September 26, 2023

Barristers are attorneys, however not all attorneys are barristers. Discover out what the distinction is between a lawyer and a barrister right here.


The authorized occupation is extra numerous than many individuals suppose. There’s an array of jobs you may have within the authorized occupation past being a lawyer, though many of those jobs work together with one another. For a lot of, the phrase ‘lawyer’ is synonymous with a swimsuit, excessive heels, and the courtroom. Equally, the phrase ‘barrister’ brings to thoughts pictures of a white wig and black gown gown. Nevertheless, past authorized apparel, attorneys and barristers are totally different – with this distinction being extra pronounced in some jurisdictions.

A typical misperception is that barristers and attorneys are inherently the identical, in that they’re authorized advocates that spend their days in Courtroom. Nevertheless, in Australia’s widespread legislation system, many advocates you see representing their purchasers at trial are barristers. A useful technique to keep in mind that is {that a} barrister is a sort of lawyer – however a lawyer just isn’t at all times a barrister.

On this article, we’ll talk about what makes attorneys and barristers totally different members of the identical occupation. Additional, we’ll clarify how these definitions additionally fluctuate relying on which jurisdiction they function in.

Key factors

  • Lawyer: Somebody admitted to the broader authorized occupation. This contains being a barrister, solicitor, or choose.
  • Solicitor: Somebody with a certificates to observe legislation who just isn’t a barrister or choose.
  • Barrister: A lawyer who has handed the ‘Bar‘ examination of their respective state, studied the bar course, and undertaken their readership with a senior Barrister. They seem in court docket to advocate on behalf of purchasers however technically work for the solicitor.

The distinction between a lawyer and a barrister is that the latter is a kind of lawyer. A solicitor can solely turn into a barrister in the event that they resolve to take and go the ‘Bar’ examination within the state that they want to function.

What’s the distinction between a lawyer and a barrister?

Particularly, barristers are attorneys who specialize in advocacy. ‘Lawyer’ is a broader umbrella time period, which additionally contains solicitors.

We frequently hear the phrases barrister and lawyer used interchangeably. Nevertheless, there may be really an enormous distinction between the 2. 


Advocacy means representing your purchasers and ‘advocating’ for his or her pursuits. Though all attorneys do that, advocacy significantly refers to representing purchasers in Courtroom. Being an advocate means you must additionally perceive Courtroom etiquette and procedures so as to symbolize your case successfully. Advocacy is the specialty of barristers, who’re specialists in presenting authorized arguments at trial.


In Australia, ‘lawyer’ is the broad time period referring to any one who has been admitted to the authorized occupation. This may be both as a barrister or solicitor. To be a lawyer, an individual should full a bachelor’s or post-graduate diploma in legislation. In addition they must get hold of their Graduate Diploma of Authorized Apply (GDLP). They’re then admitted to the authorized occupation board of their jurisdiction. From this, attorneys in States comparable to New South Wales can select whether or not to:

  • Apply as a solicitor and apply for a training certificates from the State Legislation physique
  • Practice to turn into a barrister by sitting for the Bar Examination, endeavor the bar course, coaching beneath a senior barrister, and gaining admission to the bar
  • Be a non-practicing lawyer

Attorneys are inclined to deal with and construct expertise in sure areas of legislation. Though yow will discover generalist attorneys, specialist attorneys are specialists of their discipline and might provide unparalleled recommendation.

For instance, yow will discover:

A small enterprise in search of authorized companies would possibly discover it useful to talk to a business lawyer, a contract lawyer, or an employment lawyer. Equally, a prison lawyer would have experience in deciphering police studies, reviewing expenses, and negotiating with the prosecution.


A Solicitor is somebody with a certificates to observe legislation that isn’t a barrister or choose. Generally, you probably have a authorized difficulty, you’d first discover a solicitor to supply recommendation in your case. Provided that the matter proceeds to Courtroom will a barrister be wanted. On this case, the solicitor will retain a barrister with the expertise to efficiently put together and current your case.

Solicitors can seem in Courtroom as ‘solicitor advocates’, nevertheless, this isn’t essentially their specialty. Solicitors have experience in getting ready documentation, advising purchasers, and discovering authorized options. Typically, a barrister will solely turn into concerned the place a matter goes to trial.

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When authorized disputes enter the Courtroom system, barristers are retained by the solicitor in command of the matter to look. Barristers are specialists in courtroom advocacy and getting ready issues for trial. Barristers will even generally put on a white wig and black gown when showing. Just like solicitors, barristers are inclined to specialize in specific areas of legislation. For instance, a barrister who acts for you in a household legislation matter will not be the only option to symbolize you at a prison trial.

Attributable to this, barristers additionally command a better charge than solicitors however work independently as sole practitioners (not in a legislation agency). Barristers usually work in quarters known as ‘chambers’. These chambers are essentially a shared house, near the Courtroom, the place a number of barristers work. Barristers pay a ‘flooring charge’ to hire out the room in chambers.

Barristers are additionally accountable for acquiring their very own work. Solicitors normally rent barristers on behalf of their purchasers. Barristers construct their consumer base by cultivating skilled relationships with solicitors and legislation companies. Those that have vital expertise and ability can even turn into Senior Counsel (SC) or Queen’s Counsel (QC). They’re additionally colloquially known as ‘silks’.

Barristers have an obligation to just accept any and all briefs, as long as it’s in an space of legislation they observe in. This is called the ‘cab-rank rule’. Nevertheless, this rule doesn’t apply to solicitors who can settle for work at their discretion.

Being ‘known as to the bar’

Solicitors wishing to turn into barristers in sure jurisdictions should go a sequence of exams. They’re additionally required to undertake a specialised course and endure a 12 months of coaching referred to as a ‘readership’ beneath the steerage of an skilled barrister. Upon profitable completion of those, they’re ‘known as to the bar’.

All these attorneys interact in litigation, advising on the end result of circumstances and the strategic parts of operating a court docket case. Barristers additionally draft and evaluate Courtroom paperwork. As Courtroom advocates, they are going to conduct court docket appearances, current their consumer’s case, and argue factors of legislation and proof whereas inspecting the witnesses.

A fused (and unfused) occupation

Guidelines for attorneys and barristers in Australia fluctuate relying on State and Territory. In some Australian States, the authorized occupation is ‘fused’. Which means there isn’t a distinction between barristers and solicitors. In addition they each belong to the identical skilled society. Barristers can observe as solicitors in a legislation agency and vice versa. Additional, solicitors can even seem in Courtroom.

In New South Wales and Queensland, the authorized occupation just isn’t fused. Which means barristers observe independently and that solicitors don’t normally seem in Courtroom. Barristers and solicitors in NSW and QLD are additionally members of separate skilled societies. For instance, the NSW Bar Association and the NSW Legislation Society. A lawyer can’t be a member of each, however should solely observe as a solicitor or barrister.


Attorneys and barristers have a pure overlap of their roles as members of the authorized occupation. Nevertheless, they don’t seem to be the identical, most notably in NSW and QLD. Barristers are very important when a matter goes to trial. Solicitors are instrumental at each step earlier than that getting ready claims, affidavits, and correspondence. Each barristers and solicitors are attorneys – regardless of their roles within the authorized system being totally different.