What is the difference between a barrister & a solicitor in Canada?

What is the difference between a barrister & a solicitor in Canada?

When beginning the process of searching for a lawyer that can best assist you in your legal matter, you may come across lawyers who are characterized as either barrister, solicitor, or both. A barrister and a solicitor are both types of lawyers that have different roles and responsibilities.

A barrister is a lawyer that can represent their client in court. When seen in court, they would be the lawyers dressed in a gown. They are experts in litigation, defending their client in court, and creating any documentation necessary for the court process. Because of their focus, their clients will have legal matters that require presence in court.

Barristers can be self-employed, work for the government, work for a private law firm, or even create policies to evolve the legal system. A barrister’s general duties may include legal research, providing legal advice to clients, arguing in court, participating in settlement negotiations, drafting legal documents, and many more.

However, when working in this position, their role can change depending on the area of law they practice. For example, an employment barrister would be responsible for attending civil court proceedings versus a criminal barrister who would represent their client in criminal court, which follows different legal codes.

A solicitor is responsible for advising their clients on the best way to proceed in their legal matter and drafting any legal documentation that could help their client resolve their matter. They normally have expert knowledge in one specific field and their clients could include individuals or companies in need of legal counselling. For example, the solicitor could be an employment lawyer reviewing an employment contract for an employee.

Solicitors can work on cases where they settle disputes in court or at a tribunal. For example, settling a discrimination dispute for a client in the Human Rights Tribunal Ontario. They can also have cases that strictly require their counselling, negotiating, and drafting for a client’s legal matter. Most of their time is spent providing advice on the proper legal action for a client to pursue.

If you require a barrister and solicitor for an employment law matter, our employment lawyer Kathy Chittley-Young has both qualifications. Please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.