Bencher

A bencher or Master of the Bench is a senior member of an Inn of Court in England and Wales or the Inns of Court in Northern Ireland, or the Honorable Society of King's Inns in Ireland. Benchers hold office for life once elected. A bencher can be elected while still a barrister (usually, but not always, Queen's Counsel in the UK or Senior Counsel in Ireland), in recognition of the contribution that the barrister has made to the life of the Inn or to the law. Others become benchers as a matter of course when appointed as a High Court judge. The Inn may elect non-members as honorary benchers for example, distinguished judges and lawyers from other countries, eminent non-lawyers or (in the English Inns) members of the British Royal Family, who become known as "Royal Benchers" once elected.

Combined arms of the four Inns of Court. Clockwise from top left: Lincoln's Inn, Middle Temple, Gray's Inn, Inner Temple.

One member of each Inn is the Treasurer, a position which is held for one year only. While succession to the post of Treasurer was once dependent purely on seniority, this is no longer the case. The Treasurer is now elected. Two Readers are also elected each year.