Pictures emerge of proposed Lincoln’s Inn ‘education bunker’

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But no official comment on price tag or suggestions that inns are getting back into vocational training game


Only a few days remain to comment on proposals currently before London’s Camden Council that would launch a massive building programme at Lincoln’s Inn.

The council has set a deadline of 3 September for a consultation on plans to create an ambitious three-storey library and a subterranean education and training area at the historic inn.


Representations of how the development will take shape have appeared recently online. At the forefront above ground is a squat brick library and administration building. To make way for the addition, the existing under-treasurer’s house will be demolished.

The below ground centre piece is a proposed two-level subterranean training facility, the highlight of which will be a glass ceiling looking up to the existing East Terrace.

Indeed, the state-of-the-art education and training bunker has spawned the most interest, with sources close to the inn telling Legal Cheek that ultimate plans are even more ambitious.

It is understood that the development is likely to signal the return of the Inns of Court to the post-graduate vocational education market, as it will be home to a new Bar Professional Training Course.

But for the time being, inn officials are keeping their powder dry in relation to formal comment on that speculation. Previously the inn has stated that “the intended use of the proposed building is not as a law school but state of the art space to provide advocacy training to our student, pupil and barrister members”. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the inn yesterday said that the development “will significantly increase capacity at the library for our growing collection of legal texts and documents”.

Apparently, in an increasingly digital world, only the Inns of Court require more space for print publications.

The spokesman declined to reveal the budget for the project or details of how it is being funded. Work is scheduled to kick off next May, but officials will not comment on a timetable for completion.

The spokesman continued:

These essential improvement and development works will enhance the inn’s status as a place of training and education for barristers.

Which takes us on to the architects’ drawings themselves.


Most entertaining is the depiction of the anticipated appearance of the internal view of the East Terrace “educational suite” (pictured above).

Note the man and woman on the left. Clearly they can’t be barristers as the two are shaking hands, albeit, bizarrely, with left hands…


A new law school is being built in a bunker under Lincoln’s Inn to deliver a not-for-profit BPTC [Legal Cheek]


Not Amused

Absolutely hideous and inconceivable that any sane person would think it necessary.

I remember wandering with others around Oxbridge colleges and marvelling that any human being had ever thought that the grotesque 60s structures were a good thing. They blight both universities like a cancer, irreverently juxtaposed against older, better, buildings. Arrogantly pronouncing one moron’s view of what was ‘modern’ (and naturally therefore, instantly dated). This carbuncle is the same problem. It just proves that every form of human madness is merely fashion, set to repeat itself as the generations turn. It will not be longer before Lincoln’s echoes to cries of “who on earth decided to build that?”.

It also takes a particular form of arrogance to say ‘we have one perfectly good venue for advocacy training, so let’s waste tens of millions building another adequate space’.

If this is not for the BPTC, and it does look as though it isn’t, then all this amounts to is a colossal waste of cash by a supposed charity. A vanity project to deface an historic building. The idea that Camden Council provides any oversight is risible. The Inns belong to the nation and parliament should be held responsible for this farce.


Where did they wheel you in from?

I believe similar sentiments were expressed about the Louvre Pyramid. New doesn’t always mean bad.



1) the building has no architectural merit.
2) it will be next to buildings which arguably do.
3) it does not provide a necessary function (current advocacy training is undertaken at a suitable venue).
4) it will cost millions of pounds.
5) those millions of pounds will come from a purported charity.
6) that charity could instead spend the money on something … charitable.

You are entitled to your view that this is the Louvre pyramid of Lincoln’s Inn. I think you are odd, but if you volunteered to pay for the thing then perhaps we could agree to disagree.


Anti status quo ante

1) Yes it does
2) So?
3) Currently it is believed that it will house a not-for-profit BPTC, viz a necessary function.
4) Accept 3 and this is justified expenditure
5&6) Whilst it isn’t saving lives, it may well broaden the profession for those who cannot afford the BPTC as it stands. Is that not charitable?


Not Amused

“3) Currently it is believed that it will house a not-for-profit BPTC, viz a necessary function.”

Ahhh. I understand why you are being disingenuous now. I wish this were true, but it isn’t. The Inn even came on LC comments on the last story to expressly state it isn’t.

A not for profit BPTC is essential. I argue for it, I fully support it. But this building is not that (sadly).

Anti status quo ante


Yet the provision of state of the art facilities for advocacy education for all members of the inn is not to be sniffed at either. Presumably it will allow BPTC student members to develop necessary skills in a mould set by barristers, and not by private universities. Your third point previously assumed that unnecessary is synonymous with superfluous.

Insert this argument into point 3 and the rest still stands.

Not Amused

Sadly no. I don’t blame you for not knowing (although I do wish you weren’t so quick to assume I am ignorant), but the advocacy training they mean is that undertaken during pupillage. It is training provided by barristers now – and often by excellent ones who give up their time.

The training is currently residential and undertaken at a perfectly adequate site. There is no obvious reason for Lincoln’s Inn to spend millions of pounds building their own venue – indeed the other Inns are not wasting their money this way.

So nothing to do with the BPTC. No ‘extra’ training. Just moving the training from where it is now, to next to the hall. For no obvious or worthwhile reason. At the cost of millions. (and doing it in an unattractive way that will stand right next to important historic buildings forever …)


This is not true. The Inns all provide extra advocacy training to their student members as part of their qualifying sessions programme. At Lincoln’s this is mainly provided at it’s current conference rooms at 33 Chancery Lane, which are not adequate either in number or quality.

