Inns of Court

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The Inns of Court are a group of four institutions in the west of London. Since at least the 14th century people have been trained there in law. The four institutions, called inns because they provided lodging, are Gray's Inn, Lincoln's Inn, Inner Temple and Middle Temple. By the 16th century the Inns of Court were considered to be behind only Oxford University and Cambridge University in terms of prestige.

Mention should also be made of the Inns of Chancery, which sprang up in the 15th Century to meet the needs of the evolving courts of Chancery. These acted, in a way, also as prep schools for the four main Common-Law Inns. Today they are all dead, and most remembered only as office blocks on the margin between the cities of Westminster and London. They included: Clement's, Clifford's, and Lyons (associated with the Inner temple); Furnival's and Thavie's (associated with Lincoln's Inn); Barnard's and Staple (associated with Gray's Inn); Symond's, Strand, and the New Inn.

When the order of Serjeants-At-Law was founded, they also had their own Inn, Serjeant's Inn, which was just east of the Temple.

An Outer Temple existed, just outside Temple Bar, but it seems never to have been associated with the London lawyers, and is now an office block on the Strand.

See Also