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Barristers in London


London is the base for the courts that hear all of the most serious criminal cases. The most famous court is the Central Criminal Court, more commonly known as the Old Bailey. All of the serious criminal cases you see reported on the news will be heard at the Old Bailey.

Often confused, a solicitor, lawyer and barrister are not the same thing. Solicitors and lawyers will staff all of the law firms that you can contact directly as these are basically the same. Solicitors always have the most direct contact with their clients. The important thing to note is that your solicitor cannot represent you in a criminal court. Only barristers can handle cases that come before a criminal court.

Barristers in London will usually have no direct contact with you as they are rarely hired directly by the person bringing the court case. Usually your solicitor will hire a barrister on your behalf and also brief them about your case.

However, if a barrister has taken a special course they will have what is called ‘licensed access’, which means in practice that members of the public can approach them directly to help with their court case. This change came as part of the Public Access Scheme that began in 2004 to make access to the UK’s legal system more open.

Barristers in London should be a member of the General Council of the Bar, more commonly known as the Bar Council. It is the Bar Standards Board, part of the General Council of the Bar, which regulates barristers. Always check the credentials of barristers in London to make sure they are properly accredited.

If you are involved in a criminal case, you must have legal representation. Attempting to handle your own criminal case or trial is not recommended, as the court will want to see that the law is being applied fairly. This is only possible in practice with properly qualified legal representation. A barrister in London should be able to initially help you with your case and recommend a clear course of action.

London has many civil and criminal courts. The main central criminal court is the Old Bailey. You can contact this court at:

Old Bailey
Main switchboard: 020 7248 3277

If you would like help finding recommended solicitors or barristers local to London, Caven can put you in touch with a firm we work with free of charge. So, if you have any questions please call us on 0800 046 1463 or complete the web-form above.

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