What is the Distinction Between a Lawyer and Barrister? (2023 Replace)

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


The authorized career is extra numerous than many individuals suppose. There’s an array of jobs you’ll be able to have within the authorized career 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 costume gown. Nevertheless, past authorized apparel, legal professionals and barristers are completely different – with this distinction being extra pronounced in some jurisdictions.

A standard misperception is that barristers and legal professionals are inherently the identical, in that they’re authorized advocates that spend their days in Court docket. Nevertheless, in Australia’s frequent regulation system, many advocates you see representing their purchasers at trial are barristers. A useful strategy to bear in mind that is {that a} barrister is a sort of lawyer – however a lawyer is just not at all times a barrister.

On this article, we’ll talk about what makes legal professionals and barristers completely different members of the identical career. Additional, we’ll clarify how these definitions additionally range relying on which jurisdiction they function in.

Key factors

  • Lawyer: Somebody admitted to the broader authorized career. This contains being a barrister, solicitor, or choose.
  • Solicitor: Somebody with a certificates to apply regulation who is just not 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 legal professionals who concentrate on advocacy. ‘Lawyer’ is a broader umbrella time period, which additionally contains solicitors.

We regularly hear the phrases barrister and lawyer used interchangeably. Nevertheless, there may be truly a giant distinction between the 2. 


Advocacy means representing your purchasers and ‘advocating’ for his or her pursuits. Though all legal professionals do that, advocacy notably refers to representing purchasers in Court docket. Being an advocate means it’s a must to additionally perceive Court docket etiquette and procedures with a view to symbolize your case successfully. Advocacy is the specialty of barristers, who’re specialists in presenting authorized arguments at trial.

Legal professionals

In Australia, ‘lawyer’ is the broad time period referring to any one who has been admitted to the authorized career. 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 regulation. In addition they must receive their Graduate Diploma of Authorized Observe (GDLP). They’re then admitted to the authorized career board of their jurisdiction. From this, legal professionals in States corresponding to New South Wales can select whether or not to:

  • Observe 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, enterprise the bar course, coaching below a senior barrister, and gaining admission to the bar
  • Be a non-practicing lawyer

Legal professionals are likely to deal with and construct expertise in sure areas of regulation. Though you will discover generalist legal professionals, specialist legal professionals are specialists of their discipline and may provide unparalleled recommendation.

For instance, you will discover:

A small enterprise looking for authorized companies would possibly discover it useful to talk to a industrial lawyer, a contract lawyer, or an employment lawyer. Equally, a felony lawyer would have experience in deciphering police stories, reviewing expenses, and negotiating with the prosecution.


A Solicitor is somebody with a certificates to apply regulation that’s not a barrister or choose. Generally, when you have a authorized concern, you’d first discover a solicitor to supply recommendation in your case. Provided that the matter proceeds to Court docket 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 Court docket as ‘solicitor advocates’, nevertheless, this isn’t essentially their specialty. Solicitors have experience in getting ready documentation, advising purchasers, and discovering authorized options. Generally, a barrister will solely turn into concerned the place a matter goes to trial.

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When authorized disputes enter the Court docket system, barristers are retained by the solicitor accountable for 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. Much like solicitors, barristers are likely to concentrate on specific areas of regulation. For instance, a barrister who acts for you in a household regulation matter will not be the only option to symbolize you at a felony trial.

Attributable to this, barristers additionally command a better payment than solicitors however work independently as sole practitioners (not in a regulation agency). Barristers typically work in quarters known as ‘chambers’. These chambers are basically a shared area, near the Court docket, the place a number of barristers work. Barristers pay a ‘ground payment’ to lease out the room in chambers.

Barristers are additionally answerable for acquiring their very own work. Solicitors normally rent barristers on behalf of their purchasers. Barristers construct their shopper base by cultivating skilled relationships with solicitors and regulation corporations. Those that have important expertise and talent may also 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 regulation they apply 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 bear a yr of coaching referred to as a ‘readership’ below the steering of an skilled barrister. Upon profitable completion of those, they’re ‘known as to the bar’.

All these legal professionals have interaction in litigation, advising on the result of circumstances and the strategic parts of working a court docket case. Barristers additionally draft and assessment Court docket paperwork. As Court docket advocates, they are going to conduct court docket appearances, current their shopper’s case, and argue factors of regulation and proof whereas inspecting the witnesses.

A fused (and unfused) career

Guidelines for legal professionals and barristers in Australia range relying on State and Territory. In some Australian States, the authorized career is ‘fused’. Because of this there is no such thing as a distinction between barristers and solicitors. In addition they each belong to the identical skilled society. Barristers can apply as solicitors in a regulation agency and vice versa. Additional, solicitors may also seem in Court docket.

In New South Wales and Queensland, the authorized career is just not fused. Because of this barristers apply independently and that solicitors don’t normally seem in Court docket. 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 completely apply as a solicitor or barrister.


Legal professionals and barristers have a pure overlap of their roles as members of the authorized career. Nevertheless, they aren’t the identical, most notably in NSW and QLD. Barristers are 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 legal professionals – regardless of their roles within the authorized system being completely different.