A barrister gives expert legal advice and represents their clients in court. They usually focus on a specific area of law. This profession involves providing advice on legal matters and representing clients before judicial entities.
Whilst a barristers’ clerk isn’t based in the courts as such, they do work for a barrister or a barristers’ office where they organise the workload of the barrister working there.
Day-to-day duties include preparing papers and transferring materials to and from court, organising the law library and managing a barristers’ daily diary and keeping their information up-to-date.
With experience, you may progress to become a senior barristers’ clerk and would be responsible for bringing business into chambers and allocating cases to barristers.
Court Administrative Officer
A court administrative officer helps with the day-to-day running of the courts. Dealing with enquiries from the public, booking in dates and times for court hearings and allocating cases to courtrooms would be the kind of work typically undertaken by a court administrative officer.
They also follow up on the court’s decision after a hearing, update the court systems with decisions and making sure that lawyers have the right paperwork for each case.
Court clerks are also known as court legal advisers and are qualified barristers or solicitors that are assigned to work with magistrates.
Court clerks work alongside magistrates that are presiding over criminal cases or specific civil proceedings, providing them with advice on applicable laws and judicial procedures.
The magistrate considers and analyses the facts of the case and the clerk provides them with guidance on the legal concepts, precedents and rules, which are relevant to the matter being heard.
They also make sure that court proceedings move along smoothly, explain procedures to defendants and witnesses in order to avoid disruptions and make sure that all the people involved in court proceedings conform to the conventions of the court.
A court reporter is tasked with recording and preparing a complete, word-for-word account of judicial proceedings.
Court ushers make sure that everyone involved with a court case is present and carry out various tasks to help the process run smoothly. Duties include preparation of the courtroom, meeting and greeting court users and visitors, checking that all relevant parties are present and directing the taking of oaths.
Crown prosecutors make sure decisions to bring people to court are fair and likely to succeed. They do this by examining criminal cases investigated by the police.
Crown prosecutors advise the police on matters relating to criminal cases. Then they consider whether there is enough evidence and public interest for a prosecution.
The work of a crown prosecutor includes checking the facts and documents for each case, considering evidence, advising on suitable charges, preparing the prosecution and questioning the defendant and witnesses if necessary.
The main responsibilities of a judge are to preside over cases brought before the court and review legal briefs, arguments and evidence presented by the defence and the prosecution or the two combative parties in a dispute. Judges also provide support and guidance to juries and help them to understand their duties and responsibilities.
They will also pass the final verdict in the dispute. In criminal law cases, they will also decide on the sentence which will be endured by the defendant once a conviction has been made.
Within the UK legal setup, a distinction is drawn between the roles of a solicitor and a barrister, the difference being the grant of rights of audience to higher-level courts.
However, legal reforms extended the rights of audience to solicitors, provided that prescribed training, experience and professional qualification criteria are met. Enter solicitor advocates!
The duties and responsibilities of solicitor advocates are similar to those of a barrister. They represent clients in proceedings before higher courts, starting from the Crown Court and ending with the House of Lords. These expert solicitors specialise in civil or criminal law or, in some cases, they do a hybrid of both.
And there we have it – a range of occupations that you can undertake in the courts!