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  • 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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  • 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.


  • 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).


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