Being a Barrister

In South Australia from the earliest times, a Legal Practitioner has been admitted as both a barrister and solicitor. There was debate, from time to time, within the legal community as to whether the profession should be ‘divided’.

An Ordinance of 1845 conferred power on the Judges of the Supreme Court to divide the legal profession if they considered it appropriate but that has never occurred. It did not prevent, however, the debate from re-emerging over the years.

It is probably worth noting s.6 of the Legal Practitioners Act 1981 (SA) which is in the following terms:

“Fusion of the legal profession

(1) It is Parliament’s intention that the legal profession should continue to be a fused profession of barristers and solicitors.

(2) The voluntary establishment of a separate bar is not, however, inconsistent with that
intention, nor is it inconsistent with that intention for legal practitioners voluntarily to confine themselves to practice as solicitors.

(3) An undertaking by a legal practitioner to practise solely as a barrister or to practise solely as a solicitor is contrary to public policy and void (but this subsection does not extend to an undertaking contained in or implied by a contract or professional engagement to provide legal services of a particular kind for or on behalf of another person).

(3a) Nothing in this section affects the validity of any undertaking given to the Supreme
Court by a legal practitioner who receives the title Queen’s Counsel relating to the use of that title in the course of legal practice.

(4) Despite this section, an association of legal practitioners may be lawfully constituted on the basis that membership is confined to legal practitioners who practise solely in a particular field of legal practice or in a particular way.

(5) No contractual or other requirement may be lawfully imposed on a legal practitioner to join an association of legal practitioners.”