Barrister

Barrister

Overview
A barrister is a member of one of the two classes of lawyer
Lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

 found in many common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

 jurisdictions with split legal professions. Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy, drafting legal pleading
Pleading
In law as practiced in countries that follow the English models, a pleading is a formal written statement filed with a court by parties in a civil action, other than a motion...

s and giving expert legal opinions. They can be contrasted with solicitor
Solicitor
Solicitors are lawyers who traditionally deal with any legal matter including conducting proceedings in courts. In the United Kingdom, a few Australian states and the Republic of Ireland, the legal profession is split between solicitors and barristers , and a lawyer will usually only hold one title...

s — the other class of lawyer in split professions — who have more direct access with clients, and may do transactional-type legal work. Barristers are rarely hired by clients directly but instead are retained (or instructed) by solicitors to act on behalf of clients.

The historical difference between the two professions—and the only essential difference in England and Wales
England and Wales
England and Wales is a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. It consists of England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom...

 today — is that a solicitor is an attorney
Attorney at law
An attorney at law in the United States is a practitioner in a court of law who is legally qualified to prosecute and defend actions in such court on the retainer of clients. Alternative terms include counselor and lawyer...

, which means they can act in the place of their client for legal purposes (as in signing contracts) and may conduct litigation
Lawsuit
A lawsuit or "suit in law" is a civil action brought in a court of law in which a plaintiff, a party who claims to have incurred loss as a result of a defendant's actions, demands a legal or equitable remedy. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint...

 on their behalf by making applications to the court, writing letters in litigation to the client's opponent and so on.
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Encyclopedia
A barrister is a member of one of the two classes of lawyer
Lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

 found in many common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

 jurisdictions with split legal professions. Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy, drafting legal pleading
Pleading
In law as practiced in countries that follow the English models, a pleading is a formal written statement filed with a court by parties in a civil action, other than a motion...

s and giving expert legal opinions. They can be contrasted with solicitor
Solicitor
Solicitors are lawyers who traditionally deal with any legal matter including conducting proceedings in courts. In the United Kingdom, a few Australian states and the Republic of Ireland, the legal profession is split between solicitors and barristers , and a lawyer will usually only hold one title...

s — the other class of lawyer in split professions — who have more direct access with clients, and may do transactional-type legal work. Barristers are rarely hired by clients directly but instead are retained (or instructed) by solicitors to act on behalf of clients.

The historical difference between the two professions—and the only essential difference in England and Wales
England and Wales
England and Wales is a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. It consists of England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom...

 today — is that a solicitor is an attorney
Attorney at law
An attorney at law in the United States is a practitioner in a court of law who is legally qualified to prosecute and defend actions in such court on the retainer of clients. Alternative terms include counselor and lawyer...

, which means they can act in the place of their client for legal purposes (as in signing contracts) and may conduct litigation
Lawsuit
A lawsuit or "suit in law" is a civil action brought in a court of law in which a plaintiff, a party who claims to have incurred loss as a result of a defendant's actions, demands a legal or equitable remedy. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint...

 on their behalf by making applications to the court, writing letters in litigation to the client's opponent and so on. A barrister is not an attorney and is usually forbidden, either by law or professional rules or both, from "conducting" litigation. This means that while the barrister speaks on the client's behalf in court, he or she can do so only when instructed by a solicitor or certain other qualified professional clients, such as patent agents.

Many countries with common law legal systems, such as the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, do not observe a distinction between barristers and solicitors. In countries with civil law
Civil law (legal system)
Civil law is a legal system inspired by Roman law and whose primary feature is that laws are codified into collections, as compared to common law systems that gives great precedential weight to common law on the principle that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different...

 or other kinds of legal systems the legal profession is often separated into divisions but these divisions rarely shadow those of barristers and solicitors.

Differences



Essentially, barristers are the lawyers who represent litigants as their advocate
Advocate
An advocate is a term for a professional lawyer used in several different legal systems. These include Scotland, South Africa, India, Scandinavian jurisdictions, Israel, and the British Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man...

 before the courts of that jurisdiction
Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction is the practical authority granted to a formally constituted legal body or to a political leader to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined area of responsibility...

. They speak in court and present the case before a judge or jury. In some jurisdictions they undertake additional training in order to hone their skills with evidence law, ethics, and court practice and procedure. In contrast, solicitors generally engage in preparatory work and advice, such as drafting and reviewing legal documents, dealing with and receiving instructions from the client, preparing evidence, and managing the day-to-day administration of a matter. Solicitors can provide a crucial support role to a barrister when in court, be it in managing large volumes of documents in the case or even negotiating settlements outside the courtroom while the trial continues inside.

