barrister(redirected from barristers-at-law)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial, Encyclopedia.
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.
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)
barristera 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.
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.