A barrister has a number of core duties.
(a) Duty to the court.
Barristers have an overriding duty to the court to act with independence, to act in the interests of justice and to ensure that, in the public interest, the proper and efficient administration of justice is achieved. By way of example, if a client wants a barrister to lie to the court, or to mislead the court, or to hold back damaging documents which the court has ordered to be produced, the barrister is obliged not to do this under any circumstances.
(b) Duty to promote the client's interests.
Subject only to their paramount duty to the court and the administration of justice, barristers must promote and protect fearlessly and by all proper and lawful means the best interests of the client they represent.
(c) Duty of independence.
Every barrister is completely independent. They are not in partnership with anybody, will not do a case if they have any conflict of interest and are free of any control by the Government or any outside organisation as to how they advise and represent you. Ensuring barristers are and remain independent has always been a key aspect of client protection, the defence of individual rights against the State and the administration of justice.
(d) Duty to represent a client irrespective of the barrister's private views
A barrister cannot refuse to take on a case in the field in which they practice simply because they do not like the client or his beliefs or on the basis of any opinion which the barrister may have formed as to the character, reputation, conduct, guilt or innocence of the client or the political, religious or other cause the client may be promoting.
Every client has a right of access to the courts and to the administration of justice. Every client has a right to be represented by a barrister who is entitled to be paid for their work. Barristers cannot pick and choose which types of clients they act for if the work is within their area of expertise. Like a taxi offered a fare, the barrister has to take the passenger (i.e. the client) if they are free and are offered a suitable fare. The purpose of this rule is to give every client, as far as possible, an equal right of access to barristers and to legal representation in court.