A barrister provides legal advice, conducts negotiations and appears in courts and tribunal hearings on behalf of clients.

Generally the barrister's client is a solicitor who briefs the barrister on behalf of a company or individual when a case requires specialist research or advocacy skills. A barrister may also undertake research and consult with clients and witnesses.

Where barristers are employed

Barristers generally work in professional, scientific and technical services, public administration and safety, administrative and support services. They may work in private legal practice either on their own or in a partnership in state, territory or federal government departments, in community law centres or with business corporations. Barristers are self employed but normally practise in chambers with other barristers.


Full-time barristers in South Australia generally earn more than $1,600 per week.

Graph of pay scales for barristers

Job prospects

In 2011 there were 393 people employed full-time as barristers in South Australia compared with 311 in 2006.

How to become one

To become a barrister you are first required to be a qualified lawyer. To be a lawyer you usually have to complete a degree in law at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) with English.

For information on course admission requirements and how to apply to the universities and TAFE in South Australia visit the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC).

Check South Australian universities at The University of Adelaide, Flinders University and University of South Australia.

For information about Australian universities visit Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT)

Licensing or Registration requirements

In Australia you must be registered as a legal practitioner with the State Authority that you want to work in. In South Australia you must hold a current South Australian practising certificate. The Supreme Court of South Australia is the admitting authority through the Law Society of South Australia

In South Australia to work as a barrister you must initially qualify as a solicitor. All persons admitted as solicitors are also admitted as barristers (that is admitted as a barrister and solicitor in the Supreme Court of South Australia). This means that all solicitors admitted in South Australia are technically permitted to appear in court to represent their clients. This is not the case in other jurisdictions.

Despite this in order to be considered by the profession to be a barrister a person must 'go to the Independent Bar' by undertaking the Bar Readers’ Course.

Recognition of qualifications and skills obtained outside Australia

If you have overseas gained qualifications and experience as a legal practitioner you must apply to the Law Society of South Australia Board of Examiners for accreditation. After the assessment, overseas applicants will be required to complete some further academic study at an Australian university.

For information about assessment of overseas qualifications, and looking for work in Australia visit Recognition of overseas qualifications or contact Skilled Arrival Services on 08 8303 2420 or email

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Career information has been sourced from government publications, see data sources for more information.

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