A barrister is someone who is skilled in preparing and presenting litigation in court cases. While they can give legal counsel, they are usually not directly hired by clients, but work to provide assistance with court proceedings. Barristers in Canada also research the philosophies and legal histories that will pertain to specific cases, and they are considered to be legal scholars. Their role is important to common law cases where the laws are set according to traditions and legal precedents, as they are able to give an expert legal opinion.
Barristers and Solicitors
Barristers are often appointed as judges, and in many countries, their duties can differ. In Canada, their work is not differentiated from that of a solicitor as much as it would be in other parts of the world. In fact, many barristers also will refer to themselves as solicitors, depending on the type of work they do, and in Canada, barristers will also refer to themselves as litigators. This is meant to indicate that they do not limit themselves solely to work involving research but that they also can take an active role in a courtroom setting.
In many countries, a person must choose to be called either a solicitor or a barrister, but in Canada, this is not the case. The profession in Canada is considered to be fused, and this allows a person to fulfill both roles. This, however, is not technically the case in Quebec, where the traditional distinction between the duties of a barrister and a solicitor did not exist in the first place. In Quebec, a distinction is sometimes made between a trial lawyer and what is called a legal consultant.
Quebec differs also in the fact that they adhere to a civil code, whereas the rest of Canada practices common law. This has to do with how the provinces in Canada were originally established. The common law practice was adopted in the tradition of the English system, and Quebec follows a system that is based on the Napoleonic Code.
A barrister also provides the indispensable service of courtroom advocacy, and this entails presenting the best possible case for a client. Barristers can prepare written arguments, and they can also present oral arguments in the courtroom. This calls for eloquence and a persuasive delivery that will sway the members of a jury to decide in favor of their client. He or she will be well versed in case analysis, and a barrister will understand the use of skeleton arguments, pleas in mitigation, and oral submissions.
Types of Law in Canada
The barristers in Canada will also be fluent in different types of law. Canada was populated by Indians before it was settled by Europeans, and as such, Aboriginal law exists to protect the interests of those who are under the Indian Act and a number of other treaties. Contract law oversees the codified principles that apply to contracts, and Quebec has their own version of this in their civil law code. Other important areas of work for barristers include constitutional law, criminal law, family law, labor laws, and tort law.