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What Is The Difference Between A Lawyer And A Barrister?

In the field of profession, the average citizens are usually confused with some terminologies about a specific field of profession or they could be confused about what a certain type of occupation does in a field, what are their roles or are they only narrowed down to a specific line of work based on their experience or specialization. These are the reasons why some people normally use the generic term of a specific field to describe professionals in order to avoid any complication although it still has to be addressed for the purposes of lessening ignorance and easily identifies what type of professional that a person needs on a specific situation.

In this article, we will clarify some of the confusions of a person about the professions in the legal field, specifically the differences between a barrister and a lawyer.

What is a Lawyer?

First of all, what is a lawyer, and what kind of responsibilities are they obliged to do? A lawyer is a practitioner of the legal field and is responsible for arranging legal documents for their clients, whether it is for familial purposes, corporate affairs, crime-related cases, or implementing laws of the government. Lawyers are also responsible for giving legal advice to their clients regarding their cases in preparation for facing the court. These legal professionals also appear before the court on behalf of their clients to present them.

So basically, being a lawyer does not just focus on a single specialty since there is a variety of specializations to work on.

A Lawyer Can Be:

  1. A solicitor and inquire on the State Law body for a practicing certificate.
  2. A barrister by taking the Bar Exam, take the bar course, and train under a senior barrister.
  3. A non-practicing lawyer.

What is a Barrister?

A barrister is not different from a lawyer because it is a type of lawyer that specifically deals with businesses in the courtroom such as presenting a client before the key figures of the court.

Barristers are mostly portrayed as those who have white wigs and a black dress robe. In the past, barristers were the only law practitioners who were trained for the bar and barristers are the only ones who are allowed to represent their clients in a trial. In the law system of Australia, the advocates who represent their clients in court are mostly barristers and they work for the solicitor since they are their advisors when it comes to representing the client and how should their hearing proceed. They are a type of lawyer who passed the Bar exams, have studied the bar course, and have undergone readership with an upperclassman Barrister.

What are the Roles of a Barrister?

  1. A barrister serves as an advocate for their clients. Advocacy is their specialty because they have to present legal arguments in a trial. They must have the skills to easily identify the critical points in cases. Barristers must also have the skills to easily persuade a client or the court in charge of the case they are presenting.
  2. They also handle court applications.
  3. Barristers also provide legal advice to their clients on specific situations regarding laws, pieces of evidence, and other factors that could strengthen their case.
  4. They assist solicitors when it comes to drafting court documents. They also advise solicitors about opinions.
  5. They are critical thinkers and they aid in understanding intricate and complex areas of the laws and cases.
  6. Barristers are also handlers of negotiating settlements outside the court. They sometimes opt for Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR which is a way to settle disputes outside the court or without the need for litigation since litigation can be costly.
  7. Lastly, barristers have the responsibility of conducting engaging and solid arguments in the courtroom. Their opinions and advice are called upon in assisting with settling disputes.

What could a Barrister Specialize in?

A lawyer does not just have a category but sub-categories as well in the line of barristers because these advocacy experts can also specialize in the following (common specializations):

  1. Administrative and Public Law. This specialty focuses on the field of civil liberties and human rights, community, and healthcare law, education law, commercial judicial review, disciplinary proceedings, housing law, planning law, prison law, or laws involving social security and services.
  2. Crime Law. Barristers who specialize in this field of law, practice advocacy in representing their clients who are involved in crime situations such as child abuse, human rights, sexual assault, or violent crime.
  3. Familial or Matrimonial Law. Barristers who are under this line of specialization, handle cases or affairs regarding familial or matrimonial situations such as divorce, adoption, or a family’s estates.
  4. Immigration. If a barrister specializes in immigration laws, they have the responsibility of handling legal matters that are related to a client’s immigration documents and their nationality.
  5. Banking and Finances. Barristers and banks collaborate with each other in order to settle disputes regarding wrong transactions or anything related to the financial matters of a client.
  6. Employment. Employment barristers are in charge of handling cases of clients who experienced unfair dismissal, mistreatment under their employers or the workplace, or addressing equal pay for employees.

Where can a Barrister Work?

Most barristers are independent professionals or work on a self-employed basis or they have their own office, while other professionals in the legal field of work with agencies such as the government, a corporation, or a law firm. Some barristers work in private or public organizations such as charities.

The Bottomline

In conclusion, lawyers and barristers are not entirely the same although take note that all barristers are lawyers but, not all lawyers are barristers. Barristers are experts in matters involving trials but before presenting in front of the court, barristers must work with solicitors, give and heed each others’ advice in order to strengthen their case with their clients and ensure a successful trial inside the court.

Hopefully, this article answers your questions and some of the misconceptions about legal professionals!





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