What Is the Difference Between a Barrister and a Solicitor?
Barristers and solicitors are legal professionals who may assist you with legal matters. The difference between a barrister and a solicitor is the type of legal work they do. In general, a barrister specialises in making court appearances and speaking on your behalf. By contrast, a solicitor often does the preparation work before your court appearance and liaises with your barrister to prepare your case. Barristers are formally trained in court advocacy and cross-examining witnesses.
In most cases, a solicitor will look after your case initially. They will then engage a barrister for court advice and appearances. Barristers typically do not liaise directly with clients.
When to Involve a Barrister in Your Matter
Clients often ask at what stage we will involve barristers in their matter. A good way to think about it is that solicitors are like general practitioners and barristers are like specialists. Barristers work in particular areas of law and often speak at court.
Sometimes solicitors will discuss your case with a barrister and ask them to provide a written opinion on the prospects of your case. They might also ask their opinion on a specific issue. If a matter is complex or unusual, barristers might also be involved in the drafting of court documents.
Barristers are required to provide you with an estimate of their costs. Their costs agreement and disclosure documents are issued to your solicitor.
Barristers usually charge an hourly rate. They can also charge a daily rate, especially for court attendances or mediation sessions. Some barristers will charge a cancellation fee if a hearing settles or is adjourned.
Choosing a Barrister
You solicitor will choose a barrister based on factors including:
- Your financial circumstances;
- The type of matter; and
- Which barrister they believe is most suitable.
A barrister can be perfectly suited to one type of case but not another.
If you need any legal advice or assistance we are here to help. If you would like to discuss the involvement of a barrister in your legal matter contact us today.