The Middle Temple is one of the four Inns of Court in England. Only the Inns of Court may call members to the English Bar to practice as barristers. The name derives from the Knights Templar who owned the Temple site for 150 years. The Middle Temple has been a society of barristers since the middle of the fourteenth century. It was also a centre for legal education until 1852, when the Council of Legal Education was established.
A Master of the Bench or "Bencher" is a senior member of the Middle Temple. To recognise exceptional achievement, the Middle Temple also from time to time elects distinguished lawyers and eminent non-lawyers as Honorary Benchers.
The Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof André Boraine says that “this is an exceptional honour which has been bestowed on Judge Harms. He joins some of the greatest legal minds in history, such as William Blackstone, Edmund Plowden, former US Chief Justices John Rutledge, William Taft, Charles Evans, Warren Burger, William Rehnquist and John Roberts, former South African Prime Minister, Jan Smuts and South African Constitutional Court Justice, Edwin Cameron.”
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