The independence of barristers

The independence of barristers is vital to our system of justice. It ensures legal representation for everyone, without fear or favour. Barristers cannot form any business association with partners which might compromise, or even appear to compromise, that independence. Although most barristers group themselves together for convenience in offices known as 'chambers', and while they may gain from the general expertise of their colleagues in these chambers, they practice as individuals. No shared financial interest in fees or profits connects them. Every barrister is solely responsible for his or her own work. Fees are not shared.

Nor are they tied to any particular client. A barrister can appear for the government one day and against it the next.

Some barristers work for the government full-time, including crown prosecutors and public defenders. These barristers have statutory independence, which means that parliament has passed a law that enables them to provide their services to the government of the day, no matter which political party is in office.