Skip to main content

Call to the Bar

Middle Temple arranges Call ceremonies four times every year. The published Call dates are traditionally the second Thursday in March and October and the fourth Thursday in July and November, however ceremonies may be held on other dates. In recent years, we have added additional ceremonies in July and November to accommodate student numbers.

COVID-19 Update (26/03/21):  Since the pandemic began we have been conducting Call ceremonies online. We do not yet know whether July 2021 Call will take place in person or online.  As soon as we have more information this page will be updated.

Criminal Records Check

Please bear in mind that for those wishing to be Called on or after 1st July 2021 the Bar Standards Board will also require a ‘Standard’ DBS check and the international equivalents for all candidates. Further details are below.

Upcoming Call dates

2021

The Call dates currently scheduled for 2021 are:

  • Hilary Call: 24 February 2021
  • deferred Hilary Call: 24 March 2021
  • Trinity Call: 28 & 29 July 2021
  • deferred Trinity Call: 14 October 2021
  • Michaelmas Call: 24 & 25 November 2021

The ceremonies in February and March will be conducted online.  It is not yet known what format the remaining ceremonies will take - this will depend on circumstances nearer the time.

Requirements to be eligible for Call

BPTC Students

Students can be Called to the Bar once they have successfully completed the Bar Course and been credited with the requisite number of Qualifying Sessions (click here for further details) These QS must be completed during a period of no more than five years ending on the date on which that person is Called to the Bar. 

Applications can be submitted before Bar Course results have been confirmed, and before all Qualifying Sessions have been completed, but Call to the Bar may only take place when all pre-conditions are met.

It has previously been possible to attend the reception after your Call ceremony as your 12th QS. However, please bear in mind that this will no longer be the case from Trinity 2021 onwards. From Trinity Call 2021, i.e. July 2021, the collegiate event after Call will no longer count as a QS. 

 

Specially Qualified Applicants

Specially Qualified Applicants (Transferring Solicitors, Qualified Lawyers, Legal Academics, etc.) can be Called to the Bar once they have made a successful application to the Qualifications Committee of the Bar Standards Board for Call to the Bar of England and Wales, completed the Bar Transfer Test (BTT) if required, and joined the Inn.  Any transferring lawyers who receive approval from the BSB on or after 1 September 2020 will be required to complete the requisite number of Qualifying Sessions before Call (click here for further details) .

Applications can be submitted before BTT results have been confirmed, and before all Qualifying Sessions have been completed, but Call to the Bar may only take place when all pre-conditions are met.

References

Due to a policy change the Inns no longer require reference letters for Call.

Criminal Records Check

Please bear in mind that for those wishing to be Called on or after 1st July 2021 the Bar Standards Board will also require a ‘Standard’ DBS check and the international equivalents for all candidates. Further details are below.

Criminal records checks

Overview

As of 2021, the Bar Standards Board requires that all those applying for Call to the Bar undergo a Standard UK Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) criminal record check. Additionally, those who have resided in a country/countries outside of the UK for 12 months or more, at any point during the 5 years preceding their application for Call, will need to undergo the equivalent international criminal record check/s. 

The DBS check will form part of the Fit and Proper Person checks required prior to Call to the Bar; further information regarding these checks can be found here.  
 
Collectively, the Inns of Court have engaged an experienced external company, Due Diligence Checking Ltd (DDC), to administer the process of obtaining the necessary checks. We are confident that this will ensure the process is as straightforward as possible for you.

Once you submit a Call application to the Inn, the Inn will submit your name and contact details to DDC who will then contact you to explain the next steps. 

Covid-19 Update (28/06/21): In response to the Covid pandemic the Bar Standards Board, as of 28 June 2021, has introduced a very limited waiver in relation to obtaining criminal records checks for Call.  See below for the full policy and application form.

 

Costs

Please note that the costs associated with obtaining the criminal records checks are separate, and in addition, to the Inn's Call fee (£125).

The Inns will cover the cost of the DDC administration fee. Only the actual costs associated with the checks will be passed onto the applicant. 
 
