What can the Midlands do for Middle Temple? What can Middle Temple for the Midlands? In one sense, giving positive responses to those questions informs the mission of the Middle Temple Midland Circuit Society (MTMCS). One answer, tangentially, might be found going back centuries, long before the Society’s founding five years ago. A Warwickshire lad, ‘done good’, had a certain play performed at Middle Temple Hall. John Manningham, a law student at Middle Temple noted that on the feast of Candlemas, Saturday 2 February 1602 a play called Twelfth Night or What You Will? was performed in Hall. It is the earliest mention of the play, which only came to be published in 1623, some seven years after the Bards death – 500 years ago.
My role as Secretary to the MTMCS borders on being a sinecure. Master Blondel Thompson enthusiastically chairs (having been handed the baton by our founding Chair, Master Michael Stephens) and we continue our regular meetings to foster the guiding aims of engaging our members across the Circuit by seeking to ensure they experience the fellowship and collegiality that exists in the Inn itself.
That very sense of collegiality is reflected in the fact that, happily, the committee is made up by members from all points on the Circuit’s compass. This in turn is manifested in a mixed programmes of events throughout the year that is held in different places and settings. Though committee meetings are not accompanied by cakes and ale, to borrow from another play, they do give attention to ensuring that our revels now are not ended. Accordingly, we are looking forward to our annual dinner once more in Birmingham in the Michaelmas term, after it went on tour previously to Nottingham.
What is an especial and welcome pleasure of these social gatherings is the opportunity they present to meet with students on Circuit and, in that context, the opportunity for a gradual assimilation of the benefits to be derived from being a Middle Templar. Where they can be complemented by a Qualifying Session that is done; where not, there is always the chance to engage with actual or prospective mentors. ‘It is said that a wise teacher learns in the midst of teaching; and that a wise student teaches in the midst of learning’. It is a two-way street and I feel sure that our meetings, both as a committee and socially, benefit from an appreciation of that truth.
In terms of other initiatives, one has been to produce and evolve a primer for Middle Templar on Circuit, emphasising the ways in which the Inn remains our professional home away from home. In order to demystify the benefits available to members at the Inn, we have put together a guide outlining the facilities on offer. This is to emphasise that out of London should not be place all that Domus has to offer out of mind. That is another two-way street.
Lastly, a warm mention for our judicial and chambers representatives. They have been consistently helpful in encouraging the attendance of our members of the Inn at the various functions. The committee once more extends its thanks and looks forward to their continued support.
Patrick Limb practises from Ropewalk Chambers, Nottingham where he was Head of Chambers from 2003 to 2009. He specialises in all aspects of disease and personal injury work and has served on the Committee of the Middle Temple Midlands Circuit Society since its founding.