What is a Barrister?

Since the 13th century, barristers have been providing legal advice and representing people in court. Barristers are known for being able to offer high quality advocacy and advice.

Barristers are specialist legal advisers. They work independently and are trained in many areas of law so that they can advise clients on both the strengths and weaknesses of the case at hand. Due to barristers having expert knowledge on many subjects, their input can be very beneficial the outcome of a court case. A barrister’s knowledge can strengthen the case greatly, and any case put forward in a well-argued manner is known to impress the judge. The advocacy that a barrister can provide is likely to enhance the strong points of a case.

What kind of barrister is a QC?

There are a select number of senior barristers that have been recognised as having outstanding abilities. These barristers are made part of the Queen’s Counsel as to be recognised for their specialist skills. This particular type of barrister is usually only appointed for the most complex and serious court cases.

The Costs of a Barrister

Some people may qualify for legal aid, which is a financial scheme set up by the government to help certain people financially with court costs. If someone is eligible for legal aid, then the cost of a barrister may be covered. If someone is not eligible for legal aid, then a solicitor may be able to help appoint a barrister for a particular fee that is affordable. Or it may be possible that the barrister will only require payment if the case is successful.

In the magistrates’ court, no specific barrister can be appointed by a defendant. There will be a barrister that is paid a daily fee to attend the court and defend all the cases that for that day. A barrister will not wear a wig or gown in a magistrates’ court.

How to get in touch with a barrister

A barrister is usually appointed through a solicitor. The solicitor will be able to give advice on whether they believe it to be necessary to gain representation from a barrister. Solicitors and barristers work very closely together, so the solicitors are likely to know which the most suitable barrister will be for the case.

What’s the difference between a solicitor and a barrister?

Barristers can represent people in court in areas where solicitors cannot. In fact, solicitors are only really likely to represent people in a magistrates’ court. Barristers often have a specialist area of knowledge, which means that solicitors are often calling on them for legal advice.

Solicitors would usually appoint barristers, as they do not come into public as much as a solicitor. Only barristers have something called ‘rights of audience’, so if a solicitor is dealing with a case that would involve an audience, then a barrister would need to be appointed.

The hourly rate of a barrister is known as being less than that of a solicitor. This is because solicitors tend to operate in a firm, so money charged is to pay for the upkeep of the firm and administration costs. Barristers are self-employed and work within barrister chambers, so the amount that they are paid would go directly to them. Because of this, they are able to charge a lower rate.