Why Do I Need a Barrister/Counsel as Well as a Solicitor?

Table of Content

Why Do I Need a BarristerCounsel as Well as a Solicitor solicitor

Navigating the legal landscape can be complex and often requires the expertise of both a solicitor and a barrister.  

While it might seem redundant to involve two legal professionals, each has distinct roles and specialisations that together provide comprehensive legal representation. Here, we explore the reasons why engaging both a solicitor and a barrister can be crucial for your legal matters.


1. Specialisation and Expertise


  • Client Interaction: Solicitors are typically the first point of contact for clients. They manage client relationships, provide initial legal advice and handle the preparation of case documents. 
  • Breadth of Knowledge: Solicitors often have a broad understanding of various legal fields and are well-equipped to offer general legal advice and services, from drafting contracts to managing real estate transactions. 
  • Process and Procedure: Solicitors will manage the administration of your matter and interactions with all third parties, such as counsel, consultants, the Court and other regulatory bodies. 


  • Specialist Advocacy: Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy and litigation. They are experts in presenting cases in court, cross-examining witnesses and making legal arguments. 
  • Focused Expertise: Barristers often focus on specific areas of law, allowing them to develop deeper expertise. They provide specialised opinions and represent clients in complex legal proceedings. 


2.The Two-Tier System of Legal Representation

The UK legal system operates a two-tier system of legal representation, where solicitors and barristers have distinct roles but work collaboratively: 

  • Preparation vs. Presentation: Solicitors handle the preparatory work, such as gathering evidence, liaising with clients, and managing case files. Barristers take over when a case goes to court, leveraging their advocacy skills to represent clients effectively. 
  • Efficiency: This division allows for efficient handling of cases, with solicitors managing the groundwork and barristers focusing on court proceedings. 
  • Distance: The separation of roles means counsel have “distance” from the client and generally no direct contact.  This assists and aids them in providing independent and impartial advice. 


3. Access to Specialist Advice

Solicitors often seek the advice of barristers for complex or niche areas of law. Barristers provide detailed opinions on specific legal issues, helping to shape the strategy and direction of a case. This collaboration ensures that clients receive the best possible legal guidance. 


4. Advocacy and Courtroom Skills

Barristers are trained extensively in advocacy and are accustomed to the courtroom environment. Their skills in arguing cases, examining witnesses and persuading judges and juries are crucial for a successful outcome in litigation. 


5. Cost-Effective Solutions 

Engaging a barrister through a solicitor can be more cost-effective than it appears. Solicitors can handle the majority of the case preparation at a lower cost, while barristers are brought in as needed for their specialist skills. This can result in a more economical approach than relying solely on a solicitor. 


6. Strategic Collaboration 

The combination of solicitors and barristers allows for a well-rounded legal strategy. Solicitors provide continuity and a broad overview of the case, while barristers contribute specialised knowledge and courtroom experience. This teamwork can significantly enhance the chances of a favourable outcome. 

Having both a solicitor and a barrister on your legal team ensures that you benefit from comprehensive legal services. Solicitors provide essential groundwork and client management, while barristers offer specialised advocacy and detailed legal opinions. This collaborative approach leverages the strengths of both roles, providing clients with robust and effective legal representation. 


Interested in learning more? For a fourth year, Bill Barton and a panel of construction experts answered your burning construction and engineering questions in: ‘20 Brilliant Construction and Engineering Questions and Answers from Industry Experts’. 


For expert legal advice and representation in construction and commercial property matters, contact Barton Legal.  

Please note, this article and any accompanying video or presentation are for educational and marketing purposes only. It must not be used for giving advice in any shape or form, and it is not a substitute for legal advice. The author does not accept responsibility for loss howsoever occasioned to any person or persons acting or refraining from action as a result of this material.