How to Find a Barrister (2019 Update)
Barristers, solicitors and lawyers all play different roles in the legal system. Read this guide to find out how to find a barrister for your matter.
There may be times where you will need to hire an advocate, who has expertise in Court as well as the law. In these instances, it is often best to hire a barrister. Read about how to find a barrister here.
Barristers and lawyers can seem one and the same. However, they’re quite different. A barrister is a type of lawyer, but one who appears in Court and prepares matters for trial. Though many of them don’t wear the white wigs and black robes anymore, they’re still a vital part of the justice system.
If you need to find a barrister to act on your behalf, finding one is relatively simple. In most cases, your solicitor will hire a barrister once your matter is in the Court system and you’ll pay their fees directly to your solicitor. Solicitors tend to hire barristers who have expertise in the area of law your case concerns.
If you’re in need of a solicitor, our online lawyer marketplace can help you hire the right lawyer for your matter, and a barrister if needed.
Understanding the legal profession
The legal profession is comprised of lawyers, solicitors and barristers, who play the following roles:
- Lawyers are a general term for people qualified to give legal advice. All solicitors and barristers are lawyers.
- Solicitors advise clients on areas of law. They are the first point of contact for legal matters.
- Barristers specialise in fighting legal disputes in court. They are all members of their state’s Bar association.
You can read further for more information on the differences between lawyers, solicitors and barristers.
Start with a solicitor
Solicitor’s in Australia are the first point of contact before getting a barrister. They are able to handle simple matters in court, and prepare materials beforehand. This includes evidence and out of court settlements.
A solicitor will inform a barrister if your issue is complicated and needs a specialist advocate. Barristers are located in chambers, with several specialty areas.
Solicitors play the largest role in finding barristers. They generally choose people they know can handle cases. Barristers however, are obliged to deal with any case that goes to them under the cab-rank principle. They can only take whatever comes first to them, and cannot take work based on personal preference.
You can also directly search for barristers in each Australian state using the Bar Association Website. The NSW Bar Association website is an example of finding barristers.
You are unable to contact barristers for your case however, unless you are a solicitor. Regardless, doing your own individual research can allow you to find a barrister that you are comfortable with. You can contact a solicitor from there who would be able to get in touch. However, there are two exceptions to this rule:
- Direct briefing
- Alternative dispute resolution
Direct briefing allow lawyers with practicing certificates to directly contact barristers, without going through a solicitor. Corporate and government lawyers from departments with no in-house lawyers generally use direct briefing services.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Barristers can also decide alternative dispute resolution (ADR) cases. The NSW BarADR allows people to search for accredited mediators, arbitrators and determinators for ADR matters. This is useful for deciding your legal issue outside court.
You can also search LawPath’s lawyer directory for a dispute resolution lawyer if you’re interested in settling outside of court.
Members of the public don’t have to worry about finding a barrister. Barristers receive briefs from solicitors to appear in court for complicated legal issues. You can search up the directory and find them for ADR cases, but it’s not necessary to do so. You can start the process of finding a barrister by getting a solicitor through LawPath’s lawyer directory.
Don’t know where to start? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800 529 728 o learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest legal marketplace.
Dhruv is a Legal Tech Intern working in the content team at Lawpath who is highly curious about how technology is changing the legal landscape.