What is an employed barrister?

The BSB Handbook defines an employed barrister as a barrister employed in either an authorised non-BSB body, a BSB authorised body or a non-authorised body “who supplies legal services as a barrister in the course of his employment.” In all cases the definition encompasses both those who are employed under a contract of employment and those employed “under a written contract for services which is for a determinate period (subject to any provision for earlier termination on notice)”. In other words, a barrister may become an ’employed barrister’ for the purpose of the Rules even if not employed under a permanent contract of employment.

All barristers, whether employed or self-employed, are subject to the Core Duties under the BSB Handbook and the Conduct Rules set out at rC1-rC72, except where stated otherwise.

Being employed by a Legal Advice Centre

Barristers who supply part time or voluntary legal services at a Legal Advice Centre (for definitions, see the BSB Handbook definitions section) are treated for the purpose of the Handbook as though they are employed by the Centre, and may be paid a salary for doing so. If they are self-employed, they do not need to apply for a dual practising certificate. The Handbook provisions are at rS41-42 and gS9-11.

Barristers who are paid to work at a Legal Advice Centre do, however, need to have a relevant practising certificate in place. They may not receive fees directly (or indirectly) from clients, and may not hold a financial interest in the Centre.

Giving free legal advice to friends and relatives

All barristers, employed and self-employed, are able to provide free legal advice to friends, relatives or charitable institutions. Free services of this sort do not constitute legal services for the purposes of the BSB Handbook (see definition 124 in the Handbook.