As is the case with many people engaging in legal discussion, it is often difficult to understand the difference between a lawyer and a barrister. Knowing the circumstances that require each professional is another question that is likely to be raised.

The legal system can be a quite a complex one and often in times of need you are stressed or anxious and unsure of what to do. Having a basic understanding in the first place is a great starting point.

Below is a quick guide outlining the difference between a barrister and a solicitor, the benefits of each and when or if you are likely to need one. If you do need one, it’s best to find the leading lawyers in your area.

What is the difference?

A criminal barrister and a lawyer both graduate university with the same degree but it is after this that their roles and qualifications can change. A law student has the option of entering a law firm and deciding to specialise or focus on general matters and hence remain a lawyer.

The alternative is to become a barrister through further studies that provide more detail and a greater legal depth of knowledge. As a result, they will spend the majority of their time in court.

In spending the majority of their time in court, they are rarely hired by a client. A barrister is only called upon by the client or their attorney in serious cases that are expected to spend a significant amount of time in court.

What are the benefits?

A criminal barrister is able to provide a higher quality and depth of information to clients, and in some instances to the lawyers, throughout the case. They have more extensive qualifications and specialise in the functioning’s of the court.

When it comes to the court case, your lawyer will have collected evidence and advised you on the situation in as much depth as is necessary. The additional and likely beneficial step is that a barrister is able to advise your attorney on what evidence is going to be best and how to best present it in court as a result of further training and depth of knowledge.

A barrister will speak on behalf of you and your lawyer in order to get the best message across to the judge and the jury and achieve a more positive outcome. They become the front person for your case and aid to delve deeper than a lawyer may be able to due to advanced legal knowledge.

There are a few more common reasons as to why a barrister may be hired by a lawyer or client;

  • Handle court applications
  • Assist in the drafting of court documents
  • To appear at trial with the client and solicitor
  • Provide additional understanding or complex legal matters
  • Conduct engaging and damning arguments in the court of law

When is one required?

In most instances, a criminal barrister will not be required as the case is either unlikely to go to court of the charges being faced are not very serious. In cases of general level charges, a solicitor will be able to effectively represent you.

However, in more serious cases, a lawyer may feel that a barrister is required in order to best navigate the case and achieve a successful outcome. Some examples of these more difficult situations include; murder, rape or any other sexual assault claims which all come with serious penalties.

For whatever legal proceedings are in front of you, your lawyer will put in place the best possible practices. Much like solicitors, barristers also specialise in various areas of law and so hiring one with experience in similar cases is going to get the best outcome.

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