This article needs additional citations for verification . (January 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The call to the bar is a legal term of art in most common law jurisdictions where persons must be qualified to be allowed to argue in court on behalf of another party and are then said to have been "called to the bar" or to have received a "call to the bar". "The bar" is now used as a collective noun for barristers, but literally referred to the wooden barrier in old courtrooms, which separated the often crowded public area at the rear from the space near the judges reserved for those having business with the Court. Barristers would sit or stand immediately behind it, facing the judge, and could use it as a table for their briefs.
In law, common law is the body of law derived from judicial decisions of courts and similar tribunals. The defining characteristic of “common law” is that it arises as precedent. In cases where the parties disagree on what the law is, a common law court looks to past precedential decisions of relevant courts, and synthesizes the principles of those past cases as applicable to the current facts. If a similar dispute has been resolved in the past, the court is usually bound to follow the reasoning used in the prior decision. If, however, the court finds that the current dispute is fundamentally distinct from all previous cases, and legislative statutes are either silent or ambiguous on the question, judges have the authority and duty to resolve the issue. The court states an opinion that gives reasons for the decision, and those reasons agglomerate with past decisions as precedent to bind future judges and litigants. Common law, as the body of law made by judges, stands in contrast to and on equal footing with statutes which are adopted through the legislative process, and regulations which are promulgated by the executive branch. Stare decisis, the principle that cases should be decided according to consistent principled rules so that similar facts will yield similar results, lies at the heart of all common law systems.
In linguistics, a collective noun refers to a collection of things taken as a whole. Most collective nouns in everyday speech are mundane and not specific to just one kind, such as the word "group", which is applied to "people" in phrase "a group of people", but is also applied to "dogs" in the phrase "a group of dogs". Some collective nouns are specific to one kind, especially terms of venery, which identify specific groups of animals. For example, "pride" as a term of venery always refers to lions, never to dogs or cows. Other specific examples come from popular culture such as a group of owls, which is called a "parliament".
A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialise in courtroom advocacy and litigation. Their tasks include taking cases in superior courts and tribunals, drafting legal pleadings, researching the philosophy, hypothesis and history of law, and giving expert legal opinions. Often, barristers are also recognised as legal scholars.
Like many other common law terms, the term originated in England in the Middle Ages, and the call to the bar refers to the summons issued to one found fit to speak at the 'bar' of the royal courts. In time, English judges allowed only legally qualified men to address them on the law and later delegated the qualification and admission of barristers to the four Inns of Court. Once an Inn calls one of its members to its bar, they are thereafter a barrister. They may not, however, practise as a barrister until they have completed (or been exempted from) an apprenticeship called pupillage . After completing pupillage, they are considered to be a practising barrister with a right of audience before all courts.
The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 927, when it emerged from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until 1707, when it united with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.
In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.
A summons is a legal document issued by a court or by an administrative agency of government for various purposes.
England and Wales and some other jurisdictions distinguish two types of lawyers, who are regulated by different bodies, with separate training, examinations, regulation and traditions:
England and Wales is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four constituent countries of the United Kingdom. ’England and Wales’ forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows a single legal system, known as English law.
A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney, attorney at law, barrister, barrister-at-law, bar-at-law, canonist, canon lawyer, civil law notary, counsel, counselor, counsellor, solicitor, legal executive, or public servant preparing, interpreting and applying law, but not as a paralegal or charter executive secretary. Working as a lawyer involves the practical application of abstract legal theories and knowledge to solve specific individualized problems, or to advance the interests of those who hire lawyers to perform legal services.
A magistrates' court is a lower court where, in several jurisdictions, all criminal proceedings start. Also some civil matters may be dealt with here, such as family proceedings.
A county court is a court based in or with a jurisdiction covering one or more counties, which are administrative divisions within a country, not to be confused with the medieval system of county courts held by the high sheriff of each county.
A solicitor must additionally qualify as a solicitor-advocate in order to acquire the same "higher rights" of audience as a barrister. In other jurisdictions, the terminology and the degree of overlap between the roles of solicitor and barrister varies greatly; in most, the distinction has disappeared entirely.
