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Research Advice

Researching Lawyers and Members of the Inn

Research into individual barristers will benefit from a number of sources. If you are uncertain which Inn a barrister was a member of, you can establish whether or not they were a member of the Middle Temple using our published Registers of Admissions, which cover the period from 1501-1975. These contain the core details of an individual's membership.

Further details relating to a member's relationship with the Inn (including in many cases chambers details, names of bondsmen and more) are to be found in the Members' Ledgers, covering 1747-1914. You can also consult the Minutes of Parliament for the relevant period, in case the individual's name appears therein.

If the subject of your research is not a Middle Templar, the other three Inns of Court also have archives:

If the subject of your research was a solicitor or attorney rather than a barrister, it is highly unlikely that any relevant records will be held in an Inn of Court Archive, as these are exclusively concerned with barristers. The Law Society is the professional body for solicitors in the UK, and they hold an archive dating back to the society's foundation in 1825.

More generally, the UK's National Archives have produced an excellent guide to researching lawyers. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and the Times Digital Archive are also worth consulting.

Relevant published sources to research into individual lawyers include:

  • The Law Lists, annual directories of practising lawyers dating back to 1775. These are available in libraries such as the British Library and various university libraries. They are not available for public consultation at Middle Temple.
  • Brian Brooks and Mark Herber: My Ancestor was a Lawyer, Society of Genealogists, 2006.
  • Holborn, G: Sources of Biographical Information on Past Lawyers. BIALL,1999.
  • Foss, Edward: A Biographical Dictionary of the Judges of England.  London, 1870.


Researching Middle Temple / Legal History

The digitised Minutes of the Middle Temple's Parliament are an excellent resource for those researching the history of the Inn, its governance and also of wider legal and historical topics. They cover over four centuries of history, from 1501-1919.

The Treasurers' Receipt Books are also a valuable source, covering the Inn's expenditure between 1637 and 1922, and cast an important light on day to day life at the Middle Temple.

See the list of published sources for other material available relating to the Middle Temple.

If you wish to contact the Archive, please familiarise yourself with our collections using the Summary of Holdings before doing so - this will enable you to sharpen your search and understand how / whether we may be able to assist.