You will need to pay for the cost of the Standard DBS check at £23.00.  Additional costs for the following might also be applicable:

  • the cost for the relevant international check/s
  • the cost for translation, if the criminal record report is produced in a language other than English
  • the cost for identification (ID) verification via a video call 
  • the courier/postage costs associated with sending identification documentation (ID) to DDC (if ID is verified via a video call)

Click here for an overview of all related costs
 

Identification (ID) Checks 

A crucial part of the DBS process is the verification of applicant identification (ID) by DDC.

As current government guidelines prevent DDC from verifying applicant ID in person, the Inns have agreed to cover the cost (£14.40) of verifying ID via a video link for all those applying for Call in 2021.

As a result, in 2021, applicants who currently reside in the UK will only be required to pay for the postage/courier costs associated with sending identification documentation to DDC. Applicants residing outside of the UK will also have to pay for the postage/courier costs associated with having their identification documentation returned to them.

The Inns have unanimously agreed to the above as a direct response to the impact of COVID-19. As restrictions ease this interim arrangement will be kept under review and is subject to change. Individuals seeking to apply for Call will be informed of any future changes in due course.

Lifespan of Checks 

You must have undergone the required criminal record check/s before you can be called to the Bar. Each check has a lifespan of 12 months from the date of issuance and will be considered valid for any Call ceremonies scheduled to occur within that period. 

We cannot accept previously obtained DBS checks or criminal record checks issued by other organisations.
 

Processing Time for Checks

After you have submitted the online application form, paid the required fees and the identification (ID) checks have been completed; DDC will seek to obtain the Standard UK DBS check and, if required, the necessary international criminal record check/s.

The check/s will be returned to the applicant and Inn as follows:

  • Standard UK DBS check – within 3 working days
  • International checks – within 12 working days for the majority of checks, but processing times will vary country to country. For further guidance on the processing time for a specific country, please contact DDC. 

The Inn will receive notification from DDC of the outcome of these checks. Callees are only required to submit their DBS certificate to the Inn if it contains content. 

 

Privacy Notice  

To facilitate these checks, and to ensure they are carried out in good time for applicants to be called to the Bar, it is necessary for the Inn to transfer some of your data to Due Diligence Checking Ltd (DDC). The Inn’s privacy policy can be accessed here
 

Consent*

Additionally, it may be necessary for DDC to undertake a search with an external organisation for the purposes of verifying your identity. To do so, the organisation (Experian Limited) may check the name, address and date of birth you supply against any particulars on any database (public or otherwise) to which they have access. A record of the search will be retained but will not be visible to other parties or affect your credit rating. You will be required to provide written consent for this search to be undertaken ahead of the process of obtaining criminal record checks commencing. 

* this is consent required for DDC's business purposes and is not consent for the processing of data under GDPR
 

Waiver for criminal record checks for those applying for Call in 2021

In response to the Covid pandemic the BSB has introduced a very limited waiver in relation to obtaining criminal records checks for Call. This applies to those overseas for whom it would be unlawful to send their original ID documentation or to do so would represent a threat to their personal safety or freedom. The full policy and application form can be downloaded from this page. You must apply to the Inn to request the granting of the waiver. Email your completed form to CalltotheBar@middletemple.org.uk.
 

Further Questions

DDC have been tasked with delivering applicant identification (ID) checks, obtaining DBS standard checks and, if necessary, obtaining the equivalent overseas checks. After reading the above, and once the Inn has referred you to DDC, if you have queries regarding the process, please contact DDC here and not the Inn. 

Applying to be Called

You must make an application to be Called - you are not automatically assigned to be Called. 

Please be aware that:

  • You will be required to submit certified copies of any degree certificates (excluding the Bar Course) not previously submitted to the Inn (i.e. any degrees you have completed since joining the Inn).  Alternatively we can accept an email directly from your university confirming your degree results and date of conferment - please ask them to email CalltotheBar@middletemple.org.uk.
  • The Inn will receive your BPTC result directly from your provider, so there is no need for you to provide any proof of this.
  • We are not yet in a position to be able to know whether or not July/October Call ceremonies will be able to take place in person.  When we have more information this will be communicated to Call applicants and you will have the opportunity to cancel your Call should you wish to wait.
  • If you are Called in an online ceremony, you cannot take part in another Call ceremony on a later date. We do intend to arrange some form of celebratory event(s) in the future when large gatherings are possible again.
     

