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In English Law, an attorney who has an exclusive right of argument in all the superior courts.

A barrister is a counselor who is learned in law and who has been admitted to plead at the bar. A barrister drafts the pleadings in all cases, with the exception of the simplest ones. Distinguished from an attorney, which is an English lawyer who conducts matters out of court, a barrister engages in the actual argument of cases or the conduct of the trial.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. in the United States a fancy name for a lawyer or attorney. In Great Britain, there is a two-tier bar made up of solicitors who perform all legal tasks except appearance in court and barristers, who try cases. Some solicitors will "take the silk" (quaint expression) and become barristers. (See: solicitor)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


a member of the Bar, the professional body of barristers, also known as counsel. If the counsel has ‘taken silk’ to become a QC - Queen's Counsel (or KC, King's Counsel when the monarch is male) then counsel is designated as Senior Counsel. The barrister becomes such by virtue of being called to one of the Inns of Court (Lincoln's Inn, Inner Temple, Middle Temple and Gray's Inn). The barrister's liability for mistakes is now the same as that of other professional persons. The barrister is bound by the cab rank principle by which any barrister in practice must accept any instructions to appear before a court on a subject that he professes to practise and at a proper fee. He has a duty to the court that is paramount, so is not in any sense a ‘mouthpiece’. His fees are an honorarium, not a contractually due payment, so he cannot sue for them but may refer a defaulting solicitor to the LAW SOCIETY. Barristers are represented by the BAR COUNCIL. Similar terminology is used in the Republic of Ireland. There, however, a Senior Counsel is a person called to the Inner Bar by the Chief Justice with the approval of the government and is designated SC. For Scotland, see ADVOCATE.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

BARRISTER, English law. A counsellor admitted to plead at the bar.
     2. Ouster barrister, is one who pleads ouster or without the bar.
     3. Inner barrister, a sergeant or king's counsel who pleads within the bar.
     4. Vacation barrister, a counsellor newly called to the bar, who is to attend for several long vacations the exercise of the house.
     5. Barristers are called apprentices, apprentitii ad legem, being looked upon as learners, and not qualified until they obtain the degree of sergeant. Edmund Plowden, the author of the Commentaries, a volume of elaborate reports in the reigns of Edward VI., Mary, Philip and Mary, and Elizabeth, describes himself as an apprentice of the common law.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in classic literature ?
Then the barrister said in a lower voice, which seemed at once sympathetic and creepy: "Did you see it distinctly?"
When Father Brown began, in his simplicity, to say who he thought the man in the passage was, the barrister told him that he did not want his theories.
"A panel?" repeated the barrister in a curious voice.
Now, in my opinion, the barrister who put forward this extraordinary plea was probably absolutely convinced that he was stating the most liberal, the most humane, the most enlightened view of the case that could possibly be brought forward in these days.
When his interview with the barrister was over, it was too late to go back to the office.
He settled the spectacles, through which he had attentively regarded such demonstrations of the barrister's feelings as he had permitted himself to exhibit, more firmly on his nose; and said with great energy, and in utter disregard of all Mr.
Although an infant barrister, he was a full-grown man.
The barrister who has his case at his fingers' ends and is able to argue with an expert upon his own subject finds that a week or two of the courts will drive it all out of his head once more.
TOP barristers prosecuting criminal trials on behalf of the State are threatening to go on strike even though they are in the country's best-paid profession.
<' Vinesh Mandalia - No5 Barristers Chambers '<B John Randall QC - St Philips Chambers
I have now read the sound legal opinion written by Mohamed Tito Kamara (LLB (Hons); LLM (Barristers) from BPP London, presenting that the newly nominated Ombudsman, Miss Lois Anita Kawa is not qualified to be appointed Ombudsman of the Republic of Sierra Leone.