Other differences include the following:
  • A barrister will usually have rights of audience in the higher courts, whereas other legal professionals will often have more limited access, or will need to take additional qualifications to do so. In this regard, the profession of barrister corresponds to that part of the role of legal professionals found in civil law
    Civil law (legal system)
    Civil law is a legal system inspired by Roman law and whose primary feature is that laws are codified into collections, as compared to common law systems that gives great precedential weight to common law on the principle that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different...

     jurisdictions relating to appearing in trial
    Trial
    A trial is, in the most general sense, a test, usually a test to see whether something does or does not meet a given standard.It may refer to:*Trial , the presentation of information in a formal setting, usually a court...

    s or pleading cases before the courts.
  • Barristers usually have particular knowledge of case law, precedent and the skill of 'building' a case. When a solicitor in general practice is confronted with an unusual point of law, they sometimes seek the "opinion of counsel" on the issue.
  • In most countries, barristers operate as sole practitioners, and are prohibited from forming partnership
    Partnership
    A partnership is an arrangement where parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests.Since humans are social beings, partnerships between individuals, businesses, interest-based organizations, schools, governments, and varied combinations thereof, have always been and remain commonplace...

    s or working as a barrister as part of a corporation (although in England and Wales
    English law
    English law is the legal system of England and Wales, and is the basis of common law legal systems used in most Commonwealth countries and the United States except Louisiana...

     the Clementi report has recommended the abolition of this restriction). However, barristers normally band together into 'chambers' to share clerks (administrators) and operating expenses. Some chambers grow to be large and sophisticated, and have a distinctly corporate feel. In some jurisdictions, some barristers are employed by firms of solicitors, banks or corporations as in-house legal advisers.
  • Solicitors work directly with the client and are responsible for engaging an appropriate barrister; whereas 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, barristers usually wear a horsehair wig, stiff collar, bands and a gown. As of January 2008 Solicitor advocates have also been entitled to wear a wig, but will wear a different gown.


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 England, Wales and Scotland this has now been abolished, and solicitor advocate
Solicitor Advocate
Solicitor advocate is the title used by a solicitor who is qualified to represent clients as an advocate in the higher courts in England and Wales or in Scotland.-Origin:...

s can generally appear for clients at trial. Increasingly, firms of solicitors
Law firm
A law firm is a business entity formed by one or more lawyers to engage in the practice of law. The primary service rendered by a law firm is to advise clients about their legal rights and responsibilities, and to represent clients in civil or criminal cases, business transactions, and other...

 are keeping even the most advanced advisory and litigation work in-house for economic and client relationship reasons. Similarly, the prohibition on barristers taking instructions directly from the public has also been widely abolished, but in practice, direct instruction is still a rarity in most jurisdictions, partly because barristers with narrow specialisations or who are only really trained for advocacy are not equipped to provide general advice to members of the public.

Historically barristers have had a major role in trial preparation, including drafting pleading
Pleading
In law as practiced in countries that follow the English models, a pleading is a formal written statement filed with a court by parties in a civil action, other than a motion...

s and reviewing evidence. In some areas of law, that is still the case. In others, it is relatively common for a barrister to only receive a "brief" from an instructing solicitor to represent a client at trial a day or two before the hearing.

Justification for a split profession


The reasons for a split profession are largely historical, but a number of reasons are still advanced for maintaining the split:
  • Having an independent barrister reviewing a course of action gives the client a fresh and independent opinion from an expert in the field, something it is alleged rarely happens in jurisdictions with fused professions. However attorneys in a "fused" profession often serve differing roles for the same client, for example as in-house counsel and outside counsel.
  • In many jurisdictions, judges are appointed from the bar; and because barristers are independent, this results in a more independent judiciary.
  • Having recourse to all of the specialist barristers at the bar enables smaller firms, who could not maintain large specialist departments, to compete with larger firms.
  • A barrister acts as a check on the solicitor conducting the trial; if it becomes apparent that the claim or defence has not been properly conducted by the solicitor prior to trial, the barrister can (and usually has a duty to) advise the client of a separate possible claim against the solicitor.
  • Having trials conducted by experienced specialist advocates makes for smoother, more professionally run trials.


