How to become a Barrister

A barrister is a qualified lawyer who advises and represents individuals, businesses, and government agencies on complex legal issues and disputes. Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy and litigation. A barrister provides legal advice and drafts documents in complex matters. They conduct negotiations and appear in courts and tribunal hearings on behalf of clients. Generally, the barrister is briefed by a solicitor, who instructs the barrister on behalf of a company or private person when a case requires specialist expertise or advocacy skills. A barrister may also undertake research and consult with clients and witnesses. Barristers wear wigs and gowns in some courts, while solicitors do not. It is common to practise as a solicitor for a few years before becoming a barrister.

Personal requirements for a Barrister

  • a high level of academic ability
  • intimate knowledge of the law
  • excellent communication and advocacy skills
  • good research and writing skills
  • the ability to analyse large amounts of information
  • a logical approach and a high level of attention to detail
  • the ability to work well under pressure
  • high standards of ethics and professional conduct.

Education & Training for a Barrister

Barristers are qualified lawyers. To become a lawyer you usually have to complete a degree in law at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent with English.In some states of Australia, you can also become a lawyer by completing a Diploma in Law, followed by a period of practical legal training. Barristers have to undertake Bar examinations in addition to completing a degree in law and practical legal training.All lawyers working in Australia must obtain a Local Practising Certificate, which may be granted after the successful completion of a law degree, plus further study and an approved practical training course. After this training, you can apply to the Supreme Court for admission as a lawyer. To be eligible for admission you must satisfy the requirements of the appropriate legal admission board. To work as a barrister you must have a Barrister's Practising Certificate, which requires further study and examination by the appropriate State Bar association or other relevant body.Lawyers, solicitors and barristers must be of good character and abide by strict professional rules to be admitted and to be allowed to continue practising law.

Duties & Tasks of a Barrister


  • Receive written information in the form of briefs and verbal instructions concerning cases from Solicitors, other specialist Legal Professionals and clients
  • Provide advice and written opinions on points of lawconferring with clients and witnesses in preparation for court proceedings
  • Draw up pleadings, affidavits and other court documents
  • Research statutes and previous court decisions relevant to cases
  • Outline the facts to the court, calling and questioning witnesses, and making addresses to the court to argue a client's case
  • Provide opinion on complex legal issues
  • May draw up or settle documentsBarristers usually specialise in a particular area of law - for example, family law, environmental law, commercial law or criminal law.Crown Prosecutors are experienced criminal barristers who are appointed to work exclusively for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and are allocated the most serious and complex matters.

Working conditions for a Barrister

Working hours are often long and may include evenings and weekends.In private practice, barristers are self-employed and usually share chambers with other barristers.They divide time between chambers and court.Employed barristers are based at their employer's offices and would travel to meetings, court or tribunals as necessary. In court, barristers wear a wig and gown.

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