What Is A Barrister?
Within the legal profession, you will find a diverse range of people with various jobs and job titles, including solicitor, lawyer and barrister. What is a barrister? In the law sphere, there are job titles, like those above, that confuse. People who work in the law are highly trained specialists, often with quite specific roles. There are two specialists, a barrister and a solicitor, whose functions can be confused. An analogy that can help in understanding the relationship between a solicitor and a barrister is to liken them to a General Practitioner (GP) – the solicitor and a specialist that the GP to which a GP will refer a patient.
What is the Difference Between A Lawyer, Barrister And Solicitor?
Both barristers and solicitors are lawyers or legal practitioners who work in law areas, but not all lawyers are barristers. So what is a lawyer, and what is the difference between a lawyer, barrister and solicitor?
Lawyer – A lawyer is a person who has studied law, finished practical legal training and been admitted to the broader legal profession. The word lawyer includes being a Barrister, Solicitor or Judge.
Barrister – a highly trained, independent, expert advocate law advisor who qualifies to appear in the courtroom, will provide alternative forms of dispute resolution and represent clients in commissions of enquiry. A barrister has completed the bar exam and been admitted to the bar. They represent individuals and businesses in Court. Barristers also act as arbitrators, mediators and conduct the process of dispute resolution. A barrister deals with more complex issues, and they tend to specialise in a particular area. For example, one might work in family law and another in criminal law.
Solicitor – Solicitors are lawyers or legal professionals who assist clients in daily legal matters and affairs. Solicitors are legal practitioners who will provide legal advice to clients in areas of law. The solicitor is the first-person people see who are seeking legal advice regarding drafting contracts, protecting intellectual property, and helping business. The majority of the solicitor’s time is spent out of Court working on preparatory matters to prepare litigation and conducting settlement negotiations on homes and businesses. A solicitor can become a barrister by completing and passing the exams and requirements for the law society in their state.
A barrister is a legal professional who works in areas of law that specialise in advocacy, whilst the word lawyer is a broader term that includes solicitors. Solicitors and barristers often work together as a solicitor will provide the briefs for the barrister’s work. A solicitor will instruct a barrister to appear in Court on behalf of a client as they cannot retain a barrister themselves. Barristers may also accept legal work from someone who is not a lawyer. If this occurs, it is known as direct access.
It is the role of a barrister and their duty to work independently to administer justice. There are a set of barrister rules that cover principals for professional conduct and their responsibility to act with honesty, fairness and bravely for their client. Barristers should do so irrespectively of their personal beliefs.
Self-employed – Barristers are generally self-employed specialists who work in chambers. A clerk or daily manager assists barristers in the chambers by managing their diary and their relationship with the solicitor.
Government Workers – Quite a few barristers work full-time for the government, including Crown prosecutors and public defenders. They have statutory independence, which means they can work for the government that is in power.
Senior Counsel (SC) – These barristers have demonstrated exceptional skills in their roles as advocates and advisers during the course of administering justice. The SC’s role is to work on the more complex cases and are also known as silks. Previously, they were known as QCs or Queens Counsel.
How To Become A Barrister?
You would like to try the profession of a barrister, so what do you need to do? Firstly, research and discover what the job entails. You need to consider if you have a desire to work to advocate for others and would like to do court work. Are you able to work independently for sustained periods to reach a high level of excellence? If these aspect of work appeal to you, then you should begin your journey by gaining a law degree at University. Gaining work experience with a law firm or a government agency is also advisable. In New South Wales, you then need to be:
a. Admitted as a lawyer in an Australian jurisdiction. In New South Wales, the admitting authority is the Professional Admissions Board.
b. Sit and pass the Bar Exam.
c. Finish the reading program, including acceptable participation in the Bar Practice Course and one year of readership under tutor supervision.
When people use the term lawyer, which is a general term used for a person who has a legal degree, they may be referring to either a solicitor or a barrister as both are lawyers. A solicitor provides general legal advice, while a barrister is often a specialist in a particular legal field.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What does advocacy mean?
This word means to represent a client and promote their interests. All lawyers do advocate for their clients, but advocacy mainly refers to representing a client in Court. To represent is the role of a barrister as barristers are experts in presenting legal arguments in a trial.
2. What is the difference between a barrister and a QC?
A QC is a barrister who has considerable experience and shows advanced skills. They have usually had some experience tutoring junior barristers. The term Senior Counsel is more commonly used now rather than Queen’s Counsel.NSW Swimming Pool Register – Google Docs
3. What is the meaning of being called to the bar?
Being called to the bar is a legal term where a person must be qualified to argue, on behalf of another party, in Court. If a solicitor wants to become a barrister, they must pass a series of exams, undertake specialised courses, and undertake a year of training.