The quickest route to becoming a Barrister is to take a law degree that is recognised by the Bar Standards Board. The degree must contain tbe core modules of public and criminal law, obligations and legal research. The degree can also contain optional modules such as environmental law and intellectual property.
If the candidate doesn't have a degree recognised by the Bar Standards Board but does have a degree then they can take an additional one year course such as the graduate diploma in law (GDL) or the common profession examination (CPE). Both of these courses contain the core modules.
Before progressing to the training the barrister to be must become a member of an Inn of Court. There are four inns, Gray's Inn, Lincoln's Inn, Middle Temple and Inner Temple. The student is expected to attend 12 qualifying sessions at the Inn alongside taking their Bar Professional Training Course.
There are two types of training that a barriester must undertake; vocational training and professional training.
Vocational training- The vocational training that a barrister must do is the Bar Professional Training Course. The course is practically based and one year long. The course teaches skills such as advocacy, client interviewing and drafting legal documents. Upon completion of the BPTC the barrister can be called to the bar. This is a graduation ceremony at the chosen Inn. To carry on being a barrister the barrister must complete their final stage of training. The course costs between £9,500 and £15,750.
Professional Training- The final stage of training for a barrister is a one year on the job training role with a professional barrister in their chambers. The year is split into two sixes. the first six is shadowing a barrister for six months and learning through observation, the second six is when the pupil undertakes supervised work of their own. During the pupilage the student will earn a minimum of £12,000.
The majority of barristers are self employed and concentrate on advocacy, though some barristers do specialise in areas which rarely require attenance at court such as tax law. the remainder of barristers are employed by the government or work for commercial/industrial companies.
Barristers may undertake the following work...
-Holding cases conferences
-Writing opinions for clients
-Negotiation with the other party
Barristers are controlled by the General Council of the Bar and they must be a member of one of the four Inns of Court. Self employed barristers gain tenancy and work from a set of shared chambers. A practice administrator and other administrative staff will manage the incoming work and negotiate a fee. Self-employed barristers usually work on the instruction of a solicitor but there is a direct acces for the client in civil cases where a barrister is needed. Most barristers operate on a cab-rank rule which states they must accept anywork if it is on the area of law that they have expertise. The rule does not apply for direct access cases. After ten years of practising as a barrister the barrister can become a member of the Queen's council and take silk.
There is no contract between barrister and client except in direct access cases. Therefore the client cannot sue for breach of contract if they feel the barristers work is not satisfactory. However, the client can sue for negligence in regards to legal advice and negligent advocacy in court.
An unsatisfiend with use the Barristers chamber's in houes complaints procedure initially. If they are not happy with the result of the procedure then they can complain the the Legal Ombudsman. The ombudsman can make a barrister apologise,lower or remove legal fees and possibly pay a fine up to £30,000.
The Bar Standards Board regulate the profession of barristers and will investigate any complaints of breach in the code of conduct. If eveidence suggests there is a serious code of conduct breach the barrister can be fined, suspended or removed from the role as a result of trial before the Disciplinary Tribunal.