Not Amused

I see.

The argument remains that venues can be rented at a far cheaper cost. Perhaps by asking the other Inns where they use …

Stupid is as stupid does

You’re clearly ignorant when it comes to architecture

The local church hall then?

There are always cheaper places. If this caters to student needs and increases the scope for better, more frequent and fuller education, then it is to be encouraged.

Although it is not to be encouraged at the expense of encouraging using this space to house a not-for-profit BPTC. The Inns could really change the current system for the better with something like that.

Not Amused

This can be true. But there are always cheaper options than building a new venue, underground, in the middle of central London. Moreover, would you mind noticing that this is Lincoln’s on a frolic of its own? Where is the coordination with the other Inns? Where the plan?

Not for the first time I find myself musing on quite how our young people have become so conformist. This is supposed to be a charity. It is supposed to do good things with its money. Moreover it is precisely the young people who read this site who the money could have been better spent on.

Sometimes I have to go back and read my own arguments just to make sure I wasn’t unfairly vague. But there it is: “It also takes a particular form of arrogance to say ‘we have one perfectly good venue for advocacy training, so let’s waste tens of millions building another adequate space’.”

I simply don’t understand the rush to defend this thing. If it were a not for profit BPTC then I would be over the moon – but they have made it painfully clear that it is not. Do you not understand that a not for profit BPTC gets less likely the more money is wasted on vanity projects?

The harm to me is simply that Lincoln’s Inn will look stupid and be a bit poorer. No big shakes, I never cared for the neo-gothic monstrosity in any event and I don’t get any money from the Inn. The impact on young people is really far worse. But you all just go on telling me how this is the best thing since sliced bread …

The point

More space is needed for current advocacy training at the Inn. This is an investment to ensure the best delivery of that training going forwards. Whilst it is clear this is not a not-for-profit BPTC, it is equally unclear that this comes at the expense of one, or even that one would come out of the same pot of money at all given that nobody knows what form such a course might ever take and by whom it might be run.


New does not necessarily mean ‘bad’, however, it normally does follow.


Planning Lawyer

“The idea that Camden Council provides any oversight is risible. The Inns belong to the nation and parliament should be held responsible for this farce.”

Why is it risible? You seem to know little about the planning process if you think parliament is not involved, and that this process lacks oversight. The council is legally bound under statute (yes, created by Parliament) to make a decision in accordance with relevant planning policy (both local (made in accordance with national law and examined by independent inspectors governed by statutory procedures) and national, e.g. NPPF, set by Parliament), and the principles of planning law, set by Parliament. If it does not, then such decision is liable to challenge by way of judicial review in the court. Additionally, planning law is one of the most open and publicly accessible areas of law – there are law firms who do nothing but challenge planning permissions.


Not Amused

It is risible because:

1) Camden Council is one of the least competent councils in the country;
2) Camden Council is staffed by precisely the same people who would allow a 60s concrete monstrosity to be put in the middle of a college court; and
3) The Inn belongs to the nation and giving Camden council control over its destiny is undemocratic.

Dealing with an Inn of Court by specific act of parliament has long precedent and is usually the best thing to do. Parliament represents the nation – god knows what Camden Council represents.



No, the Inn belongs to its members. You really should get the basics right.



“god knows what Camden Council represents”

Camden, at a guess?



You nerd NA. I love some of the modernist buildings in Cam – St Johns’ 1st yr accommodation, Christs’ typewriter building, New Hall….


Former typewriter resident

You’re the first person to express a positive response to the monstrosity that is the Typewriter! Had an awful first year living in that building.



Speculation can now be ended…..NA is Prince Charles – I claim my prize



Will be good to see the BPTC taught by current barristers at the Inns, rather than academics and failed lawyers at Poly’s and profit driven organisations.



A waste of money and waste of a beautiful, existing under-treasurer’s house.

One day it will be realised that modernisation is not always the best move.



The Under-Treasurer’s House is a 1960s repro and has very little architectural merit. The interior is also now hopelessly outdated and, I am reliably informed, very uncomfortable to live in.



Indeed. It is perfectly clear that the current treasurer’s house is the kind of carbuncle that Not Amused so detests. If you read the 90-odd page study that accompanies the planning application, you would know that it was built on the cheap and with little thought given to materials.

The proposed extension to the library is to be welcomed in its place and will be a much more sympathetic building, which will lead to improved facilities for all members.


Not Amused

You do realise that LC published the pictures?



You do realise that there is much more to this project than some dodgy computer visualisations? I suggest you spend some time looking at the architect’s drawings, which are very informative.


To those who clearly haven’t bothered actually to look at the plans, yes Not Amused I mean you, the vast majority of this development will be underneath the East Terrace. There is no carbuncle involved and only one new building, which will have the same footprint as the building it will replace.

All the relevant conservation and interest bodies have been consulted and their comments taken into account. I have read the correspondence.

The development will also restore large parts of the original architects’ design and intention, including the entrance to the Great Hall.

It would help enormously if Legal Cheek would try to avoid deliberate clickbait articles.


Not Amused

I have read them.

My counter arguments are above.



It would help enormously if Legal Cheek would try to avoid deliberate clickbait articles.

That’s their raison d’etre.



No one cares what the building looks like. At least no one who is there to work. Why not use the Inns money to do something like this, take back BPTC training etc, rather than using their money to profit only bigwigs at places like ULaw and BPP, who clearly aren’t doing that good a job.



Clearly they can’t be barristers as the two are shaking hands, albeit, bizarrely, with left hands…

Perhaps they are Scouts.


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