Against the above, a number of disadvantages are put forward:
  • A multiplicity of legal advisers leads to higher costs (something that caused no small amount of concern to Sir David Clementi
    David Clementi
    Sir David Cecil Clementi is a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England. Clementi also holds positions on the boards of several large corporations, including Chairman of Prudential plc, one of Britain's largest insurance companies, and is a non-executive director on the board of governors of...

     in his review of the English legal profession).
  • As barristers are dependent upon solicitors for referrals of work, it is open to question how willing barristers are to criticise those who instruct them to the client.
  • Barristers are sometimes criticised for being "over-specialised" and not having sufficient general expertise outside of what can be highly specialised fields.


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?

Regulation


Barristers are regulated by the Bar
Bar association
A bar association is a professional body of lawyers. Some bar associations are responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in their jurisdiction; others are professional organizations dedicated to serving their members; in many cases, they are both...

 for the jurisdiction where they practise, and in some countries, by the Inn of Court
Inns of Court
The Inns of Court in London are the professional associations for barristers in England and Wales. All such barristers must belong to one such association. They have supervisory and disciplinary functions over their members. The Inns also provide libraries, dining facilities and professional...

 to which they belong. In some countries, there is external regulation.

Inns of Court, where they exist, regulate admission to the profession. Inns of Court are independent societies that are titularly responsible for the training, admission (calling), and discipline of barristers. Where they exist, a person may only be called to the Bar by an Inn, of which they must first be a member. In fact, historically, call to and success at the Bar, to a large degree, depended upon social connections made early in life.

A Bar collectively describes all members of the profession of barrister within a given jurisdiction. While as a minimum the Bar is an association embracing all its members, it is usually the case, either de facto or de jure, that the Bar is invested with regulatory powers over the manner in which barristers practice.

Barristers around the world


In the common law tradition, the respective roles of a lawyer—that is as legal adviser and advocate—were formally split into two separate, regulated sub-professions, the other being the office of solicitor. Historically, the distinction was absolute, but in the modern legal age, some countries that had a split legal profession now have a fused profession
Fused profession
Fused profession is a term relating to jurisdictions where the legal profession is not divided between barristers and solicitors.It is generally used in the context of Commonwealth countries which have provided by statute for there to be a single profession of "Barrister and Solicitor".In practice,...

—anyone entitled to practice as a barrister may also practice as a solicitor, and vice versa. In practice, the distinction may be non-existent, minor, or marked, depending on the jurisdiction. In some jurisdictions, such Australia, Scotland and Ireland, there is little overlap.

Australia


In the Australian states of New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

 and Queensland
Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

 there is a split profession. Nevertheless, subject to conditions, barristers can accept direct access work from clients. Each state Bar Association regulates the profession and essentially has the functions of the English Inns of Court. In the states of South Australia
South Australia
South Australia is a state of Australia in the southern central part of the country. It covers some of the most arid parts of the continent; with a total land area of , it is the fourth largest of Australia's six states and two territories.South Australia shares borders with all of the mainland...

, Victoria
Victoria (Australia)
Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....

 and Western Australia
Western Australia
Western Australia is a state of Australia, occupying the entire western third of the Australian continent. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Great Australian Bight and Indian Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east and South Australia to the south-east...

, as well as the Australian Capital Territory
Australian Capital Territory
The Australian Capital Territory, often abbreviated ACT, is the capital territory of the Commonwealth of Australia and is the smallest self-governing internal territory...

, the professions of barrister and solicitor are fused, but nonetheless an independent bar exists, regulated by the Legal Practice Board of the state or territory. In the state of Tasmania
Tasmania
Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania—the 26th largest island in the world—and the surrounding islands. The state has a population of 507,626 , of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart...

 the profession is fused, although a very small number of practitioners operate as an independent bar.

Generally counsel dress in the traditional English manner (wig, gown and jabot
Jabot (neckwear)
Jabot |bird's crop]]); alternatively a bird's croup or craw. Originally the term jabot referred to the frilling or ruffles decorating the front of a shirt...

) before superior courts, although they no longer robe for appearances in lower jurisdictions. Wigs are no longer worn in the highest civil court in New South Wales, the Court of Appeal. Wigs are still worn in the Supreme Court, while only robes without wigs are worn in the District Courts in civil matters. Robes and wigs are worn in all criminal cases.

