What Is the Difference Between a Barrister and a Solicitor in Canada?

April 28th, 2024
What Is the Difference Between a Barrister and a Solicitor in Canada?

In order to understand the terms barrister and solicitor, it is helpful to look at the history of Canadian law. The law in Canada has three parts or traditions: common law, civil law and aboriginal law. Common law is derived predominantly from English law, and barrister and solicitor are terms still used in the UK.

A solicitor in the UK is a lawyer who specializes in written documents such as contracts in corporate law or wills such as in trusts or estates. In the UK, a barrister is a lawyer specializing in representing clients in court actions and appearing in court. Solicitors and barristers have different training (in the UK) and different roles.

In Canada, these terms are vestiges of the influence of English law. All Canadian lawyers are both barristers and solicitors and have the same education and training. In some other places, such as Australia, you may also hear the terms barrister and solicitor, but they do not have the same definitions as they do in the UK.

Barristers and solicitors are not distinct and separate roles or professions like they are in the UK. There are, however, in Canada, some legal specialties that lend themselves more to one role than the other. Lawyers who specialize in criminal law, for example, regularly have to appear in court. Similarly, civil litigation is populated by lawyers who represent clients in court all the time.

The point here is that if you have a legal matter in which there is a strong possibility of having to go to court, you would want to be sure to hire a lawyer familiar and experienced with court proceedings. Since barrister and solicitor are not separate professions in Canada, it is important for clients to be sure that their lawyers are comfortable with the jobs they will have to do.

The terms, barrister and solicitor, are just one example of the historical influence of the UK on Canadian culture. France also has a significant influence on Canadian culture and specifically on civil law in Quebec.

If you have been charged with any of the crimes noted above, please contact Gagan Nahal for a free consultation in Vancouver at (604) 527-4769 as soon as possible. Mr. Nahal’s law practice focuses on criminal defence law, and he has extensive experience in this area of the law.

Gagan Nahal is a criminal defence lawyer based in Surrey, British Columbia, although he has represented clients across Canada. He works vigorously and tirelessly defending his clients.