Illustration of an early 19th-century English barrister
|Competencies||Advocacy and interpersonal skills, analytical mind, critical thinking, commercial sense|
|England and Wales:|
Ireland: Barrister-at-Law degree with pupillage
A barrister is a type of
Barristers are distinguished from
In a few jurisdictions, barristers are usually forbidden from "conducting" litigation, and can only act on the instructions of a solicitor, who performs tasks such as corresponding with parties and the court, and
In some countries with common law legal systems, such as
A barrister, who can be considered as a jurist, is a lawyer who represents a litigant as advocate before a court of appropriate jurisdiction. A barrister speaks in court and presents the case before a judge or jury. In some jurisdictions, a barrister receives additional training in evidence law, ethics, and court practice and procedure. In contrast, a solicitor generally meets with clients, does preparatory and administrative work and provides legal advice. In this role, he or she may draft and review legal documents, interact with the client as necessary, prepare evidence, and generally manage the day-to-day administration of a lawsuit. A solicitor can provide a crucial support role to a barrister when in court, such as managing large volumes of documents in the case or even negotiating a settlement outside the courtroom while the trial continues inside.
There are other essential differences. A barrister will usually have
Barristers usually have particular knowledge of case law, precedent, and the skills to "build" a case. When a solicitor in general practice is confronted with an unusual point of law, they may seek the "opinion of counsel" on the issue.
In most countries, barristers operate as sole practitioners, and are prohibited from forming partnerships or from working as a barrister as part of a corporation. (In 2009, the Clementi Report recommended the abolition of this restriction in England and Wales.) However, barristers normally band together into "
In contrast, solicitors and attorneys work directly with the clients and are responsible for engaging a barrister with the appropriate expertise for the case. Barristers generally have little or no direct contact with their 'lay clients', particularly without the presence or involvement of the solicitor. All correspondence, inquiries, invoices, and so on, will be addressed to the solicitor, who is primarily responsible for the barrister's fees.
In court, barristers are often visibly distinguished from solicitors by their apparel. For example, in Ireland, England, and Wales, a barrister usually wears a horsehair wig, stiff collar,
In many countries the traditional divisions between barristers and solicitors are breaking down. Barristers once enjoyed a monopoly on appearances before the higher courts, but in
Historically, barristers have had a major role in trial preparation, including drafting
Some benefits of maintaining the split include:
Some disadvantages of the split include:
A detailed examination of the justifications for a split legal profession and of the arguments in favour of a fused profession can be found in English solicitor Peter Reeve’s 1986 book, Are Two Legal Professions Necessary?