Each year the Bar Association appoints certain barristers of seniority and eminence to the rank of "Senior Counsel" (in New South Wales) or "Queen's Counsel" (in the Northern Territory). Such barristers carry the title "SC" or "QC" after their name. The appointments are made after a process of consultation with members of the profession and the judiciary. Senior Counsel appear in particularly complex or difficult cases. They make up about 14 per cent of the bar in New South Wales.

Canada


In Canada (except Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

), the professions of barrister and solicitor are fused, and many lawyers refer to themselves with both names, even if they do not practice in both areas. In colloquial parlance within the Canadian legal profession, lawyers often term themselves as "litigators" (or "barristers"), or as "solicitors", depending on the nature of their law practice though some may in effect practice as both litigators and solicitors. However, "litigators" would generally perform all litigation functions traditionally performed by barristers and solicitors; in contrast, those terming themselves "solicitors" would generally limit themselves to legal work not involving practice before the courts (not even in a preparatory manner as performed by solicitors in England), though some might practise before chambers judges.

The situation is somewhat different in Quebec as a result of its civil law
Civil law (legal system)
Civil law is a legal system inspired by Roman law and whose primary feature is that laws are codified into collections, as compared to common law systems that gives great precedential weight to common law on the principle that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different...

 tradition. The profession of solicitor, or avoué, never took hold in colonial Quebec, so attorneys (avocats) have traditionally been a fused profession, arguing and preparing cases in contentious matters, whereas Quebec's other type of lawyer, civil-law notaries
Civil law notary
Civil-law notaries, or Latin notaries, are lawyers of noncontentious private civil law who draft, take, and record legal instruments for private parties, provide legal advice and give attendance in person, and are vested as public officers with the authentication power of the State...

 (notaires), handle out-of-court non-contentious matters. However, a number of areas of non-contentious private law
Private law
Private law is that part of a civil law legal system which is part of the jus commune that involves relationships between individuals, such as the law of contracts or torts, as it is called in the common law, and the law of obligations as it is called in civilian legal systems...

 are not monopolized by notaries so that attorneys often specialise in handling either trials, cases, advising, or non-trial matters. The only disadvantage is that attorneys cannot draw up public instruments that have the same force of law as notarial acts
Act (document)
An act is an instrument that records a fact or something that has been said, done, or agreed. Acts generally take the form of legal instruments of writing that have probative value and executory force...

. Most large law firms in Quebec offer the full range of legal services of law firms in common-law provinces. Intending Quebec attorneys must earn a Bachelor's degree in civil law, pass the provincial bar examination, and successfully complete a legal internship to be admitted to practice. Attorneys are regulated by the Quebec Law Society (Barreau du Québec).

England and Wales




Although England and Wales
England and Wales
England and Wales is a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. It consists of England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom...

 are separate in some aspects of the political structure of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, they compose a single legal jurisdiction. Accordingly, they are served by a single bar.

The profession of barrister in England and Wales is a separate profession from that of solicitor. It is, however, possible to hold the qualification of both barrister and solicitor at the same time. It is not necessary to leave the bar to qualify as a solicitor.

Barristers are regulated by the Bar Standards Board, a division of the General Council of the Bar. A barrister must be a member of one of the Inns of Court
Inns of Court
The Inns of Court in London are the professional associations for barristers in England and Wales. All such barristers must belong to one such association. They have supervisory and disciplinary functions over their members. The Inns also provide libraries, dining facilities and professional...

, which traditionally educated and regulated barristers. There are four Inns of Court: The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn
Gray's Inn
The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn, commonly known as Gray's Inn, is one of the four Inns of Court in London. To be called to the Bar and practise as a barrister in England and Wales, an individual must belong to one of these Inns...

, The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn
Lincoln's Inn
The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn is one of four Inns of Court in London to which barristers of England and Wales belong and where they are called to the Bar. The other three are Middle Temple, Inner Temple and Gray's Inn. Although Lincoln's Inn is able to trace its official records beyond...

, The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple
Middle Temple
The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, commonly known as Middle Temple, is one of the four Inns of Court exclusively entitled to call their members to the English Bar as barristers; the others being the Inner Temple, Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn...

, and The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple
Inner Temple
The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, commonly known as Inner Temple, is one of the four Inns of Court in London. To be called to the Bar and practise as a barrister in England and Wales, an individual must belong to one of these Inns...

