Lincoln's Inn

(Important in The Counterfeit Guest)

Lincoln’s Inn is one of the four ‘inns of court’ – the others being Gray’s Inn, the Middle Temple, and the Inner Temple – institutions dating from the late Middle Ages that came to regulate the practice of English law. The inns began as places of accommodation for practitioners and students, but they soon assumed an educational function, with the senior members – called Benchers – providing lectures and presiding at ‘moots’ and other exercises in which students demonstrated their knowledge of legal argumentation. By the eighteenth century this function had largely ceased, but the inns retained the authority to call students to the bar, thereby designating them barristers-at-law and permitting them to practice as advocates in the English common law courts. Every barrister, therefore, was a member of an inn, and in this period most London barristers would have had rooms there or nearby. Sir John Scott was a member of the Middle Temple, but in the 1790s he had rooms in Lincoln’s Inn.