Dining Rules

There are certain rules and customs that members are expected to observe when attending formal Qualifying Sessions at the Inn.

  1. Mobile phones and photography are prohibited.
  2. The Inn is a non-smoking venue.
  3. Members and guests must abide by the dress code.
  4. Members and guests must arrive in good time before the doors to Hall close.  If you arrive after a pre-dinner lecture has started you may be permitted to listen from the gallery.  If you arrive after dinner service has started it is at the discretion of the Event Manager whether to admit you.
  5. Members and guests are not permitted to leave their seat (save for exceptional circumstances) between first and second grace (i.e. for the duration of the meal).  It is essential therefore to make yourself comfortable before taking your seat.   If you have guests who are not familiar with this custom, please alert them to it in good time.
  6. If there is a speech or performance after dinner there will be a short comfort break after second grace.  Please note: Student members who require the Qualifying Session are required to stay for the entire event.  Click here for more information on Qualifying Sessions.

Procession of the Bench

When the Masters of the Bench (Benchers for short) are ready, the porter will strike his staff at the entrance of the Hall. Everybody rises and will stand while the Benchers process to the High Table.  The most senior Bencher present will say the first Grace (Grace before Meat). Then everyone sits down for the meal

The Toasts

At the end of the meal, a second Grace (Grace after Meat) will be said.  There are then three toasts; “the Queen”, “Domus” (Latin for the home, i.e. Middle Temple), and “absent members”. 

Rule of Three

Members are encouraged to use Inn events to meet new people within the profession.  According to the Rule of Three, which is emphasised particularly on lecture evenings, in the course of the evening you should speak to at least three people whom you had not known before.