. All are situated in central London, near the Royal Courts of Justice
Royal Courts of Justice
The Royal Courts of Justice, commonly called the Law Courts, is the building in London which houses the Court of Appeal of England and Wales and the High Court of Justice of England and Wales...

. They perform scholastic and social roles, and in all cases, provide financial aid to student barristers (subject to merit) through scholarships. It is the Inns that actually "call" the student to the Bar at a ceremony similar to a graduation. Social functions include dining with other members and guests and hosting other events.

Student barristers must take a Bar Professional Training Course
Bar Professional Training Course
The Bar Professional Training Course is a graduate course that is completed by those wishing to be called to the Bar, i.e. to practise as a barrister in England and Wales...

 (BPTC - previously Bar Vocational Course or BVC) (usually one year full-time) at one of the institutions authorised by the Bar Council to offer the BPTC. On successful completion of the BPTC student barristers are "called" to the bar by their respective inns and are elevated to the degree of "Barrister". However, before they can practise independently they must first undertake 12 months of pupillage
Pupillage
A pupillage, in England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland, is the barrister's equivalent of the training contract that a solicitor undertakes...

. The first six months of this period is spent shadowing more senior practitioners, after which pupil barristers may begin to undertake some court work of their own. Following successful completion of this stage, most barristers then join a set of Chambers, a group of counsel who share the costs of premises and support staff whilst remaining individually self-employed.

In December 2004 there were just over 11,500 barristers in independent practice, of whom about ten percent are Queen's Counsel
Queen's Counsel
Queen's Counsel , known as King's Counsel during the reign of a male sovereign, are lawyers appointed by letters patent to be one of Her [or His] Majesty's Counsel learned in the law...

 and the remainder are junior barrister
Junior barrister
A junior barrister is a barrister who has not yet attained the rank of Queen's Counsel. Although the term is archaic and not commonly used, junior barristers can also be referred to as utter barristers derived from "outer barristers" or barristers of the outer bar, in distinction to Queen's...

s. Many barristers (about 2,800) are employed in companies as 'in-house' counsel, or by local or national government or in academic institutions.

Certain barristers in England and Wales are now instructed directly by members of the public. Members of the public may engage the services of the barrister directly; a solicitor is not involved at any stage. Barristers undertaking public access work can provide legal advice and representation in court in almost all areas of law (see the Public Access Information on the Bar Council website) and are entitled to represent clients in any court or tribunal in England and Wales. Once instructions from a client are accepted, it is the barrister (rather than the solicitor) who advises and guides the client through the relevant legal procedure or litigation.

Before a barrister can undertake Public Access work, he must have completed a special course. At present, about 1 in 20 barristers have so qualified. There is also a separate scheme called 'Licensed Access', available to certain nominated classes of professional client; it is not open to the general public.

The ability of barristers to accept such instructions is a recent development; it results from a change in the rules set down by the General Council of the Bar in July 2004. The Public Access Scheme has been introduced as part of the drive to open up the legal system to the public and to make it easier and cheaper to obtain access to legal advice. It further reduces the distinction between solicitors and barristers. The distinction remains however because there are certain aspects of a solicitor's role that a barrister is not able to undertake.

France


In France, avocats, or attorneys, were, until the 20th century, the equivalent of barristers. The profession included several grades ranked by seniority: stagiaire (pupil, student-at-law), plaignant (junior barrister), and consultant (senior barrister). Since the 14th century and during the course of the 19th in particular, French barristers competed in territorial battles over respective areas of legal practice against the conseil juridique (chamber-counselor) and avoué (solicitor), and expanded to become the generalist legal practitioner. After the 1971 and 1990 legal reforms, the avocat was fused with the solicitor and chamber-counselor, making the avocat (or, if female, avocate) an all-purpose lawyer for matters of contentious jurisdiction, analogous to an American attorney. French attorneys may specialize as litigators (trial lawyers) and legal consultants (advising lawyers), known respectively as avocat plaidant and avocat-conseil. All intending attorneys must pass a legal practice examination and two-year traineeship to be admitted to general practice and enrolled, but to have rights of audience at a given court, an attorney must join that court's bar (barreau) by passing its specific bar examination. Each bar is regulated by a Bar Council (Ordre du barreau).

Germany


In Germany, lawyers may only plead at the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) if they are admitted to that court. Fewer than 50 lawyers are admitted to the Bundesgerichtshof; those lawyers may not plead at other courts, in practice deal only with litigation, and are usually instructed by a lawyer who represented the client in the lower courts. However, these restrictions do not apply to criminal cases, nor to pleadings at courts of the other court systems (labour, administrative, taxation, and social courts, as well as the EU court system).

