Why are barristers ‘called to the bar’?

Barristers – a type of lawyer – are collectively known as 'the bar' and are called to the bar when they gain their title. So where does the phrase come from? BBC History Revealed explains

Barristers' wigs

It was during the 13th century that lawyers were first appointed to plead for a plaintiff in the King’s Courts. Then, on the fall of the Knights Templar in the 14th century, the lawyers moved into their London premises and the four great Inns of Court – Lincoln’s Inn, Gray’s Inn, Inner and Middle Temple – became the centre of the English legal system.

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Gradually, the profession grew in reputation and traditions set in. One of these involved the most highly qualified practitioners being ‘called’ to the highest place in the court room – a railing or bar separating officials from the public. The Inns of Court each had such a partition, which students symbolically crossed when they qualified, becoming ‘barristers’.

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This article was taken from BBC History Revealed magazine