Barristers

barristers

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Training

  • Potential barristers will normally have a degree
  • There is a non-graduate entry route (Two year CPE)
  • Normally the degree is LLB Law (A qualifying law degree)
  • If the degree is non law then the must complete the GDL/CPE (7 core subjects: Crime, Tort, Contract).
  • Once the student has a GDL/CPE/LLB then they must complete the Bar Vocational Course (Focuses on advocacy, negotiation)
  • Must be a member of one of the four Inns of Court (Licoln's, Gray's, Middle Temple, Inner Temple)
  • Must dine at the Inn 12 times before being called to the bar or else attend a residential weekend course.
  • Called to the bar
  • Now they have to do pupillage
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Training: Pupillage

  • After they've been called to the bar
  • "on the job" training"
  • The trainee becomes a pupil to an experienced barrister
  • The trainee will shadow them for 1X12 months or 2X6 months (Two pupillages)
  • Must take part in continuing education organised by the Bar Council.
  • In their second six, they can conduct their own cases.
  • Paid a small salary- usually about half that of trainee solicitors.
  • Competition is fierce, many can't find pupillages.
  • After pupillage, the barrister must find a tenancy in chambers (Again notoriously difficult, many have to squat)
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Work

  • 15,000 barristers in England and Wales, supervised by the Bar Council
  • Most are self employed but share costs by working together in chambers
  • Some are employed by businesses and some are sole practitioners

Advocacy (Speaking on someone's behalf):

  • Representing clients in court, criminal and civil cases.

Conferences:

  • Hold conferences with their client to discuss certain aspects of their case. Often on the day of the hearing (Also when many will meet their barrister for the first time).

Opinions:

  • Write opinions on instruction of a solicitor.
  • Give their views on strengths and weaknesses of a case, evidence, law etc.
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Work

Cab rank rule:

  • If they have the time and skills and are offered a reasonable fee, then they have to accpet the case.
  • Barristers usually find a way out.

Instructing a barrister:

  • From 1989 professions can instruct a barrister, not just a solicitor.
  • Those seeking direct access need a licence. E.g. Engineering Council

Public Access:

  • Members of the public can, since 2003 go directly to a barrister in a number of cases, rather than needing to instruct a solicitor first.
  • Have to be qualified for 3 years and undergone a course before they can od public access work.
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Work

Employed barristers:

  • 3000 barristers are employed by organisations e.g. local government, advice centres etc.

Queen's Counsel:

  • After 15 years
  • Must pay £1800 and then £2,250 if successful
  • Application system has changed to make it more representational
  • Can wear silk gowns
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Regulation

  • Client cannot sue for breach of contract, but can sue for negligence
  • Negotiation. Client may speak to their solicitor, who may try to resolve the issue (with the Head of Chambers)
  • The Bar Council: Must be contacted within 6 months
  • Bar Standards Board: If there was poor service, then the barrister can be ordered to pay.
  • Senate of the Inns of Court: Can discipline barristers and in extreme cases can disbar barristers.
  • Legal Services Ombudsman: investigates complaints about all legal professions. Bar Council usually resolves issues.
  • The complaints process is overseen by an independent Lay Complaints Commissioner.
  • Can sue for negligence (Saif Ali v Sydney Mitchell 1980)
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