Common law jurisdictions include Australia, England and Wales, New Zealand, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Nigeria, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and most jurisdictions in the Commonwealth of Nations and the United States (the See also section below contains links to articles on the laws of these jurisdictions).
Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.
New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. It has a total land area of 268,000 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi). New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.
Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Its southern border with the United States, stretching some 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world's longest bi-national land border. Canada's capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
In Australia, the status of the legal profession differs from state to state:
Most Australian barristers will have previously worked as solicitors prior to becoming barristers.
Candidates wishing to become barristers may have to pass an examination and undergo further specialised training before those candidates are "called to the bar" or "sign the roll of counsel". Both the examination and the further training are administered by the state's bar association:
Upon completing the relevant training course, new barristers ("readers") are required to spend a period of months "reading" in the chambers of an experienced barrister, called the reader's "tutor" (in New South Wales) or "mentor" (in Victoria) (historically, this experienced barrister was called the new barrister's "pupil master"). This "reading" period serves as a kind of practical apprenticeship for the new barrister, who works in the same chambers as their tutor/mentor and is able to learn by observing their tutor/mentor, as well as actively seeking their guidance.
In England and Wales, a call ceremony takes place at the barrister's Inn of Court (or at Temple Church for Inner Temple Inn), before or during the pupillage year. A barrister is called to the utter ("outer") bar or "appointed to the degree of the utter bar". Those appointed as Queen's Counsel are entitled to plead from "within the bar" in court.
In Ireland, the legal profession is split between solicitors and barristers. Candidates wishing to qualify as barristers must complete a series of examinations at the Honorable Society of King's Inns. Successful candidates are called to the Bar by the Chief Justice in the Supreme Court. Upon being called to the Bar, a barrister becomes a member of the Outer Bar, or "Junior Counsel". Some barristers may subsequently be called to the Inner Bar in a similar ceremony, gaining the title "Senior Counsel".
As in Canada, the legal profession is fused. A lawyer in New Zealand is admitted as either a "barrister sole" or a "barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand".Once admitted, New Zealand's "barrister and solicitors" are able to practise in either mode provided they hold a practising certificate, while barristers sole are entitled only to practice as a barrister. Admission is overseen by the New Zealand Law Society.
As in New Zealand, there is no formal distinction between barristers and solicitors. A lawyer in Nigeria is admitted as a "Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria." Once admitted, Nigerian lawyers may argue in any federal trial or appellate court as well as any of the courts in Nigeria's thirty six states and the Federal Capital Territory. Lawyers are regulated by the Nigerian Bar Association.
Prior to the partition of Ireland, barristers in what is now Northern Ireland were called to the Bar in the same manner as those in the rest of Ireland. The procedure remains much the same today, save that barristers are called to the Bar by the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland and that members of the Inner Bar are known as Queen's Counsel.
In Sri Lanka, a lawyer must be admitted and enrolled as an attorney-at-law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. This is referred to as the call to the bar.
Generally, a lawyer is said to have been "admitted to the Bar" and become an "attorney at law"; some states still use the older term "attorney and counselor (or even spelled 'counsellor') at law", upon taking his or her oath of office. Historically, the institution of attorney was similar to that of the solicitor, whereas the office of the counselor was almost identical to that of the barrister, but today this distinction has disappeared. The phrase "called to the bar" is still sometimes used informally by U.S. attorneys to refer to their qualification as a lawyer.
An advocate is a professional or non-professional in the field of law. Different countries' legal systems use the term with somewhat differing meanings. The broad equivalent in many English law–based jurisdictions could be a barrister or a solicitor. However, in Scottish, South African, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Scandinavian, Polish, South Asian and South American jurisdictions, "advocate" indicates a lawyer of superior classification.
