What does a Civil or Commercial barrister do?
You may think that Barristers spend their lives wearing wigs and presenting cases in Court. Whilst this idea is quite close to the reality in criminal work, this image is mistaken in, for instance, commercial and property work. Our work functions are varied and encompass:
- Advocacy and representation in the High Court and County Courts and certain tribunals
- Advocacy and legal submissions on paper
- Written and oral legal and tactical advice
- The drafting of documents for Court and for use in litigation, (such as Particulars of Claim, Defences, Counterclaims, Letters before Claim, Witness Statements and Notices of Appeal)
- The negotiation of settlements
- The drafting of commercial and other agreements for use by businesses and individuals
Barrister work is not to be confused with that of a Solicitor. The Solicitor will conduct litigation. He or she will write letters, interview witnesses, collect and collate evidence, issue proceedings, instruct experts and handle client money. By contrast, the Barrister will direct operations: advise on law and tactics, produce written Opinions, draft formal documents for service by you or by a Solicitor and appear in Court.
A Barrister's distinct code of conduct and training provides the client with objective and independent advice. A Barrister is a problem-solver. He or she will be analytical, sorting good points from bad ones at an early stage of a dispute. This enables a client's money to be concentrated on the important points in a case. With experience, a Barrister will have developed a feel for what a Judge is likely to think and say about a particular argument. This helps the Barrister to give sound, accurate advice. A good Barrister will be economical with client funds and will not embark on a course of action without a careful assessment of risk.
Andrew Granville Stafford