25 June 2017

What do I need to know about a barrister?

To be able to call themselves a barrister, a person has to have completed special training and have certain qualifications. In the sections below we explain who can call themselves a barrister, how to check that they are qualified and the different ways barristers can work.

Who can call themselves a barrister?

How can I tell if a barrister is allowed to practise?

How do barristers work?

What is a chambers?

What is an entity?

 

Who can call themselves a barrister?

 

A barrister is someone who has been Called to the Bar of England and Wales, after completing a law degree (or equivalent qualification) and the Bar Professional Training Course. People who have done the right training can call themselves a barrister, but to be able to provide certain legal services as a barrister, they have to have a practising certificate from the BSB.

If you learn that the person you are dealing with is pretending to be a barrister, you should let us know immediately. This is against the law. In some cases we may refer matters to the police.

 

How can I tell if a barrister is allowed to practise?

 

You can check if a barrister is allowed to practise by entering their name on our Barristers' Register. The register can be found on our website.

 

How do barristers work?


Many barristers are self-employed, and work with other barristers in offices called chambers. A few barristers work through a special company or partnership which we call an "entity". Some barristers are employed to work for companies and organisations, but it is unlikely you would be seeking legal help from them.

 

What is a chambers?


A chambers is a place where barristers work, either with other barristers or on their own. Although barristers are self-employed, they may work together with other barristers in the same place. You may contact a chambers about getting a barrister to work for you, and they can assign your work to a suitable barrister. 

 

What is an entity?


An entity is a company or partnership that provides legal services. These can include providing you with the service of a barrister. There are special rules that apply to entities.  The advantage of using an entity could be that if it has both barristers and solicitors working in the same entity, all your work could be taken care of in one place. However, whether a barrister works in chambers or as part of an entity should not make any difference to the service you receive as a client. Barristers who work for an entity still have to follow the same rules and have the same professional duties.