The governance structure of The Honorable Society of King’s Inns (King’s Inns) can be traced back to its establishment in the 16th century. The governing body of the Society was composed of the ‘Benchers’ – who included, the Lord Chancellor, judges and senior members of the Bar.
The main function of the Benchers was the regulation of admission to the legal profession, while other functions related to the appointment of the Treasurer and other officers, discipline of barristers, leases of property and approval of building works.
Today, the functions of the Benchers include:
- Conferring the degree of Barrister–at–Law
- Presiding at Commons
- The disbarment for disciplinary reasons, or at his or her request, of a barrister
- Providing certificates of “good standing” to barristers wishing to transfer to the solicitors’ profession
- Dealing with complaints of professional misconduct and other disciplinary matters
To understand how Benchers and Honorary Benchers are elected, please view our General Rules of the Society.
The property of the Society shall be held by three trustees appointed on an ex officio basis by Council. The three trustees will be:
- Chief Justice
- President of the High Court
- Chair of Council
In the mid 1970s the Council of King’s Inns was established. Four main constituencies now make up Council which comprises 43 members. Membership is balanced between Judicial Benchers, Bar Benchers, the Professional Body Panel (currently the Bar of Ireland) and the Practising Bar Panel.
Relationships between Benchers, Council and Committees are fundamental to the effective functioning of King’s Inns. We currently have 134 Benchers, 43 members of Council and a number of Committees / Working Groups that support the work of the Society.
More information about Council and current members can be found here.
Committees of Council
The Committees of Council deal with the following matters:
- Finance, buildings and general purposes
- The education of students and further education of barristers
- The Society’s Library
- Professional practices
- Commons, recreation and social affairs
- Matters affecting non–practising barristers
The driver for the establishment of Council was financial need. At the time, it was agreed that the Bar of Ireland should support King’s Inns and in return would have active participation in its governance.
In the 1970s, the Benchers transferred the management of the affairs of the Society to Council reserving the functions of admission to the degree of Barrister-at-Law and disciplinary matters.
More information about the Committees and elected members can be found here.
The day–to–day operations at King’s Inns are managed and directed by the CEO and Under Treasurer, the Dean, Registrar and the Librarian. They work together with their departments in delivering the Strategy alongside Council as well as carrying out the main objectives of the Society.
View more about our people here.
Contact information is available here.
CEO and Under Treasurer
Renate Ní Uigín