A solicitor is a legal practitioner who traditionally deals with most of the legal matters in some jurisdictions. A person must have legally-defined qualifications, which vary from one jurisdiction to another, to be described as a solicitor and enabled to practise there as such. For example, in England and Wales a solicitor is admitted to practise under the provisions of the Solicitors Act 1974. With some exceptions, practising solicitors must possess a practising certificate. There are many more solicitors than barristers in England; they undertake the general aspects of giving legal advice and conducting legal proceedings.
A Queen's Counsel, or King's Counsel during the reign of a king, is a lawyer who is appointed by the monarch of the United Kingdom to be one of "Her Majesty's Counsel learned in the law." The term is recognised as an honorific. The position exists in some Commonwealth jurisdictions around the world, but other Commonwealth countries have either abolished the position, or re-named it to eliminate monarchical connotations, such as "Senior Counsel" or "Senior Advocate". Queen's Counsel is an office, conferred by the Crown, that is recognised by courts. Members have the privilege of sitting within the bar of court.
A bar association is a professional association of lawyers. Some bar associations are responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in their jurisdiction; others are professional organizations dedicated to serving their members; in many cases, they are both. In many Commonwealth jurisdictions, the bar association comprises lawyers who are qualified as barristers or advocates in particular, versus solicitors. Membership in bar associations may be mandatory or optional for practicing attorneys, depending on jurisdiction.
The Inns of Court in London are the professional associations for barristers in England and Wales. There are four Inns of Court – Gray's Inn, Lincoln's Inn, Inner Temple and Middle Temple.
In law, the bar is the legal profession as an institution. The term is a metonym for the line that separates the parts of a courtroom reserved for spectators and those reserved for participants in a trial such as lawyers.
Bachelor of Laws is an undergraduate law degree in England and most common law jurisdictions—except the United States and Canada— which allows a person to become a lawyer. It historically served this purpose in the U.S. as well, but was phased out in the mid-1960s in favour of the Juris Doctor degree, and Canada followed suit. Bachelor of Laws is also the name of the law degree awarded by universities in Scotland and South Africa.
A bar examination, or bar exam, is the examination which is administered by a jurisdiction's bar association that a lawyer needs to pass before being admitted to the bar of that jurisdiction.
The Hong Kong Bar Association (HKBA) is the professional regulatory body for barristers in Hong Kong. The Law Society of Hong Kong is the equivalent association for solicitors in Hong Kong.
Legal profession is a profession, and legal professionals study, develop and apply law. Usually, there is a requirement for someone choosing a career in law to first obtain a law degree or some other form of legal education.
Devilling is the period of training, pupillage or junior work undertaken by a person wishing to become an advocate in one of the legal systems of the United Kingdom or Ireland.
Barristers in England and Wales are one of the two main categories of lawyer in England and Wales, the other being solicitors. Barristers have traditionally had the role of handling cases for representation in court, both defence and prosecution.
In the United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong, Ireland, and certain other English common law jurisdictions, a trainee solicitor is a prospective lawyer undergoing professional training at a law firm to qualify as a full-fledged solicitor. This period of training is known as a training contract and usually lasts for two years.
Fused profession is a term relating to jurisdictions where the legal profession is not divided between barristers and solicitors. Generally, the term is used in the context of Commonwealth countries, where the single profession of "barrister and solicitor" is provided by statute.
Legal education in the United Kingdom is divided between the common law system of England and Wales and Northern Ireland, and that of Scotland, which uses a hybrid of common law and civil law.
An admission to practice law is acquired when a lawyer receives a license to practice law. In jurisdictions with two types of lawyer, as with barristers and solicitors, barristers must gain admission to the bar whereas for solicitors there are distinct practising certificates.
A training contract is a compulsory period of practical training in a law firm for law graduates before they can qualify as a solicitor in the United Kingdom (UK), the Republic of Ireland, Australia or Hong Kong, or as an advocate and solicitor in Singapore. During the training period, the participant is known as a trainee solicitor or trainee lawyer.
Legal professions in England and Wales are divided between two distinct branches under the legal system, those of solicitors and barristers. Other legal professions in England and Wales include acting as a judge, as the Attorney-General, as a Solicitor-General, or as the Director of Public Prosecutions.