Hong Kong



The legal profession in Hong Kong is also divided into two branches: barristers (where the Cantonese
Cantonese
Cantonese is a dialect spoken primarily in south China.Cantonese may also refer to:* Yue Chinese, the Chinese language that includes Cantonese* Cantonese cuisine, the cuisine of Guangdong province...

 name daai lut si, is also used) and solicitors (where the Cantonese name lut si, is also used).

In the High Court
High Court (Hong Kong)
The High Court in Hong Kong consists of the Court of Appeal and the Court of First Instance. It deals with criminal and civil cases which have risen beyond the lower courts. It was named the Supreme Court before 1997.- High Court Building :...

 and the Court of Final Appeal, only barristers are allowed to speak on behalf of any party, which means that solicitors are restricted from doing so. In these two courts, Barristers dress in the traditional English manner, as do the judges and other lawyers.

In Hong Kong, the rank of Queen's Counsel was granted prior to the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong to China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 in 1997. After the handover to China, the rank has been replaced by Senior Counsel
Senior Counsel
The title of Senior Counsel or State Counsel is given to a senior barrister or advocate in some countries, typically equivalent to the title "Queen's Counsel" used in Commonwealth Realms...

 (postnominal
Post-nominal letters
Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles or designatory letters, are letters placed after the name of a person to indicate that the individual holds a position, educational degree, accreditation, office, or honour. An individual may use several different sets of...

 SC). Senior Counsel may still, however, style themselves as silks, like their British counterparts.

Ireland


In the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

, admission to the Bar by the Chief Justice of Ireland is restricted to those on whom a Barrister-at-Law degree (B.L.) has first been conferred. The Honorable Society of King's Inns
King's Inns
The Honorable Society of King's Inns , is the institution which controls the entry of barristers-at-law into the justice system of Ireland...

 is the only educational establishment with runs vocational courses for barristers in the Republic and degrees of Barrister-at-Law can only be conferred by King's Inns. King's Inns are also the only body with the capacity to call individuals to the bar and to disbar them.

Most Irish barristers choose to be governed thereafter by the Bar Council of Ireland
Bar Council of Ireland
The Bar Council of Ireland is the regulatory and representative body for barristers practising law in the Republic of Ireland. The Council is composed of twenty-five members composed of twenty elected members, four co-opted members and Attorney-General who holds office ex officio. The elected...

, a quasi-private entity. Senior members of the profession may be selected for elevation to the Inner Bar, when they may describe themselves as Senior Counsel ("S.C."). Admission to the Inner Bar is made by declaration before the Supreme Court, patents of precedence
Patent of precedence
A patent of precedence is a grant to an individual by letters patent of a higher social or professional position than the precedence to which his ordinary rank entitles him.-Historical user in the English legal profession:...

 having been granted by the Government. Irish barristers are sole practitioners and may not form chambers or partnerships if they wish to remain members of the Bar Council's Law Library.

To practise under the Bar Council of Ireland's rules, a newly qualified barrister is apprenticed to an experienced barrister of at least seven years' experience. This apprenticeship is known as pupillage
Pupillage
A pupillage, in England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland, is the barrister's equivalent of the training contract that a solicitor undertakes...

 or devilling
Devilling
Devilling is the period of training, pupillage or junior work undertaken by a person wishing to become an advocate in one of the legal systems of the United Kingdom or Ireland.-Scotland:...

. Devilling is compulsory for those barristers who wish to be members of the Law Library and lasts for one legal year. It is common to devil for a second year in a less formal arrangement but this is not compulsory.

In February 2007, the Irish Government's Better Regulation Unit (a branch of the Department of the Taoiseach
Department of the Taoiseach
The Department of the Taoiseach is the government department of the Taoiseach of Ireland. It is based in Government Buildings, the headquarters of the Government of Ireland, on Merrion Street in Dublin....

) found that there was no statutory basis for the Bar Council of Ireland's setting and enforcing of professional standards for Irish barristers.

