Finding and contacting the right barrister

Anyone in need of legal advice can contact barristers directly, but only for work which barristers may undertake, according to the New South Wales Barristers' Rules. However, the barrister then has an obligation to inform their client whether or not the case requires the involvement of a solicitor. Barristers must also inform their client if the legal service they seek is not barristers' work. Barristers cannot pick and choose their work if it is referred by a solicitor and are bound to accept those matters 'without fear or favour'. The only restrictions are those made in the best interests of the clients, or the practical dilemmas of cases for which the dates overlap or which are matters outside the barrister's expertise. These restrictions are set out in greater detail in the Barristers' Rules.

How to contact a barrister
The Bar Association maintains a database on its web site called ‘Find a barrister’, which contains the contact details of New South Wales practising barristers who are also members of the Bar Association, and who have agreed to their details being made available. It is not a comprehensive list of all New South Wales practising barristers.

The association also has a register of holders of local practising certificates, which is available for inspection at the Association's office during normal business hours.

The majority of barristers' chambers are located in Sydney, but some are based in Parramatta, Newcastle, Wollongong, Canberra, Lismore, Orange and other country centres.

Barristers grouped in particular chambers usually share a clerk who organises their workload, negotiates their fees and can answer questions about the expertise or type of service which members of the chambers provide.