what is a barrister

The NSW Bar Association defines barristers as independent, specialist advocates who are trained to appear in a courtroom.

Are AUSTRALIAN criminal law group barristers

There are two main types of lawyers in New South Wales – barristers and solicitors.

The criminal lawyers at Australian Criminal Law Group are solicitors. Barristers are not employees of Australian Criminal Law Group but rather are independent legal practitioners who the firm engage on behalf of its clients in appropriate cases.


No. Barristers are self-employed practitioners and do not work out of solicitors’ offices. Barristers do often work alongside other barristers in ‘chambers’. Most chambers have a day-to-day manager called a clerk, who assists barristers in their relationships with solicitors and manages their diary. 

Solicitors will normally make arrangements with barristers to take clients to their chambers for conferences or, less commonly, host the barrister at their own offices for conferences with clients.

do AUSTRALIAN criminal law group use barristers on every case

Australian Criminal Law Group do not use barristers in the majority of cases due to our lawyers being specialised court advocates themselves. Barristers, especially senior counsel, also tend to be significantly more expensive than solicitors and are not always affordable for client.

Where a client requests a barrister, the case is complex, or a jury trial, we brief barristers who we know and trust to work with our solicitors as part of a handpicked legal team tailored to our clients’ needs.


In most cases, Australian Criminal Law Group does not require or recommend a barrister due to our solicitors being being specialised court advocates who appear daily in courts advocating for the courts. In this situation, the roles of a solicitor and barrister are identical.

Where we brief a barrister, however, there are differences in the respective roles of the two types of criminal lawyer.

Barristers are briefed by solicitors, who oversee the day to day carriage of a criminal case.

Typically the role of the solicitor will include:

  • To liaise with clients.
  • To prepare a client’s defence.
  • To obtain versions of relevant events from clients and their witnesses.
  • To obtain evidence to present in court.
  • To deal with and negotiate with the the police and office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
  • To appear without a barrister at all court appearances but for the final court date, for example, a trial, sentence or bail application.
  • To appear at the final court appearance (for example, a trial, sentence or bail application) instructing the barrister on the evidence against a client and the evidence obtained to assist their client.
Typically the role of the barrister will include:
  • To liaise with the solicitor about the preparation of a criminal case.
  • To attend ‘conferences’ with the client with the solicitor, usually, at the later stages of a criminal case.
  • To provide advice on questions of law that arise during a criminal case.
  • To draft submissions for in the inclusion or exclusion of evidence.
  • To present a criminal case, on behalf of the client, to the court (magistrates, judges, and juries) with the assistance of the solicitor.

    why do i need a barrister if i have a solicitor

    There are many reasons that solicitors and barristers in Sydney work together to represent clients. These include the combination allowing for the specialist knowledge that our solicitors have in preparing criminal cases, and the specialist advocacy that barristers provide on the day of bail, trial, or sentence proceedings. 

    Of equal importance is that the combination of a barrister and solicitor in larger cases allow clients to spend less money on legal fees. This is especially so for a firm such as Australian Criminal Law Group. With its significant resources clients are not charged barrister’s rates for the bulk of their criminal proceedings.

    What is senior counsel, queens counsel, & kings counsel

    Senior counsel are barristers who have demonstrated outstanding skill as advocates and
    advisers in the administration of justice. Known informally as ‘silks’, they work on particularly complex or difficult cases. Senior Counsel are also sometimes referred to as Kings Counsel or Queens Counsel.

    who are the best barristers in Sydney

    There are many excellent barristers in Sydney and this list is not intended to be conclusive but rather inform people of barristers that have been recognised in an industry poll in 2023 for their recent work and expertise in criminal law matters.

    1. Phillip Boulten SC, Forbes Chambers

    2. Tim Game SC, Forbes Chambers

    3. Philip Strickland SC, Forbes Chambers

    4. Bret Walker SC, Fifth Floor St James Hall

    5. Gabrielle Bashir SC, Forbes Chambers

    6. Grant Brady SC, Forbes Chambers

    7. Margaret Cunneen SC, State Chambers

    8. Matthew Johnston SC, Forbes Chambers

    9. April Francis, Forbes Chambers

    10. Steven Boland, Hyde Park Chambers

    11. Angela Cook, Forbes Chambers

    12. Avni Djemal, Sir Owen Dixon Chambers

    13. Slade Howell, Forbes Chambers

    14. Arjun Chhabra, Maurice Byers Chambers

    15. Lisa-Claire Hutchinson, Forbes Chambers

    16. Jack Pappas, Empire Chambers

    In addition, at Australian Criminal Law Group, we hold the barristers that follow in high regard due to the exceptional results that they achieve for their clients.  

    1. Greg James KC, Garfield Barwick Chambers

    2. Stephen Odgers SC, Forbes Chambers

    3. Simon Buchen SC, Forbes Chambers

    4. Dean Jordan SC, Forbes Chambers

    5. Troy Edwards SC, Forbes Chambers

    6. Douglas Marr

    7. Rebecca McMahon, Forbes Chambers

    8. Sheridan Goodwin, Samuel Griffiths Chambers

    9. Alissa Moen, Sir Owen Dixon Chambers

    10. Sue Klass, Trust Chambers

    11. Allan Goldsworthy, Trust Chambers

    12. Leah Rowan

    Australian Criminal Law Group is able to brief any barrister you choose, pending their availability. The NSW Bar Association Website has a find a barrister search function on its website, as well as list of all barrister’s chambers in NSW.

    what rules must barristers and solicitors follow

    The overriding duty of solicitors and barristers is to the court and is to act with independence in the interests of the administration of justice.

    The Barristers Rules and Solicitors Rules set out the principles of professional conduct, including the duty to act honestly, fairly and bravely for their clients, regardless of personal beliefs.

    why use Australian criminal law group to choose a barrister

    Our criminal lawyers only instruct the best barristers from the finest criminal law chambers in Sydney. We have exceptional relationships with barristers. We can identify the most suitable barrister to deal with your case for a price that you can afford.

    Contact us on (02) 8815 8167 or make a website enquiry here.


    NSW Bar Association, What is a barrister: https://nswbar.asn.au/using-barristers/what-is-a-barrister

    Legal Profession Uniform Law Australian Solicitors’ Conduct Rules 2015: https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/sl-2015-0244#sec.38

    Doyles Guide Leading Criminal Law Senior Counsel 2023: https://doylesguide.com/leading-criminal-law-senior-counsel-australia-2023/

    Doyles Guide Leading Criminal Law Junior Counsel 2023: https://doylesguide.com/leading-criminal-law-junior-counsel-australia-2023/


    This information is intended as a general guide to law only.  It should not be relied on as legal advice, and it is recommended that you speak with a qualified lawyer about your situation.

    Australian Criminal Law Group and its suppliers make every reasonable effort to ensure the accuracy and validity of the information provided on its web pages. At the time of updating, this information was correct, however, given the laws in NSW and Australia are continually changing, the Australian Criminal Law Group makes no warranties or representations as to its accuracy.



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