As a barrister I normally only work for other lawyers (solicitors). If you are a lawyer please review the information on briefing me.
Companies, government agencies and the like
Please call me onto discuss the possibility of briefing me directly. I am generally willing to accept direct instructions from in-house counsel, and if you do not have any in-house lawyers I may still be prepared to accept instructions directly.
If you are an individual who needs help from a lawyer in one of my practice areas I may still be able to assist you, and you are more than welcome to call me on. In all likelihood, I will require a solicitor to be involved. I explain the reasons for that below.
Although it may sound more complex to have two lawyers, it need not be any more expensive. My role as a barrister is more specialised than that of a solicitor. My expertise in my practice areas enables me to focus on what I know and do best. Likewise, having me involved enables the solicitor to focus on the general administration of the matter. By specialising in our own areas we can each be more efficient, and thus more cost effective for you.
Roles of Barristers and Solicitors
Barristers and solicitors have a lot in common. But there are also important differences.
Barristers and solicitors are all lawyers. We share the same university qualifications.
- Barristers in Western Australia complete a Bar Readers Course comprising four units; trial advocacy, jurisdiction & procedure, evidence and ethics. These units are taught by Judges and very senior barristers. The course is only open to barristers. I completed the Bar Readers Course in 2014. I was awarded the Chief Justice’s Prize for the overall best performed student across all courses. I was also awarded the Essential Trial Advocacy Course Award for equal top performance in the Trial Advocacy course.
- Solicitors can undertake a wider range of legal work (including for instance conveyancing and work relating to commercial transactions such as leases, loans etc).
- Barristers are more specialised. Barristers’ work is limited to preparing Court cases, representing clients in Court, negotiating on behalf of a client and giving legal advice. This legal advice can involve considering the facts of your case and considering how they apply to legislation and previous case law. Legal advice is sometimes given orally in a meeting, sometimes in a formal memo or letter, and often a combination of the two.
- Solicitors sometimes (but not always) practice in firms (either partnerships or companies). Barristers on the other hand are always self employed. Barristers often work in an shared office (called chambers) with other barristers. I am based at Francis Burt Chambers, the largest chambers in Perth. Although barristers share offices each barrister runs their own business entirely independently of each other barrister.
Working with Me
The process of a solicitor getting me involved in a matter on your behalf is usually referred to as a solicitor briefing me. What it means is that the formal relationship (which includes responsibility for paying my invoices) is between me and the solicitor. There will in turn be a formal relationship between you and the solicitor. In most cases the solicitor will require you to pay an estimate of my and their fees to the solicitor before either of us do any work for you. This is referred to as requesting money on trust. Money held by a solicitor on trust remains your money, but you authorise the solicitor to use that money to pay his/her and my invoices. Invoices will only be issued in relation to work that has been done.
Under this arrangement:
- I will be involved in setting the strategic direction of your case and in giving general advice on the matter;
- The solicitor will do certain things, such as preparing routine Court documents and correspondence with the Court and the other side;
- Generally I will appear in Court on your behalf; and
- For non-contentious hearings (first mentions, directions hearings etc) the solicitor may attend Court instead of me. I will attend contentious hearings and trial.
For more information about me and my qualifications, please view my profile or contact me on .
Choosing a solicitor
I will accept instructions in my practice areas from almost any solicitor. If you already have a solicitor who you would like to use, please feel free to ask them to contact me on your behalf. If you do not have a solicitor in mind, you are welcome to contact me on and I will be able to suggest a solicitor who will be able to assist you.