Parliament is the Inn’s sovereign body and ultimate authority, responsible for the oversight of the Inn’s governance, legislation and elections. All Ordinary Benchers are members of the Inn’s Parliament. More specifically, its role is focused on:
- Discussion, debate and decisions around strategy and long-term issues affecting the future of the Inn and about major issues affecting the profession.
- Making, repealing or amending the Statutes and By Laws of the Inn.
- Approval of changes to the governance structure of the Inn.
- The election of Ordinary and Honorary Benchers; the Treasurer, Deputy Treasurer and Deputy Treasurer Elect; and the Readers.
- Approval of the Deputy Treasurer’s proposals for the appointment of Chairmen and members of Standing Committees, and the Under Treasurer.
- Approval of students proposed for Call to the Bar.
Parliament has up to six meetings a year: three meetings at which new Benchers are elected; one annual meeting for the purpose of approving committee appointments and the Inn’s budget; and at least one meeting (or possible two) for the purpose of debating single issues of key significance to the Inn and to the profession.
The Treasurer presides over meetings of Parliament or, in his/her absence, the Deputy Treasurer.
Between and in addition to meetings, Parliament is issued with annual reports from each of the Standing Committees and with regular written briefings from the Treasurer and Under Treasurer to update members on internal and external developments.