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The role of a barrister

30th November 2015

The role of a barrister

A barrister is someone who provides specialist legal advice and represents people and businesses in court, but there is a lot more involved in the role than what you see on your television and movie screens.

Here we are going to take you through the type of cases barristers cover, some information about earnings and the courts they attend.

Introduction to being a barrister

Those considering using a legal recruitment agency to become a barrister need to first consider what will be involved in the role.

Most barristers are used as independent sources of legal advice and can advise clients on their case. They are generally appointed by solicitors to represent a case in court. The barrister pleads a case on behalf of the client and their solicitor.

As well as the barrister advising the client on the law, how strong they think the client’s case is and representing their client in court, a barrister will be in charge of negotiating settlements with the other side.


Barristers and solicitors start by doing the same training; either taking an undergraduate law course or taking another degree and doing a one-year Common Professional Exam or post-graduate diploma in law.

Whilst solicitors then go on to do a one-year legal practice course and then conduct a two-year training contract, a barrister takes a one-year Bar Professional training course and then does a year’s pupillage shadowing a senior barrister and undertaking some court work.

The types of cases a barrister could cover

Usually a barrister specialises in a certain area of law such as; criminal law, commercial law, sports law, common law, chancery law (trusts and estates) and entertainment law.

So, for example, if a barrister specialises in common law then the cases the barrister will be asked to deal with will be related to personal injury, housing and family disputes.

The vast majority of barristers are self-employed, but those who are employed generally work for private and public organisations like charities and therefore the cases they face are related to the charity they work for.

A barrister’s salary

According to Prospects those who are undertaking their final stage of qualification for the Bar will earn no less than £12,000 per year.

The article on the Prospects site also states that once qualified, barristers can expect to earn anything from £25,000 to £300,000 per year. To find out more about what top salaries a barrister and other people in the legal sector can earn, check out this article on the highest paid law jobs.

A barrister’s salary in the Crown Prosecution Service is often around £30,000-£90,000 per annum.

Courts barristers attend

Barristers generally attend higher level courts such as The Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court and Crown Court.

In court, barristers act as advocates in legal hearings and plead the case of their client in front of a judge. To find out more visit the JustCite website.


The attire

Last but certainly not least, barristers are required to wear wigs and robes, but this is changing.

No longer do barristers have to wear the traditional wig and gown when they are standing before the Supreme Court or in civil or family cases. Now wigs are only required in criminal cases.

Image Credit: Ian Lee, Michael D Beckwith (