Japan


Legal professionals in Japan are mainly divided into two branches. The term "lawyer" usually refers to barristers, while scrivener
Scrivener
A scrivener was traditionally a person who could read and write. This usually indicated secretarial and administrative duties such as dictation and keeping business, judicial, and history records for kings, nobles, temples, and cities...

 means solicitor. There are also two kinds of scriveners: administrative scrivener
Administrative scrivener
, also known as gyosei-shoshi lawyers , form a legal profession in Japan.The primary occupation of administrative scriveners is to prepare and draft not only filings to the national government, local governments or government agencies, but also other documents related to rights, liabilities and...

s and judicial scrivener
Judicial scrivener
-Japan:In Japan, are authorized to represent their clients in real estate registrations, commercial registrations , preparation of court documents and filings with legal affairs bureaus...

s.

Nigeria


In Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

, there is no formal distinction between barristers and solicitors. All students who pass the bar examinations—offered exclusively by the Nigerian Law School
Nigerian Law School
The Nigerian Law School was set up by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 1962 to provide a Nigerian legal education to foreign-trained lawyers, and to provide practical training for aspiring Legal Practitioners in Nigeria....

—are called to the Nigerian bar, by the Body of Benchers. Lawyers may argue in any Federal trial or appellate court as well as any of the courts in Nigeria's 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. The Legal Practitioner's Act, refers to Nigerian lawyers as Legal Practitioners, and following their call to the Bar
Call to the bar
The Call to the Bar is a legal term of art in most common law jurisdictions where persons must be qualified to be allowed to argue in court on behalf of another party, and are then said to have been "called to the bar" or to have received a "call to the bar"...

, Nigerian lawyers enter their names in the register or Roll of Legal Practitioners kept at the Supreme Court. Perhaps for this reason, a Nigerian lawyer is also often referred to as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, and many Nigerian lawyers term themselves Barrister-at-Law complete with the postnominal initials "B.L.".

The vast majority of Nigerian lawyers combine contentious and non-contentious work, although there is a growing tendency for practitioners in the bigger practices to specialise in one or the other. In colloquial parlance within the Nigerian legal profession, lawyers may for this reason be referred to as "litigators" or as "solicitors".

Consistent with the practice in England and elsewhere in the Commonwealth, senior members of the profession may be selected for elevation to the Inner Bar by conferment of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria
Senior Advocate of Nigeria
Senior Advocate of Nigeria is a title that may be conferred on legal practitioners in Nigeria of not less than ten years' standing and who have distinguished themselves in the legal profession...

 (SAN).

Northern Ireland


In April 2003 there were 554 barristers in independent practice in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

. 66 were Queen's Counsel (QCs), barristers who have earned a high reputation and are appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor as senior advocates and advisers.

Those barristers who are not QCs are called Junior Counsel and are styled "BL" or "Barrister-at-Law". The term "junior" is often misleading since many members of the Junior Bar are experienced barristers with considerable expertise.

Bencher
Bencher
A bencher or Master of the Bench is a senior member of an Inn of Court in England and Wales. Benchers hold office for life once elected. A bencher can be elected while still a barrister , in recognition of the contribution that the barrister has made to the life of the Inn or to the law...

s are, and have been for centuries, the governing bodies of the four Inns of Court
Inns of Court
The Inns of Court in London are the professional associations for barristers in England and Wales. All such barristers must belong to one such association. They have supervisory and disciplinary functions over their members. The Inns also provide libraries, dining facilities and professional...

 in London and King's Inns
King's Inns
The Honorable Society of King's Inns , is the institution which controls the entry of barristers-at-law into the justice system of Ireland...

, Dublin. The Benchers of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland governed the Inn until the enactment of the Constitution of the Inn in 1983, which provides that the government of the Inn is shared between the Benchers, the Executive Council of the Inn and members of the Inn assembled in General Meeting.

The Executive Council (through its Education Committee) is responsible for considering Memorials submitted by applicants for admission as students of the Inn and by Bar students of the Inn for admission to the degree of Barrister-at-Law and making recommendations to the Benchers. The final decisions on these Memorials are taken by the Benchers. The Benchers also have the exclusive power of expelling or suspending a Bar student and of disbarring a barrister or suspending a barrister from practice.

The Executive Council is also involved with: education; fees of students; calling counsel to the Bar, although call to the Bar is performed by the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland
Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland
The Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland is the head of the judiciary in Northern Ireland, presiding over the Courts of Northern Ireland. The present Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland is Sir Declan Morgan...

 on the invitation of the Benchers; administration of the Bar Library (to which all practising members of the Bar belong); and liaising with corresponding bodies in other countries.

