The Library is primarily a reference library, so borrowing is restricted.  A lending service is available at Middle Temple Library, which permits barristers and students of any Inn, on production of suitable ID, to borrow current editions of textbooks that are not loose-leaf - but not any other material - half an hour before closing for return by half an hour after opening the following day.  Inner Temple offers a similar service for barrister members and tenants of Inner Temple, and barristers from chambers adjacent to the Inn.

Who may borrow

Only barristers who are members of the Inn or who have chambers in the Inn and their pupils may borrow.  

Overnight and weekend loans


Any item may be borrowed overnight or for the weekend, except for a few heavily used items from behind the enquiry desk that are marked “not for overnight loan”.  During our full hours, books may be taken after 6 pm and must be returned by 9.30 am the following day (or Monday if borrowed on a Friday).  Before 9 am, when the Library opens, books may be returned to the main gate.


If you plan to borrow over the weekend during term, first check the Inn libraries’ Saturday opening calendar (on the Opening Hours page).  When it is the turn of Lincoln’s Inn Library to be open – one Saturday in four – then borrowing is suspended on Friday evenings.  Books can be taken out on Saturday for the remainder of the weekend between 4.45 pm and 5 pm (when the Library closes).

Loans for photocopying

Photocopying of lengthy material from a single work that is still in copyright will almost certainly be illegal unless it is for the purposes of judicial proceedings.  If making the copies would not be a breach of copyright, then items may be borrowed for up to two hours for photocopying in chambers when the extent, in aggregate, exceeds 50 pages of copying (so usually for standard size books, 100 pages of text).

Long term loans

Materials other than those listed below may be borrowed up to one month, provided that photocopying from them would not be feasible.

Materials that may not be borrowed on long term loan are:

  • Law reports, journals, legislation, parliamentary papers and other serials.
  • Current English and European legal textbooks (ie those shelved in the Textbook Bay, behind the enquiry desk, in cases 46, 47, 48 and 56, and in Desks I and III).
  • Other legal textbooks published in the last ten years.
  • Dictionaries, directories and other reference works (ie cases 65, 73, 90-93, 171-2, and Desks VIIA and VIII).
  • Books from Desk XIV (the main collection of English legal history).

Books not lent at all

The Librarian has discretion to decline to lend, under any of the above categories of loan, rare books (which will usually mean all pre-1801 books) or books in poor condition.


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