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Instructing a Barrister by a Foreign Lawyer or Business based outside the UK

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The Bar is a profession of independent legal experts who usually practise from offices known as chambers.

In broad terms, barristers are able to receive direct instructions from lawyers, businesses or individuals based outside the UK.  However, for domestic work in England and Wales barristers are normally required to receive instructions through solicitors on a referral basis.

If you are:

  • a foreign lawyer; or
  • a business based outside the UK

involved in any dispute or potential litigation in the UK, then you may wish to contact a barrister first in relation to your case.

This is because a barrister specialising in the relevant area of law will be able to give you an initial assessment of your case at a very competitive rate.  In relation to the various areas of law that fall within the work of the Chancery Bar, a member of the Chancery Bar Association will be able to provide you with this advice.

If proceedings are to be commenced in England and Wales, then it will also be necessary for you to instruct a solicitor.  This is because you will be unable to instruct a barrister direct in relation to such proceedings.  However, a barrister providing you with an initial assessment of you case should be able to help you identify a suitable firm of solicitors to instruct for any court proceedings.

There is more information for international clients on the Bar Council’s website.

More about Barristers

If you wish to instruct a barrister, you may also find it helpful to know that:

  • Barristers are divided into Queen’s Counsel (QCs or silks) and juniors.  All barristers who are not QCs are known as juniors.  Appointment as a QC is a recognition of expertise and excellence in advocacy.
  • Barristers can be instructed alone or to form part of a team and their role can be tailored to the client’s requirements.
  • Most barristers are individual practitioners who are self-employed. They join together to share premises and expenses.  These groups of barristers are called sets of chambers.  Sets of chambers have their own websites.
  • If an individual barrister has been identified, it is possible to instruct him or her by speaking to their clerk.  The clerk looks after the barrister’s commitments and can provide further information as to fees and availability.
  • Even if it is not possible to identify an individual barrister in advance, those seeking to instruct a barrister can contact the clerk at a chosen chambers.  The clerk will be able to recommend an individual member of chambers who is most appropriate to work on the case bearing in mind its value, subject matter and complexity, together with the barrister's availability.
  • Individual barristers and chambers are recommended by publications such as Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500.

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