The Bar Council is responsible for the maintenance of the standards, honour and independence of the Bar and, through its Professional Conduct Committee, receives and investigates complaints against members of the Bar in their professional capacity.

Scotland and the Crown Dependencies


In Scotland an advocate
Advocate
An advocate is a term for a professional lawyer used in several different legal systems. These include Scotland, South Africa, India, Scandinavian jurisdictions, Israel, and the British Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man...

 is, in all respects except name, a barrister, but there are significant differences in professional practice.

In Scotland, admission to and the conduct of the profession is regulated by the Faculty of Advocates
Faculty of Advocates
The Faculty of Advocates is an independent body of lawyers who have been admitted to practise as advocates before the courts of Scotland, especially the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary...

 (as opposed to an Inn).

In the Bailiwick of Jersey, there are solicitors (called ecrivains) and advocates (French avocat). In the Bailiwick of Jersey, the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Isle of Man, Advocates perform the combined functions of both solicitors and barristers.

South Africa



In South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 the employment and practice of barristers (known as advocates) is consistent with the rest of the Commonwealth. Advocates carry the rank of Junior or Senior Counsel (SC), and are mostly briefed and paid by solicitors (known as attorneys). They are usually employed in the higher courts, particularly in the Appeal Courts where they often appear as specialist counsel. South African solicitors (attorneys) follow a practice of referring cases to Counsel for an opinion before proceeding with a case, when Counsel in question practices as a specialist in the case law at stake. Aspiring advocates currently spend one year in pupillage (formerly only six months) before being admitted to the bar in their respective provincial or judicial jurisdictions. The term 'Advocate' is sometimes used in South Africa as a title, e. g. 'Advocate John Doe, SC' ('Advokaat' in Afrikaans) in the same fashion as 'Dr. John Doe' for a medical doctor.

South Korea


There is no distinction between two branches. A person who passed the national bar exam, after 2 years of national education, becomes a judge, a prosecutor or a "lawyer" in accordance of their grades upon graduation. A "lawyer" does not have any limitation of practice.

Spain


Spain has a division that somewhat corresponds to the division in Britain between barristers/advocates and solicitors. Procuradores represent the litigant procedurally in court, generally under the authority of a power of attorney executed by a civil law notary, while abogados represent the substantive claims of the litigant through trial advocacy. Essentially, Procuradores are court agents and their practice is confined to the locality of the court to which they are admitted. Procuradores are regulated by Royal Decree 2046 of 1982, which approved the General Statute of the Procuradores, and the Organic Law no.6 of 1985. The General Statute regulates the qualifications and conduct of the procuradores. Thus, obligations to act pro bono are laid down by Article 13.

United States


The United States does not draw a distinction between lawyers as pleaders (barristers) and lawyers as agents (or solicitors). All lawyers who have passed a bar examination
Bar examination
A bar examination is an examination conducted at regular intervals to determine whether a candidate is qualified to practice law in a given jurisdiction.-Brazil:...

 and have been admitted to practice may prosecute or defend in the courts of the state where they are admitted. Historically, a distinction was made, and a separate label for barristers (called "counselors") existed in certain states, though both professions have long since been fused into the all-purpose attorney. Attorneys specializing in court procedure, combining advocacy and case preparation, are called trial attorneys.

Some state appellate courts require attorneys to obtain a separate certificate of admission to plead and practice in the appellate court. Federal courts require specific admission to that court's bar to practice before it. At the state appellate level and in Federal courts, there is generally no separate examination process, although some U.S. district courts require an examination on practices and procedures in their specific courts. Unless an examination is required, admission is usually granted as a matter of course to any licensed attorney in the state where the court is located. Some federal courts will grant admission to any attorney licensed in any U.S. jurisdiction.

In popular culture

  • The Channel 4
    Channel 4
    Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

     court drama series North Square
    North Square
    North Square is an award-winning British television drama series written by Peter Moffat and broadcast by Channel 4 at the end of 2000. Starring an ensemble cast including Phil Davis, Rupert Penry-Jones, Helen McCrory and Kevin McKidd, the programme is set around the practice of a Leeds Legal...

    contains interactions between Barristers and Solicitors.
  • Rumpole of the Bailey
    Rumpole of the Bailey
    Rumpole of the Bailey is a British television series created and written by the British writer and barrister John Mortimer which starred Leo McKern as Horace Rumpole, an ageing London barrister who defends any and all clients...


Australia


UK and Ireland


Other countries