Instructing an English barrister as a non-UK lawyer
Our barristers can help you on matters of English and international law. The section below explains how barristers work with lawyers and clients in the international market and discusses:
Introduction to barristers
The hallmarks of the Bar of England and Wales are independence and excellence in advocacy. Barristers are expert advocates specialised in one or more particular sectors and offer a high degree of knowledge, skill and expertise in their fields of practice. In short, they are trained to present a case to a court or tribunal in the most attractive manner. Barristers are also specialised in providing written advice to clients on a wealth of legal issues. Their expertise in advocacy means they are in high demand in the international legal market.
The work of a barrister
Barristers are adept at presenting the client’s case in litigation and arbitration. A barrister will draft documents in which their client’s case is set out and assist in the preparation of appropriate witness statements setting out the evidence relied upon. They will then consider the underlying documents and advise upon how electronic documents can be most efficiently searched and organised. They can also assist in finding appropriate expert witnesses, advise on the strengths or weaknesses of the approach taken by a particular expert witness, and represent the client at important interim hearings in which the client’s case is managed by the court or other tribunal. At the trial or hearing a barrister will present their client’s case in oral and written submissions and, where oral witness evidence is given, cross-examine the witnesses in order to test their veracity. At all stages a barrister will give objective and independent advice as to the prospects of success, what evidence is necessary to prove their client’s case and will identify any weaknesses in the case. A barrister will advise on strategy from the outset, drawing upon his or her considerable experience of litigation and /or arbitration.
The relationship between barristers and solicitors
Barristers and solicitors traditionally provided distinct and complementary legal services, with solicitors having conduct of the case and bringing in a barrister’s expertise to conduct a trial and/or to advise on points of law. Changes in recent years, however, have made for much more overlap and barristers are now able to provide many of the same services to solicitors.
English solicitors and firms of foreign lawyers frequently instruct specialist barristers to advise upon points of law, prospects of success and/or on the best approach to a case. Law firms may instruct a particular barrister because they are an expert in the field, or they may wish to gain a fresh and independent view on an issue which may have become sensitive within the firm, or between the firm and a client.
The services our barristers can provide
Our barristers provide clients with high quality legal advice and act as clients’ advocates before national and international courts and tribunals. Our barristers can assist you and your clients with a wide range of legal issues (see ‘our practice areas’ below) before, during and after litigation, as well as with non-litigious matters. As a foreign lawyer, you can instruct one or more of our barristers to assist with the whole of a case, or simply to undertake a discrete piece of work.
How to instruct a barrister
International lawyers and clients can instruct barristers directly, without an intermediary. Accessing the services of barristers from outside England and Wales is easy. Details can be found at www.barcouncil.org.uk/instructing-a-barrister/information-forinternational-clients. Essentially, all you need to do in the first instance is to contact our team of clerks on +44 207 797 8400.
Advantages of using a barrister
It is worth using a barrister whenever you require a skilled advocate, or when you need independent and specialist advice on any question of English, international or EU law.
Barristers are renowned internationally for their skills as advocates. Entry to the Bar is based solely on merit – it is a highly selective and very competitive profession. Barristers compete for each case not only with each other, but often also with English solicitors and lawyers from other jurisdictions. Barristers learn the skills of case presentation, cross-examination, drafting and advisory work through specialist training methods and extensive practical experience. As specialist advocates, barristers are likely to have spent a greater proportion of their time using such skills than many other lawyers. They have a wealth of experience to draw upon when guiding their clients through the many challenges of litigation and arbitration.
Value for money
Barristers in independent practice are sole practitioners. As at Six Pump Court, they generally operate from a set of ‘chambers‘, which provides support services to its members. An important distinguishing feature of chambers is that barristers who practise in this way do not share profits or liabilities but merely expenses. Being sole practitioners, as opposed to large firms, barristers’ overheads are generally lower. As a result their rates tend to be very competitive. No fee structure is imposed on them, giving them the flexibility to agree fees according to the work involved in each case and the needs and resources of the client.
Barristers are renowned for their ability to provide independent and objective advice. Barristers, as independent practitioners who work on a case-by-case basis, can give clients challenging but accurate advice, always focussing on the best interests of the client.
The ability to instruct barristers directly, without an intermediary, for a specific piece of advice, no matter how small or large, provides clients and overseas lawyers with immediate access to the skills the Bar can offer in a way that suits their needs.
Being self-employed, barristers are flexible and operate like consultants. They are flexible in their working methods and can fully accommodate particular clients’ needs. The availability of direct personal contact with the advocate ensures a good working relationship.
As trial lawyers, barristers get to see and understand how a particular transaction, contract, evidence or a line of argument is perceived by a court or an arbitral panel. This enables them to apply that experience and knowledge when advising upon case strategy and risk, as well as in relation to the drafting of documents and many other fields of non-contentious work. In short, barristers’ unrivalled experience in court means they know better than anyone what works, and what does not work.
Being self-employed, barristers are flexible and can work together as a team alongside other legal and non-legal professionals. Many cases require lawyers from one or more jurisdictions to work together as a team. Barristers can be instructed to work as part of such a team in a way that is tailored to the client’s requirements. A senior barrister, or even a Queen’s Counsel (QC) can be instructed to head a team of lawyers drawn from different jurisdictions and to present a case before the court or other tribunal. Other barristers can be instructed as part of the team to work on particular aspects of the case, according to the client’s needs.
Expertise at Six Pump Court
Six Pump Court is consistently rated as one of the top sets of Chambers in the country by the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners. We pride ourselves on having an international outlook, and many of our barristers are experienced in appearing before international courts and tribunals all over the world. Some of our barristers also work regularly in other jurisdictions, notably in Ireland, Scotland and France. Furthermore, few Chambers offer a greater breadth of expertise than Six Pump Court. Our barristers are highly skilled and ready to assist you in all of our practice areas.
Chambers’ expertise in these areas extends beyond the national realm and covers many aspects of EU and international law.