It is a great pleasure to introduce this edition of the Middle Templar.
The picture which emerges from its pages is one of our Society returning to normal following a difficult period during the pandemic. From March 2020 onwards, the years of office of my three predecessors as Master Treasurer were blighted in varying degrees by Covid-19. This was a testing time, but it should be recorded that the Inn, its members, and staff showed great fortitude and enterprise in rising to the many challenges. Our Society has, of course, endured many plagues, pestilences, and disasters over the last 600 years or so. I am glad to be able to record that it has emerged from this latest trial in good heart. Working practices at the Bar have, of course, changed to an extent and there is undoubtedly a reduced footfall in the Temple. Nevertheless, although attendance at events in the Inn is not yet restored to pre-pandemic levels, it is making a strong recovery. In recent months, outstanding Treasurer’s Lectures by Master Andrew Burrows and Professor Catherine Barnard were particularly well attended both in person and online. In recent weeks it has been particularly pleasing to see so many members attending Bench Call, Private Guest Night, and Music Night. Many of those present spoke of a sense that things were getting back to normal.
The four Call ceremonies held at the end of July, in which 235 new barristers were Called to the Bar, also proved to be particularly happy events. On each occasion the Hall was packed with the families and friends of the callees. The atmosphere was one of great optimism as we welcomed a new generation of barristers and looked forward to their contribution to the profession and to the life of the Inn.
In recent weeks we have said farewell to one Under Treasurer and welcomed another. Guy Perricone retired from this office for the second time in July 2023. Over many years Guy has been a wise and resourceful friend to the Inn, and we all owe him a huge debt of gratitude. We look forward to enjoying his company in the Inn often, in his capacity as an Honorary Bencher. We welcome as Guy’s successor Sir Christopher Ghika KCVO CBE, who comes to the Inn after a career of over 30 years as a soldier, during which he served in Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Sierra Leone, Iraq, and Afghanistan. His last role before joining the Inn was in the Army’s Headquarters in London which planned the Defence contribution to one pandemic, one Platinum Jubilee, two royal funerals and one coronation. Christopher has already won many friends in the Inn as he familiarises himself with this new environment. We wish him every success and happiness in his new role.
In this Coronation Year, the Master Treasurers of the Honourable Societies of the Middle Temple and the Inner Temple have jointly presented a loyal address to His Majesty King Charles III in which they send His Majesty the warmest congratulations of their members on His Majesty’s Coronation.
As I write, arrangements are being finalised for the forthcoming Amity Visit by members of the Inn to Washington DC in September. This will be the Inn’s first Amity Visit abroad for a number of years. I am glad to report that there will be strong representation of members and guests from both sides of the Atlantic. In addition to a full conference programme with many distinguished speakers, the visit will include a reception at the British Embassy and a dinner at the US Supreme Court.
Back at home, this autumn will mark the 450th anniversary of the completion of the Middle Temple Hall. Not only is our Hall a magnificent architectural survival from the first Elizabethan age, but it also has many historic and literary resonances. It has long been known, from the diary of John Manningham, a young member of the Inn, that a performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night took place in our Hall on 2 February 1602, its first recorded performance. It is only recently that Professor Sir John Baker has discovered documentary evidence that Queen Elizabeth herself visited the Hall on 3 March 1578 (Sir John Baker, A Royal visit to the Temple in 1578, (2017) LQR 535). It seems that the Queen arrived unannounced with an entourage, having stayed overnight nearby at Leicester House in the Strand, and disturbed the barristers and students who were in the course of arguing one of the cases at the Reader’s reading. Although the Queen bade them continue so that she might see how it was done, they – perhaps understandably – panicked and ‘failed to observe the proper courtesies due to the sovereign’. It was, writes Sir John Baker, ‘a visit which cost the Inn nothing other than some embarrassment’.
The anniversary of the Hall’s completion will be marked by a series of events in the Hall. On Wednesday 4 October 2023 Master Nicholas Hytner and Professor Emma Smith, Professor of Shakespearean Studies at the University of Oxford, will hold a conversation which will take Twelfth Night as its starting point. On Monday 6 November 2023, Professor Sir John Baker will deliver a Treasurer’s Lecture on the Elizabethan Middle Temple and the Rule of Law. The celebration will culminate on Wednesday 8 November 2023 with a 450th Anniversary Dinner at which we hope to enjoy Elizabethan delicacies to the accompaniment of Elizabethan music.
My time as Master Treasurer has made me more aware than ever of the vital contribution made to the life of the Inn by its staff and members. We are privileged to have such loyal and devoted staff, and the Inn’s committee structure could not function without the dedication of members who are generous with their time. I extend to them all my warmest thanks for their support, for all they continue to do for the Inn and for making my time as Master Treasurer such a happy and fulfilling experience.
Master Lloyd-Jones was Called to the Bar in 1975. He was appointed a High Court Judge of the Queen’s Bench Division in October 2005. From 2008 to 2011 he was a Presiding Judge of Wales and Chair of the Lord Chancellor’s Standing Committee on the Welsh Language. In 2012, he was appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal and was Chairman of the Law Commission from 2012 to 2015. In 2017 he was appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court. On 17 August 2022, it was announced that he had been reappointed to the Supreme Court. He is Treasurer for 2023.