In England and Wales the legal system constitutes of barristers and solicitors. There is a fine line between the two legal professions. The solicitor directly and exclusively has access to the lay client, and also selects and instructs the barrister who is prohibited from dealing directly with the client. The barrister is an officer of the court who acts on behalf of a client, he or she is a lawyer who has been admitted to plead at the bar, which means that he or she has been called to the bar by the benchers of one of the four Inns of Court (Middle Temple, Inner Temple, Gray’s Inn and Lincoln’s Inn).
They are required to attain a second-class honours degree, and attend the Inns of Court School of Law, or other validated Bar Vocational Course provider, for a one year term and pass the bar final exams. Once they pass the bar exams the call is followed by a one-year pupilage in chambers. This process allows the novice lawyer to benefit from associating and attending court with an experienced barrister. The role of barristers in the legal system is to ensure that justice is provided to their clients with the best representation, in the forum of the court before the judge. The primary duty of the barrister is to the court and therefore to justice. Basically, the barrister is allowed to appear in court to argue a client’s case. Barristers are prohibited from incorporating or joining together as partners.
They are not allowed to form partnerships but a number of barristers may make up a set of chambers as sole practitioners, and perhaps share a clerk who serves other barristers. Technically, a barrister is given an honorarium not a fee, or a salary in return for the advocacy services provided to the client. Clients cannot approach the barrister directly they contact solicitors who basically brief the barrister. The honorarium is paid to the solicitor who in turn pays it to the barrister. The client cannot be sued by the barrister for the honorarium. There are many barristers in the UK that are listed on SearchMe4, the UK’s leading online business directory.
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