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The role of a barrister

Barristers are lawyers who are qualified to give legal advice and represent clients in court. They are generally hired by solicitors to represent their clients and plead their case in court.

Barristers tend to be self-employed, although they may be employed by government legal services such as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) or the Government Legal Service (GLS).

How to qualify as a barrister

There are a few ways to qualify as a barrister after your degree:

1. Three-step route: You first need to complete the academic stage (a law degree or a graduate diploma in law (GDL) if you are a non-law graduate). Then you take the vocational stage (a postgrad Bar course), followed by the final stage; a pupillage or work-based element.

2.  Four-step route: This involves the academic stage first, but the vocational stage is split into two parts before you take the pupillage/work-based element. The first part of the Bar course can be done through self-study, before taking the second, taught part of the course. You don't pay fees for the second, more expensive, part until you have successfully completed part one. It means you are not locked in to paying the full fees if you fail part one. Also, you can take a break between part one and part two, if needed.

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