What Is the Difference Between a Barrister and a Solicitor?
Barristers and solicitors are both people who can assist with your 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. However, a solicitor often does the preparation work before your court appearance and liaises with the barrister.
Commonly, a solicitor will look after your case initially. They will then refer it to a barrister for court advice and appearances. Barristers don’t liaise directly with clients, so your solicitor will continue to be your contact for the duration of the case.
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.
Similarly to solicitors, barristers are required to provide you with an estimate of their costs. This is also known as disclosure. However, their costs agreement and disclosure documents are issued to the solicitor or firm. The solicitor (or firm) is liable to pay the fees, which they will pass on to you in an invoice.
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 it is; and
- Which barrister they believe is most suitable.
A barrister can be perfectly suited to one type of case but not another. Sometimes you will have your own choice of barrister.
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.