Your name as it will appear on your Call certificate

You will be Called using your full name, including middle names. This will be printed on your Call certificate and also published in the Times, Telegraph and Independent newspapers.
If due to cultural convention you would like your name to appear in a different order from first name ~ middle names ~ surname please specify this on the application form.
 

Call Fee (£125)

Payment of the Call fee will be requested around 2 weeks before Call.  This is an administrative fee and is required whether you are Called in person, in Absentia or online.
 

Call in Absentia 

[NB written request will not be required if the entire Call has to be held online or in Absentia]

Permission from the Masters of the Bench may be sought if any student wishes to be Called in Absentia. This must be a formal written request outlining the reason why you cannot be Called in person. Please contact us if you think you may need to be Called in Absentia.
 

Click here to apply for Michaelmas or Hilary Call.

Applications for the Michaelmas (November 2021) and Hilary Call (March 2022) are now open

The deadline to apply for Michaelmas Call (November 2021) is 1 August 2021 (extended from 25 July due to technical issue with the form).

The deadline to apply for Hilary Call (March 2022) is 10 October 2021.

If you currently have a pending Call application (having applied for July or October Call, DO NOT submit another application.  If you want to postpone your Call to November or March, please email calltothebar@middletemple.org.uk.

 

Information on Call Day & publication of Call lists

Call ceremony format

Since the pandemic began we have been conducting Call ceremonies online. In July 2021 we will have two online ceremonies and two in-person cermeonies.  Callees have been emailed further details.
 

Publication of Call lists

Please note that the names of all the students who are Called to the Bar (Callees) will be published in the Times, the Telegraph and the Independent newspapers after the date of Call.  The actual date of publication will vary depending on availability of space in the newspapers.  Full names are published in order of Call; grades are not included.  

Dress code for Callees

COVID-19 Update (11/12/20):  When ceremonies are conducted online the dress code for Callees is Business Suit (no wigs and gowns).  

If Call ceremonies are held in person:

You must attend the Call ceremony in court dress including wig, gown and bands.

In addition to the wig, gown and bands, Callees should wear;

  • a plain black (or very dark grey) suit. Your jacket must be buttoned up at the front (a double-breasted or three piece suit is traditionally worn by men).
  • a white wing-collared shirt (a collarette is acceptable for women) – google for pictures if you’re unsure what either of these are!
  • formal, black shoes.  Sandals and open-toe footwear are not appropriate. When choosing your footwear, do bear in mind that you will be standing for the length of the ceremony. 
  • hair tied back if it is below shoulder length 

Wig and gown hire

Unless you own a wig and gown you will need to hire them for the Call day from Ede & Ravenscroft (approx. £36).  It is your responsibility to book these and collect and return them.

You will need your Middle Temple membership card when you collect your items. If you don’t have one, email a photo of yourself and a copy of photo ID to education@middletemple.org.uk to request one.  Mention that you are being Called and indicate whether you’d like the card posting to you or you will collect it from the office.

Wing-collared shirts and collarettes

You will need to purchase either a wing-collared shirt or a collarette. A number of suppliers are listed below:

The first legal outfitter dedicated to courtwear for women, Ivy & Normanton was founded by a junior member of the bar

Guests

COVID-19 Update (11/12/20):  When ceremonies are conducted online Callees will be able to share a link with guests to watch the ceremony online.  Depending on numbers, we may need to limit the number of devices per Callee that can join to ensure that everyone can have some guests present.

If ceremonies are held in person and it is possible to accommodate guests under Covid-19 guidelines:

Guests are limited (usually to 2 per Callee) due to the capacity of Middle Temple Hall.  Attendance at the Call ceremony is free of charge.

If the ceremony is followed by a reception, Callees will be provided with details and invited to book tickets approximately 2 weeks beforehand.

Please contact Sally on s.yorke@middletemple.org.uk if any of your guests have any access requirements that you have not included on your application form.

Dress code for guests

The dress code for guests is ‘lounge suits’.  This means that guests should dress reasonably formally (for example a suit with a shirt and tie, or a dress or trousers/skirt with smart top). Guests are not obligated to wear dark colours or a white shirt; colours are fine.  National dress is also welcome.