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Barrister vs Solicitor: What’s the difference?

A criminal solicitor is a legal professional who specialises in criminal law and provides legal representation to individuals who have been accused of committing a crime. The primary role of a criminal solicitor is to provide legal advice and guidance to their clients throughout the criminal justice process.

Some of the specific tasks that a criminal solicitor may perform include:

  • Advising clients on their legal rights and the potential consequences of their actions.
  • Representing clients in court hearings and trials.
  • Negotiating with prosecutors on behalf of clients to secure plea bargains or reduced charges.
  • Preparing legal documents such as motions, pleadings, and briefs.
  • Conducting legal research to support their client's case.
  • Gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses.
  • Providing emotional support and guidance to clients and their families.

Criminal solicitors work to ensure that their clients receive a fair trial and that their legal rights are protected throughout the criminal justice process. Our solicitors appear every day in Court, and are strong advocates. Stary Norton Halphen has a large number of solicitor advocates that can handle matters both inside and outside the Courtroom.

The solicitors at Stary Norton Halphen work exclusively in criminal law. This means that we are dedicated experts. Stary Norton Halphen has a number of solicitors who have been recognised by the Law Institute of Victoria as accredited specialists. These are Sam Norton, Andrew Halphen, Tim Schocker, Clare Morris, Louise Conwell, Nick Jane and Jarrod Behan.

If you’ve been charged with a criminal offence in Victoria, you’ll need to retain a solicitor before retaining a barrister to help with your case.

What is a Barrister?

A Barrister is an independent lawyer with specialist skills in dispute resolution, strategy and advice and advocacy before the court.

Barristers tend to specialise in a particular area of law, such as criminal law, and are specifically trained to represent clients in the courtroom. They are experts in courtroom advocacy and preparing matters for trial, and are skilled in persuading decision makers such as judges or juries on behalf of their clients.

Barristers can also appear before appellate courts to represent their clients if an appeal is necessary. When instructing a barrister, solicitors must provide a ‘brief’ which outlines the facts and relevant points of law relating to that particular case. The barrister then uses this brief to advocate for their client in court proceedings.

Generally, a client cannot retain a barrister directly, they are recommended by a solicitor or lawyer.

Experienced Criminal Lawyers in Melbourne

Being charged with a criminal offence is a stressful experience, which is why you need the right legal professionals on your side, to help guide you through the process as well as help you get the best outcome for your case.

While there are significant differences between solicitors and barristers, there is considerable overlap between the two roles. At Stary Norton Halphen, we are an advocacy based practice, and have solicitors that can prepare and argue a case in court. With many years experience in all aspects of criminal law, we work closely with our clients and will help you make the decision about whether we will argue your case in court or will appoint a Barrister.

If you require assistance with any aspect of criminal law, contact the team at Stary Norton Halphen.

Barrister vs Solicitor: What’s the difference?

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Doyle's Guide First Tier Criminal Law firm (2020, 2021 and 2022).