Time called on 18-meal requirement

The dinner bell is tolling for the 400-year-old tradition that requires would-be barristers to attend 18 meals before they can join the Bar.

The Inns of Courts are to reduce the number of compulsory dinners from 18 to 12 and students can fulfil their requirements by involving themselves in other educational or social activities away from the dining table.

Under the new rules, attendance at training sessions organised by the Inns will count as attending a "dinner".

Ironically, Inns of Court School of Law research has shown that trainee barristers strongly support the traditional dinners.

But the costs of travelling to and from the dinners for students on vocational courses located away from the Inns is behind the move.