(also known as barrister-at-law
) is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdictions who works at higher levels of court. Barristers mostly specialise in courtroom advocacy and litigation. Their tasks include taking cases in superior courts
and tribunals, drafting legal pleadings, researching the philosophy, hypothesis and history of law, and giving expert legal opinions. Often, barristers are also recognised as legal scholars
Barristers are distinguished from solicitors, who have more direct access to clients, and may do transactional-type legal work. It is mainly barristers who are appointed as judges, and they are rarely hired by clients directly. In some legal systems, including those of Scotland, South Africa, Scandinavia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, the British Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, the word barrister is also regarded as an honorific title
In a few jurisdictions, barristers are usually forbidden from "conducting" litigation, and can only act on the instructions of a senior solicitor, who performs tasks such as corresponding with parties and the court, and drafting court documents. In England and Wales, barristers may seek authorisation from the Bar Standards Board to conduct litigation. This allows a barrister to practise in a 'dual capacity', fulfilling the role of both barrister and solicitor.
In some countries with common law legal systems, such as New Zealand and some regions of Australia, lawyers are entitled to practise both as barristers and solicitors, but it remains a separate system of qualification to practise exclusively as a barrister.