Chester & Cheshire

What is the difference between a barrister and a solicitor?

Most people, upon first look, will not understand the differences in choosing a barrister and a solicitor. We will take a look at the two professions and outline the key differences so you can make an educated choice. 

What is a barrister?

A barrister is a legal professional who is qualified and can offer you specialist advice whilst they are also representing, advocating and defending a client in a court case or a tribunal. 

Lots of barristers will have specialised in a particular area of law, whilst others are more general and cover a variety of areas. 

What is a solicitor?

A solicitor is a legal practitioner who is qualified. They are responsible for getting legal documents ready in the run-up to and during a court case. 

Solicitors Chester can provide you with specialist legal advice on contentious (a dispute) and non-contentious topics to their clients in various fields of law. 

What is the difference between a solicitor and a barrister?

To put it very simply, a barrister tends to be an advocate, representing a client during court, and a solicitor tends to carry out most of their work in a law firm or an office. However, there are exceptions to this in both. 

In an advocacy perspective, the line between these two has become a lot more blurred in recent years. Solicitors can gain something called ‘rights of audience’ which means that they can actually represent their clients in court. 

So, solicitors can now perform many things which a barrister can, but only up to a certain degree. Barristers can work at a much higher level of court in comparison to a solicitor. 

Even though solicitors have this right of audience, most of them still do their work behind the scenes, carrying out tasks such as:

  • Providing advice to those who come to them with legal issues

  • Holding negotiations between different parties who are trying to come to an agreement

  • Creating drafts and looking over legal documents such as contracts and wills

Members of the public are always free to contact a solicitor if they need one. But this is not always true for contacting a barrister. In a straightforward case, a barrister can be instructed if the client goes through the Public Access Scheme. 

Public access is available for all work a barrister can do, except for involving work funded with legal aid, and it is unlikely to get one for cases to do with children. 

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