Advertisement
Legal Dictionary

barrister

Legal Definition of barrister

Noun

  1. A litigation specialist
  2. A lawyer that restricts his or her practice to the court room. In England and some other Commonwealth jurisdictions, a legal distinction is made between barristers and solicitors, the latter with exclusive privileges of advising clients, providing legal advice, and the former with exclusive privileges of appearing in a court on behalf of a client. In other words, solicitors don't appear in court on a client's behalf and barristers don't give legal advice to clients. In England, barristers and solicitors work as a team: the solicitor would typically make the first contact with a client and if the issue cannot be resolved and proceeds to trial, the solicitor would transfer the case to a barrister for the duration of the litigation. Lawyers in some states, such as Canada, sometimes use the title "barrister and solicitor" even though, contrary to England, there is no legal distinction between the advising and litigating roles. Canadian lawyers can litigate or give legal advice, as is the case in the USA, where lawyers are referred to as "attorneys."

Definition of barrister

Pronunciation

  • (UK) IPA: /ˈbę.ɹɪst.ə(ɹ)/, SAMPA: /"b{.tIst.@(r\)/

Noun

barrister (plural barristers)

  1. (law, British, Australian, New Zealand) A lawyer with the right to speak and argue as an advocate in higher lawcourts.

Further reading

A barrister is a lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions that employ a split profession (as opposed to a fused profession) in relation to legal representation. In split professions, the other types of lawyers are mainly solicitors. Solicitors have more direct contact with the clients, whereas barristers often only become involved in a case once advocacy before a court is needed by the client. Barristers are also engaged by solicitors to provide specialist advice on points of law. Barristers are rarely instructed by clients directly (although this occurs frequently in tax matters). Instead, the client's solicitors will instruct a barrister on behalf of the client when appropriate.

The historical difference between the two professions-and the only essential difference in England and Wales today-is that a solicitor is an attorney, which means they can act in the place of their client for legal purposes (as in signing contracts), and may conduct litigation 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, the barrister does so when instructed by a solicitor. This difference in function explains many of the practical differences between the two professions.

Many countries such as the United States do not observe a distinction between barristers and solicitors. Attorneys are permitted to conduct all aspects of litigation and appear before those courts where they have been admitted to the bar.

References:

  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.



SHARE THIS PAGE


TOP LEGAL TERMS THIS WEEK
1.     AORO
2.     adjudication order
3.     Miranda warning
4.     lex patriae
5.     appellant
6.     respondeat superior
7.     case law
8.     abscond
9.     stare decisis
10.     precedent