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Barristers are the one half of the English legal profession that tend to specialise in particular fields of law. Their day-to-day job is likely to involve more court appearances than solicitors, who make up the other (larger) branch of the legal profession. Judges in England and Wales have usually worked as barristers before. Being a barrister is also good training for being a Member of Parliament - Tony Blair was a barrister in the early 1980s.
A significant number of barristers can be found in the various Inns of Court located around London; although it is increasingly common to find their offices (or chambers) in different parts of the UK. Barristers can also be found working at law firms and organisations, which would have been unheard of twenty years ago.
One can only be a barrister by being 'called to the bar' and belonging to one of the Inns of Court. It remains a very difficult profession to enter, with a mere 35% of bar students acquiring a junior barrister or pupilage role in 2016. You might occasionally hear the term Queen's Counsel when people talk of barristers - this is the title awarded to certain senior barristers.
Inns of Court
There are four Inns of Court located in London:
The Inns of Court are towns within the city and are beautiful places to visit for lawyers and non-lawyers alike. You will typically find a church or chapel, a garden, a large hall and many offices where barristers are based. There are some apartments but this is rare. The Inns have existed since the fourteenth century because the royal courts were settled in London at that time.
Can Legal English students visit?
Yes, you can visit at various times and can find the details on the website.
If you are only able to visit one, we recommend Inner and Middle Temple which are located next to each other and where you can find the beautiful Middle Temple Hall, which was where Shakespeare's Twelfth Night was first performed in 1602 in front of Queen Elizabeth I. You will also find Temple Church of The Da Vinci Code fame within the grounds.
More international lawyers learn with Legal English UK than with any other language school. For further information about how we can help you, telephone (44)0 20 3566 0145, e-mail us or fill in the form on this page.
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