A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialise in courtroom advocacy and litigation. Their tasks include taking cases in superior courts and tribunals, drafting legal pleadings, researching the philosophy, hypothesis and history of law, and giving expert legal opinions.
Philosophy of law
|Competencies||Advocacy and interpersonal skills, analytical mind, critical thinking, commercial sense|
|England and Wales:|
Bar Professional Training Course with pupillage (and possibly Common Professional Examination)
Ireland: Barrister-at-Law degree with pupillage
|Barristers' chambers, government, sole trader|
|Pupil barrister, advocate, judge, magistrate, attorney, solicitor|
Barristers are distinguished from solicitors, who have more direct access to clients, and may do transactional-type legal work. It is mainly barristers who are appointed as judges, and they are rarely hired by clients directly. In some legal systems, including those of Scotland, South Africa, Scandinavia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and the British Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, the word barrister is also regarded as an honorific title.
In a few jurisdictions, barristers are usually forbidden from "conducting" litigation, and can only act on the instructions of a solicitor, who performs tasks such as corresponding with parties and the court, and drafting court documents. In England and Wales, barristers may seek authorisation from the Bar Standards Board to conduct litigation. This allows a barrister to practise in a "dual capacity", fulfilling the role of both barrister and solicitor.
In some common law countries, such as New Zealand and some regions of Australia, lawyers are entitled to practise both as barristers and solicitors, but it remains a separate system of qualification to practise exclusively as a barrister. In others, such as the United States, the barrister–solicitor distinction does not exist at all.