How to find a barrister


Barristers are legal professionals who specialise in presenting legal cases in court.

In this respect they differ from solicitors, who deal with all legal matters and negotiations outside of court. The technical difference is that whilst solicitors may act on behalf of their client, barristers may only act upon instruction.

The Bar

The Bar of England and Wales is the name given to the 15,000 or so barristers who practice in England and Wales. This number is comprised of:

  • Around 12,000 self-employed barristers
  • Around 3,000 employed barristers

Barristers in England and Wales are represented collectively by The Bar Council, but must also belong to one of four professional associations, known in England and Wales as the Inns of Court.


In addition to the title of barrister, around ten per cent of the most senior and experienced barristers are appointed to be one of the Monarch’s ‘learned in the law’, and are thereafter known as ‘Queen’s Counsel’, or QCs. Typically a QC will have at least 15 years’ experience at the Bar.

Barristers are independent legal advisors and specialists at representing a client’s case in court. They are skilled at argument, and will analyse your case to advance its strongest points forcefully, whilst attempting to play down any weaknesses. In our adversarial court system, barristers must also cross-examine witnesses to expose flaws in evidence.

Barristers are able to provide unique expert legal advice on the strengths of a particular case, offering their opinion on whether a case could succeed in court based upon their experience.

Barristers work either:

  • Independently
  • In groups in a practice known as ‘chambers’

Finding a barrister

Usually members of the public are not allowed to contact a barrister directly, but it is possible to approach a barrister if they have taken a special course that enables them to do what is called Public Access work. Contact Law can put in you touch with these barristers in your area, or a solicitor that is local to you who can in turn provide you with the service of a barrister they know is reputable.

Barristers also exist in Northern Ireland where they can be Queen's Counsel (QCs) or Junior Counsel. Queen's Counsel are barristers who have earned a high reputation and are appointed by the Queen as senior advocates and advisers.

Despite the misleading name, Junior Counsel are often very experienced barristers.

And if you are in Scotland, a barrister is referred to as an advocate, but there are differences in how advocates operate in Scotland. Your solicitor will be able to give you more help and information about a barrister you can use in Scotland.

Have more unanswered questions? See our FAQ page on barristers.

Contact Law works with a number of highly experienced barristers around the UK to whom we can refer your case. Our barristers come with high recommendations from our previous clients due to their successful outcomes in previous cases. Please call us on 0800 046 1463 or complete the web-form above.

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