There are all kinds of situations when you may need the help of
a barrister. They do a wide range of work and help a wide range of
people. If you are unsure whether a barrister can help you, it is
best to talk to him or her. They can give you advice on whether
your problem is one that they can help with. A barrister may or may
not charge for giving you this advice - it is up to the barrister
whether they do or not. You should always ask the barrister if they
will charge you for their advice, and if they do, to agree a price
What is a legal problem?
What kind of problems do barristers help
What is the difference between a barrister
and a solicitor, and which one do I need?
What can I ask a barrister to do for me?
What can't a barrister do for me?
Sometimes it will be obvious that you need legal advice or help
- if someone sues you, you are arrested or you are charged with
committing a crime. But there are times when it is more difficult
Some common situations where you may need legal help or advice
Sometimes you may not have a problem yet, but if you think a
legal problem may arise you can seek advice on how to prevent it
A barrister can help with problems where you need advice on your
legal rights, draft legal documents for you and represent you in a
court or tribunal.
There are two main types of lawyers in England and Wales -
barristers and solicitors. Neither type is "better" or more senior
than the other, but they are trained differently and do different
kinds of work.
Your first port of call will usually be a solicitor.
They will work directly with you to help you resolve your
legal problems. This means they will meet with you, work out what
the case is, sort out necessary paperwork, and communicate with
others involved in your case. If the case needs to go to court, a
solicitor will often instruct a barrister to advise about the law,
or to go to court and represent you.
However, it is also possible for you to go straight to a
barrister if you are sure this is the type of lawyer you need. Some
barristers are specially registered to work directly for members of
the public. These barristers are known as "public access"
See section"How do I find a barrister?"to find out when and why
you might want to go directly to a barrister.
There are a number of different activities or
types of work a barrister can do for you. Here are some
Some barristers are unable to undertake the formal process of
taking your case to court. However, some barristers are authorised
to do this. This process is known as "conducting
Conducting litigation includes such things as filing documents
at court and serving documents on others. "Serving documents" on
another person means an official handing over of those
documents to them.
These kinds of tasks are usually done by a solicitor. However,
if you are using a public access barrister you may need to do these
things yourself. Your barrister can explain what you would need to
do and what they can do for you.
For more information on public access barristers and what they
can and cannot do, see the guidance
on our website.