DPhil student Christian Bale named 2023 Temple Bar Scholar

Christian Bale, a part-time DPhil student, currently researching Legal History under the supervision of Dr Paul Yowell was recently named a 2023 Temple Bar Scholar.

Christian Bale

This achievement comes after Christian applied for a Temple Bar Scholarship to tour ‘Legal London’ to learn more about the four historic Inns of Court. Christian reflects, highlighting that the opportunity offered a ‘backstage pass’ into the very highest levels of the British bar and bench. 

The scholarship consisted of 4 weeks starting at Westminster Abbey to celebrate the official opening of the year. Within Christian’s first week, he had an introductory crash course in English Law from preeminent lawyers and jurists. He met the presidents of the Bar Council, the Law Society of England and Wales, the Chancellor of the High Court, the Master of the Rolls (President of the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal), the President of the Supreme Court, and, just a day after her historic swearing in as the first woman to lead the judiciary, the Lady Chief Justice of England and Wales. 

Throughout the following 2 weeks of the programme Christian was in the barristers’ chambers for week-long mini-pupillages. He worked at Fountain Court and Brick Court, two of the preeminent Magic Circle chambers. Shadowing the barristers helped enrich Christian’s experience, exposing him to commercial and public law matters. During his third week, he visited Justice Robin Knowles, a commercial judge on the High Court, to sit in with him for the start of a high-profile civil trial involving a conspiracy to bribe senior Mozambican government officials.  

Over the 4 weeks, Christian sat in on oral arguments, discussed cases with the justices, participated in meetings to determine which cases to hear on appeal, and attended Lord Hodge’s “hand down” of judgments. A key highlight that remains prominent in Christian’s mind is the dinner, hosted by the justices, marking the end of an extraordinary experience.  

When the programme ended, Christian accepted an invitation from Constance Whippman, the former head of chambers of 33 Bedford Row, to continue his stay in London. Constance arranged for him to shadow a colleague while conducting interviews.  

“I had no idea just how special the Temple Bar Scholarship was when I submitted my application. My hope is that this write-up encourages prospective applicants to apply and expresses my sincere gratitude to the sponsors of the Temple Bar Scholarship—the American Inns of Court and the Commercial Bar Association—and to our gracious British hosts, for the experience of a lifetime.” 

Christian is very thankful to Cindy Dennis for cultivating the relationships that made the Temple Bar Scholarship so rich, and for arranging the innumerable events that filled the four weeks in London.  

Temple Bar scholars with UK Supreme Court justices