Information for international clients

Benefits of using a barrister

The Bar is a profession of independent legal experts who usually practise from offices known as chambers. For domestic work barristers of England and Wales are normally required to receive instructions through solicitors on a referral basis, but they are able to receive direct instructions from lawyers, businesses or individuals based outside the UK.

The barrister can offer the following services to international clients based abroad on a direct access basis:

  • Specialist advice on all areas of the law in England and Wales, European Community and International Law, including Human Rights law
  • Specialist advice and assistance on the drafting, interpretation and enforceability of contracts governed by the law in England and Wales, or the laws of other common law countries
  • Specialist advice on commercial situations presenting legal, factual or technical difficulties
  • Arbitration services in England and Wales and in most other jurisdictions (the English Bar is one of the leading professions in the field of international arbitration);
  • Mediation and other alternative dispute resolution services (as mediators, advocates or advisers)
  • Expert witness services
  • Specialist advocacy services before European and international courts and tribunals, and
  • Specialist advice and assistance in the preparation of litigation or in a non-litigious context.

As regards litigation in the courts of England and Wales, it is highly recommended that you contact a barrister first if your are a foreign lawyer or business based abroad. Barristers will be able to give you an initial assessment of your case at very competitive rates and advise on the most suitable firm of solicitors to use.

How to choose a barrister

It is important to select a barrister who specialises in the appropriate area of law for each case. For a list of barristers and their specialisations please consult the Bar Directory.

Alternatively, you can look up details of barristers undertaking criminal, commercial or chancery work on the websites of the Specialist Bar Associations, such as Criminal Bar Association, Commercial Bar Association or Chancery Bar Association.  

More details are set out in the following publications:

  • Barristers in the International Legal Market  contains information on the services barristers provide, a list of the Specialist Bar Associations and advertisements from participating chambers.

  • Barristers in International Arbitration 2014/2015 includes a directory of experienced barristers practising in the field of international arbitration. It provides those wishing to instruct an international arbitration barrister with all the necessary information in a concise form.

  • Services of the International Criminal and Regulatory Bar  explains how barristers practising in this field can assist international clients. It also lists a number of chambers whose members practice in these areas.

  • Legal Services 2016 is an annual report by TheCityUK, which describes barristers services in the context of the overall legal services sector of England and Wales.

Hard copies of the publications are available  from the International Policy team, who will also be able to assist if you have any difficulty finding a suitable barrister. Please see the staff list for contact details.