Frequently Asked Questions

All you need to know

FAQ

Rob accepts briefs to appear in courts in all Australian States and Territories. He accepts briefs in both paper and electronic format.

Electronic briefs may be delivered either by email or on USB or other media via his PO Box. PDF format is preferred. Paper briefs are to be addressed to his Post Office box.

Please allow appropriate time for delivery of all hard-copy mail communications.

Rob will confer with clients in the offices of their solicitor and, when he works interstate, does so on a fly-in-fly-out basis.

Rob only accepts briefs for clients via their solicitor. He does not accept briefs direct from the public.

This is because pre-trial litigation work is complex and often quite labour intensive.

It is usually more cost effective if parts of the pre-trial litigation work is performed by an experienced solicitor - with input from the barrister if necessary.

No work will be commenced by Rob (unless urgent) until appropriate agreement is reached about the terms of his retainer.

Cost estimates are available upon request. In appropriate cases Rob is willing work on a deferred or conditional basis. It is often necessary to review the brief before any cost estimate can be made.

In large, complex or urgent matters he may require some payment for perusal of the brief before considering alternate cost arrangements.

Before sending a brief you should phone Rob to discuss the matter and confirm his availability.

What is a barrister?

A barrister is a qualified lawyer who elects to practice as a specialist advocate in courts.

Australian barristers must undertake further post-admission training before they can become members of a Bar Association and act as barristers.

The word barrister refers to someone who has been “called to the bar” and who then becomes a “barrister-at-law".

How does a barrister differ from a solicitor?

Solicitors and barristers are both qualified legal professionals (lawyers).

Most solicitors will spend their careers performing transactional work for clients, such as property transfers, drawing wills, preparing contracts, etc. While some solicitors regularly appear in lower courts, they will usually employ barristers to represent their clients in higher courts or in more complex cases.

Solicitors mostly prepare cases for their clients and then brief a barrister to appear at court on their client's behalf. Solicitors also regularly brief barristers to advise their clients on specialist areas of legal knowledge.

Solicitors often work in law firms and may choose to only represent special types of client.

Some solicitors work mainly for corporate entities (such as insurers, manufacturers, employers, or government authorities etc). Others will work mainly for members of the general public. Most suburban solicitors will fall within the latter category.

In contrast to solicitors, barristers are ethically required (subject to agreement being reached as to their costs) to use their skill and training as advocates on behalf of any client. This is called the "cab rank rule".

How do barristers charge?

Barristers costs will vary depending on the nature of the work required, their special expertise, and their seniority.

Barristers charge costs that are either based on the time spent or, on occasion, a fixed cost on brief. Barristers (like all lawyers) are required to disclose their costs before commencing work.

If urgent work is required before a cost disclosure can be made, then the barrister must make a disclosure at the earliest opportunity.

A barrister is (usually) not to perform any work for a client unless a cost agreement has first been reached.

Many barristers are willing to work on a deferred payment basis. Some barristers are also willing to work on a conditional basis - that is - where payment depends wholly or partly upon success in the case.

Are discussions with barristers confidential?

Information exchanged between a client and barrister is privileged from disclosure under the laws of legal professional privilege if it is provided:

  • for the purpose of giving or receiving legal advice; or
  • for the dominant purpose of representing the client in existing or anticipated legal proceedings.

These laws are designed to encourage a full disclosure of information by the client to the barrister, which is a necessary precondition if barristers are to properly advise and represent their clients.

Legal professional privilege is an important common law right that belongs to the client.

This means that privileged information cannot be disclosed to any person without the client's consent.

Some legal exceptions apply to this rule, but they are rare and usually narrow in application.

Do I also need a solicitor?

Some barristers are willing to accept direct briefs from the public.

This usually occurs with barristers conducting criminal work in lower courts. Family law barristers will also often accept direct briefs.

Barristers who conduct larger and more complex cases will only rarely accept direct briefs from the public.

Large and complex cases require a lot of pre-trial preparation.

This preparatory work is usually best performed by experienced solicitors who may, cost effectively, also delegate some aspects of the preparation to more junior legal employees.

Because barristers must work as sole traders they lack the human and other resources that a solicitor's firm can devote to pre-trial paperwork.

Robert only accepts briefs via a solicitor.

How do I employ a barrister?

If you are a member of the public and wish to directly engage a barrister then you should phone around to find someone who is suitable.

If you already have a solicitor then he or she will advise you about which barristers are best suited to your circumstances.

You can carry out your own research into the barristers suggested, but your solicitor is often the best source of information in this regard.

Each Bar Association publishes a list of their members on the internet.

Progress Towards Carbon Neutrality?

Rob beleives that we should all take personal responsibility for, and action to mitigate, the impact of our activity on the environment.

Australia currently has the highest per capita carbon emissions of all the G20 countries. We all have a role to play to mitigate global warming.

Rob strives to minimise negative environmental impacts from his professional activity as follows:

  • 100% of the energy needs of Rob's office are provided by solar energy and a solar battery storage system.
  • 100% of the water consumed at Rob's office are harvested on site.
  • carbon offsets are purchased for all necessary air travel.
  • all paper and other suitable waste is recycled.

He asks that you please consider the environment when briefing Rob, and attempt wherever possible, to supply briefs in digital form.

If paper briefs are to be supplied then please use double sided printing (where possible) and minimise the use of packaging that cannot be recycled.

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Rob's costs vary depending on the the amount of work required. Cost estimates can be supplied once a brief is received. In appropriate cases Robert is willing to work on a deferred payment or conditional basis. Further details are available upon request.