Using barristers


what is a barrister?

In New South Wales, there are two main types of lawyers – barristers and solicitors. Barristers specialise in court work and advice. Barristers cannot form any business association with partners which might compromise, or even appear to compromise, their independence. Nor are they tied to any particular client. A barrister can appear for a company or the government one day and against it the next.

What is a senior counsel?

Senior counsel are barristers who work on particularly complex or difficult cases. Prior to 1993 in New South Wales such barristers were known as a QC or queen's counsel.

Find a Barrister is an online database with the contact details of those barristers who are members of the New South Wales Bar Association with current practising certificates, and who have agreed to their details being made available. The Find a Barrister database also identifies, where applicable, the clerk of each barrister. 

Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Various forms of negotiation are used in  alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and an experienced neutral third person can be used to facilitate negotiations to help the parties resolve their dispute. The person facilitating the negotiation does not usually advise on or determine issues being negotiated or the outcome of the process, but may advise on or determine the process of the negotiation.

BarADR is an initiative of the New South Wales Bar Association to provide solicitors, in-house counsel and members of the public with access to barristers trained and accredited in the alternative dispute resolution processes of mediation, arbitration and expert determination.

direct briefing by in-house counsel

Direct briefing occurs where a corporate or government lawyer briefs a barrister directly, without using an external solicitor. Any in-house lawyer with a current practising certificate can directly brief a barrister.

Legal assistance

The Bar Association offers  legal assistance to people in need of helpOur schemes reflect the strongly held view of the bar that a person's rights and access to justice should not be diminished because they have little or no money.

Working with barristers

Courteous and efficient interaction between barristers and solicitors is essential in order to meet the needs of clients. The Law Society of NSW publishes Working with Barristers, which sets out the respective roles and the expectations each will have of the other in serving the mutual client. View the publication here.


All barristers in New South Wales are bound by the  Legal Profession Uniform Law legislation. In the first instance, complaints should be addressed in writing to the  Office of the Legal Services Commissioner. If you wish to discuss a matter involving a barrister, prior to lodging a formal complaint in writing with the OLSC, you can phone them on (02) 9377 1800 or Freecall 1800 242 958 (outside Sydney, Australia only). Alternatively, you may contact the Bar Association's Professional Conduct Department.

Gender Equitable Briefing Policy

The Bar Association supports a fair, equitable, dynamic, inclusive and diverse Bar which continues to attract and retain the best male and female talent. One way it does this is by actively promoting the aims of the National Model Gender Equitable Briefing Policy, launched by the Law Council of Australia in June 2016 and formally adopted by the Bar Association in September 2016. The Bar Association’s Diversity and Equality Committee and the Women Barristers Forum have worked together to develop resources, as well as a strategic implementation plan for the Bar Association, which Bar Council has adopted. Learn more  here.