Barristers are one of two types of lawyers used in many systems for different functions in the case law and courts arenas. The other designation of lawyer is a solicitor. Barristers’ roles prove to be one of simply representing clients as their personal advocate in the courts of the appropriate jurisdiction.
Barristers’ duties include actually speaking in court. Here, they present a case to a jury or a judge. They do not engage in preparation tasks such as advising a client, handling or accepting client instructions, reviewing or writing up legal documents, handling the daily administration of a case, or getting evidence ready for the court. These tasks are commonly handled by a solicitor when the two roles of attorneys are separated out. In this way, barristers function as the in court lawyer on behalf of the solicitor trial preparation lawyer.
Barristers enjoy unrestricted access and audience to the higher law courts. This stands in contrast to various other legal personnel, who are only allowed limited access to the courts after demonstrating appropriate qualifications. As such, barristers’ occupation has much in common with the duties of lawyers who argue trials before civil law courts.
Barristers have little or nothing at all to do with actual clients. The solicitor of a client acts as intermediary between the two parties, even engaging the barrister to argue a case. Any client correspondence would be addressed directly to a solicitor, and not a barrister. Solicitors generally handle the barristers’ fees and provide barristers with their instructions for actually arguing the case on behalf of the client.
Generally, barristers work as individual sole proprietors, as they are restricted from forming corporations or partnerships. Barristers are able to form chambers where they share office expenses and the use of clerks. There are chambers that have evolved into sophisticated and big operations that feel like corporations.
Barristers are useful for their highly specialized understanding of precedent and case laws. Generally practicing solicitors will often seek out a barrister’s professional opinion when they encounter a rare or atypical section of law. Some countries permit barristers to be engaged by corporations, banks, or solicitor firms as legal advisers.
The long held traditional division between the roles of barristers and solicitors is gradually breaking down in numerous countries. In the British Isles for example, barristers long enjoyed their unique right to make appearances in the higher courts. Nowadays, solicitors are allowed to argue directly on behalf of clients in trial.
Solicitor firms are more commonly keeping the more difficult litigation tasks within their own companies anymore. Barristers are also allowed to deal with members of the public directly now, yet many still do not. This results from their narrow training pertaining to arguing before the courts that does not qualify them to offer legal advice to everyday individuals.
Barristers still argue cases on behalf of solicitors and their clients. These days, they no longer play a significant role in getting a trial ready. Barristers are mostly given briefs from solicitors that they will argue either one or several days in advance of a hearing.