan, Australia, the Bahamas and Bangladesh. In some jurisdictions we have Overseas, Honorary and Academic Masters of the Bench in very senior positions. In Malaysia, Singapore and Mauritius we have very active alumni associations in place and there is a long-standing history of useful two-way visits with the American Inns of Court (our visits to Washington are usually in the context of attending their annual Celebration of Excellence at the US Supreme Court, which is a valuable networking opportunity).

In some jurisdictions we have Overseas, Honorary and Academic Masters of the Bench in very senior positions.

But alongside keeping in touch with our alumni, these visits are also about making new contacts; telling them about the role of the Inns of Court; and discussing with them issues such as the rule of law, ethical legal practice or judicial independence. This is never a question of preaching, but always about exchanging best practice. In some areas we may feel we are thought leaders, but in others we have much to learn from what is happening in other jurisdictions – such as impressive technological advancements in the Indian courts. In some locations our Treasurers give speeches or presentations to students or other audiences. For example, in 2019, Master Anthony Hughes gave several speeches on making the rule of law a daily reality and our current Treasurer spoke about assisted dying and building a healthy nation earlier this year. Sometimes the visits tie in with incoming visits to Inner Temple from overseas jurisdictions.

This is never a question of preaching, but always about exchanging best practice. In some areas we may feel we are thought leaders, but in others we have much to learn from what is happening in other jurisdictions.

These visits are opportunities too to market Inner Temple as a venue in London for events that overseas jurisdictions might be contemplating; to promote UK legal products, lawyers and the use of London as a location for legal transactions; as well as to supplement the work of the Bar Council and – as appropriate – the Law Society in making the case for opening up the global legal services market. We are not primarily recruiting students, but where a talented international student is considering a career at the Bar of England and Wales it may be possible to offer relevant advice. And we can provide information (which is regularly sought from us) about how qualified foreign lawyers can practise at the Bar of England and Wales, either by transferring or by applying for temporary Call to act in specific cases in England and Wales. Treasurers can often also identify suitable candidates to become Overseas, Honorary or Academic Benchers on such visits or detect suitable opportunities to consider advocacy or other forms of training. We can advertise initiatives such as The Inner Temple Triennial Book Prize, which is steadily gaining international prominence. And when it comes to a big global initiative, such as the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta in 2015, it is no use starting preparations at the last minute – the contacts to make things happen must be in place well in advance.

Master Treasurer at the Delhi High Court 2023

We are now regularly reporting on Treasurers’ overseas visits, so we have a permanent record of itineraries, what has been achieved, who has been met, and so on. This gives the International and Executive Committees an opportunity to evaluate the visits and determine what works well and what does not. The visits can be quite hard work – the schedules are often packed and the logistics demanding: the overall exercise is often very tiring. They can also be fascinating glimpses into how legal business is done elsewhere, as well as an opportunity to connect with the Inn’s members overseas. But Treasurers do not take these visits on for their entertainment value!

Master Treasurer at the Hingorani Foundation Event 2023


Greg Dorey CVO


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