As far as legal matters are concerned, people always get confused between the terminologies used for describing different legal professionals. Even though barristers and solicitors are not really unheard of and people have definitely used the services of these professionals before, when it comes to differentiating between the two, a lot of people are left racking their brains and scratching their heads!
In order to understand the difference between a solicitor and a barrister, it is necessary to first understand the basic definition of the two. A solicitor can be defined as an individual who seeks contributions and trade. This kind of professional is mostly a chief law officer of a government department, a town or a city. A solicitor never acts as an advocate in courtrooms, i.e. they never plead on behalf of their clients in the courtroom. A barrister, on the other hand, is an advocate who fights cases on behalf of their clients and also plead in the courtroom whenever required. Thus, from the definition itself it is quite clear that barristers and solicitors are worlds apart and their jobs are extremely distinct from one another too!
Conventionally, people always seek the services of a solicitor when they are in need of legal advice. If you are trying to build your case and you are having a tough time at it then a good solicitor would prove to be immensely useful because they can help you by figuring things out on your behalf. These professionals would examine the weaknesses and strengths of your case and also give you an idea of the odds of winning the case. Charges that should be solved in courtrooms are generally highly intricate in nature, therefore it calls for the expert services of a reliable solicitor to take care of the case including the charges and the legal documents required. A solicitor is also capable of representing you in case of country courts and magistrates’ court. However, for ahigher court, you will require the services of a solicitor-advocate.
Barristers (exaples in Poland are Radca Prawny (radca rybnik and Adwokat), on the other hand, specialize in advocacy, so they naturally make a better choice when it comes to the task of presentation of cases in courts because these professionals have superior expertise and experience. Also, in the event the case reaches the higher courts then your barrister would be able to continue representing you there too. Generally, it is the solicitor who hires or employs the barrister to represent his/her client in the court. Thus, the solicitor acts as a middleman here. Alternatively, it is also possible to hire a barrister for oneself without the need of going through a solicitor first; although this may be a more cost-effective solution, but it does not build up the case strongly because this task is not the forte of a barrister.
Now that you are clear about the job responsibilities of a barrister and a solicitor, there may be another possible question revolving in your head: which should I choose? Well, the choice of lawyer that an individual makes is definitely going to depend on several factors. If you want to build up a strong case and you want a professional’s help for this then a solicitor has to be employed first so that they can create the base and construct a very strong case before hiring a good barrister to handle the case from there. From then on, it will be the barrister who takes care of court case. If you are not sure about the law yourself then it would not make sense for you to hire a barrister only.
Ultimately, the choice of going with a barrister only or having the help of a solicitor too is going to be dependent on the complexity of one’s case. A complex or challenging case always call for attention to details and for this, there is no one better than a solicitor who would be able to fine tune the case. Thus, even though this may be a more expensive move, but it is worth it in the long run. Now, if you already are knowledgeable about law then you can get to the main point and have a direct approach by simply hiring a barrister and getting started with the case.
Because it is the solicitor who builds up the case and not the barrister, therefore, people tend to think that the former is more experienced than the latter. The truth is that both these types of lawyers are equally professional and experienced as both possess the right training and qualifications. Thus, none is superior amongst the two even though a barrister may just specialize in a single area of law, a solicitor generally specialize in more than one areas. It is hard to draw comparison between the two because their job profiles are completely different. While the solicitor works as a litigator and is useful for the initial process of building up the court case, the barrister is useful for the latter portion of the case.