Legal Services

The Bar of Ireland offers the highest standards in advocacy and other legal services. 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. Our members offer the best expert advice suitable to your specific needs. This section provides an overview of the areas in which barristers operate and the professional services you can expect once you engage a member of the Law Library.

How to Find and Instruct a Barrister

Generally, barristers are retained for their professional services by way of instruction through a firm of solicitors.
 
Barristers are instructed by all types of solicitors’ firms and work constructively with solicitors in litigation and in advisory matters. Based on these instructions, a barrister can provide advice and assistance either on specific points of law or on the remedies which may be available to a client.
 
Solicitors have considerable experience in identifying and instructing barristers with the appropriate expertise.
 
There is an exception to this practice, namely Direct Professional Access (DPA). Through the DPA scheme, a wide range of approved bodies and organisations may instruct barristers in non-contentious matters, without recourse to a solicitor acting as an intermediary. A full list of approved professional bodies is available. 
 
The Bar of Ireland maintains a list with the details of each member of the Independent Bar’s qualifications, areas of practice and specialisation and a search facility to enable identification of barristers according to specified criteria.
 

Professional fees

There is no fixed scale of fees for barristers. Generally, fees are negotiated on a case-by-case basis with the instructing solicitor based on the following factors:

  • the complexity of the issue or subject matter;
  • the length and venue of any trial or hearing;
  • the amount or value of any claim or subject matter in issue provided; however, the level of fee should not be calculated solely on the basis of the value of the case or on a basis directly proportionate to the value of the case;
  • the time within which the work is or was required to be undertaken; and,
  • any other special feature of the case.
Barristers engaged in either criminal or civil legal aid work receive set fees from the State.
 
Often barristers and solicitors undertake cases on the understanding that the client will only be asked for fees if and when the case is successfully concluded. This approach, known as ‘no foal, no fee’, has played a significant part in bringing to court many highly publicised actions in which individuals of limited means have taken on powerful companies and institutions – and have often won. Frequently the hearing of such cases takes a protracted period of time during which the barrister or barristers involved have to give their full commitment (often with no guarantee of payment), even though this means that they must forego other work offered to them.