Some solicitors undertake family cases themselves, whereas in other cases you might be represented by a barrister. Although in recent years the two professions have merged to some extent, and very recent changes have now given barristers the right to conduct a lot more by way of legal services than ever before, there are slightly different ethical considerations to be borne in mind between the two types of lawyers.
Differences Between Barrister and Solicitor
A solicitor’s duty is entirely to his or her client. That means that they are under a duty to act in your best interests at all times and cannot do anything likely to damage your interests. Barristers’ ethical duties are slightly different. Barristers have an equal duty to their clients and also to the court. What this means is that a barrister may not be able to act for you if you tell them, for example, that you want them to lie in court on your behalf. If this were to happen, in most instances your barrister would be ‘professionally embarrassed’ and would not be able to represent you.
A Barrister’s Expertise
Barristers are specialist court advocates who are specifically trained in relation to litigation and court scenarios. They have more formal advocacy training than solicitors and have higher ‘rights of audience’ than solicitors. This means that they are entitled to argue a case in any court in the land, including the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Unless a solicitor has obtained ‘higher rights’, he or she cannot appear in these courts (in which case their title would be ‘Solicitor Advocate.’) Barristers tend to specialise in a specific area of law, which means that a family law barrister is likely to have undertaken many cases in the Family Court before and will have expert knowledge on the particular case law that pertains to your case.
How Your Barrister is Instructed
While you may shop around for the right solicitor to represent you in your family law case, a barrister has no such choice in his or her clients. Barristers are governed by what is called the ‘cab rank rule’, in that as long as they are sufficiently experienced to do the case and are not already busy, they have to take the case. The exception to this is when a barrister is ‘professionally embarrassed’, such as in the above example, or in some instances if they are asked to represent someone for whom they have previously acted against.
What Your Barrister Wears in the Family Court
In the family court, barristers rarely wear a wig and gown. Most of the time your barrister will dress in the same way as a solicitor – in a dark suit and shirt. The exception to this in the family court is if someone has breached an injunction and the court has indicated that they may send them to prison, in which case wigs and gowns are required.
What to Do if You’re Unhappy With Your Barrister?
If you don’t like your barrister, or aren’t confident in the way they are representing you, it is possible to sack them. Through a final hearing may be a questionable time to do it, but if you are genuinely unhappy you should speak to your solicitor about getting a different barrister to represent you. If you are only unhappy with the way your case was dealt with afterwards, you can make a complaint to the Bar Standards Board (for barristers) or to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (for solicitors). That said, the vast majority of barristers are excellent advocates and work very hard on behalf of their clients, whether you are legally aided or privately paying. Remember, people tend to become barristers because they love to win!
Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.
My ex wish I would rape her ,but she is a ugly fat bastard when I was with her she wanted a water bed to spice thing up but it just turned into the dead sea .
Jake the snake - 2-Apr-22 @ 1:56 AM
My ex acuse me of rape and controlling behaviour and domestic abuse all charges got dropped now can't see my kids I aint seen them for six months the social worker and my ex won't let me know if there OK I'm on low income I wonder if you could help
None - 1-Apr-22 @ 4:25 PM
A decent family barrister in the legal top 500 - tier one will cost around 4-5k a day or more!
Lisa - 2-May-21 @ 7:41 PM
To the lady that wrote this below, Maybe the mother cannot handle the behaviour of her son, Kids can act differently from one parent to another. No one or a court is going to force a parent to see other children they may offer advice but be forced? In time things will work out and hopefully with the right support things will be put in place to enable a relationship between the eldest child and his mother.
Lisa - 2-May-21 @ 7:38 PM
Advice please, my partner and ex wife moved from the marital home 6 months ago. he is keen to have their three children age 7,9 and 11 half the time and bought and appropriate size home and moved to the town where they school. From the outset his ex hasn't been able to maintain boundaries, popping t his house unannounced, calling several times a day coming to my home etc communication is now only through email. The main problem is that the eldest at 11 has ADHD, mild enough that he is fine at school and scouts etc and copes without medication, the school have concured. Mum however appears to find it difficult to manage him and moderate her behaviour around him, maybe more so with hormones starting etc and her stress during the divorce/move etc. She and he had a falling out before Xmas 2020 and he was told to leave and she has made it clear he is not welcome back to her home unless medicated? He has been therefore 3months permanently at my partners which he is fine with and the boy has adjusted well. however, the other two children are still going to Mum's 50% of the time as before, being showered with gifts new phones etc its wholly upsetting tho have the children separated, they have such fun together at Daddy's enjoy each others company etc a court hearing will take place in June to bottom things out as she has previously withheld the smaller ones and even taken them out of school early to prevent their Dad having them.
my question is whether you have any experience of a child being alienated by a parent whilst the other children are still seen? can a court insist they remain together ? is is possible to have a court insist the alienated parent have family counselling to reinstate a relationship with the estranged child (reconnecting therapy)? long term whilst the child is welcome to stay at his dads longer term separating siblings only due to the fact a parent doesn't like a child or finds them more challenging to parent surely can't be allowed? Any advice welcome. He is seeking representation with a Barrister at court.
Ange - 10-Mar-21 @ 12:48 PM
Hi, I am looking for a barister for family law who can represent me. I have got final hearing date on 28th of September in Manchester family court. Plz give me a call on 07462473737. Thank you
Sharif - 30-Jul-20 @ 4:58 PM
Desperately looking for Rottweiler Solicitor in Central London, to support a single dad, who's going through such lays from ex-partner, manipulating Social Services and other professionals too.
Farm name and number would be appreciated very much.
E London - 4-Jun-20 @ 12:47 PM
I am taking my ex wife to court for custody of my two children who have revealed to me that my ex wife is beating them, having wild parties almost every night my son has also disclosed to me that he sleeps in mummys bed with her boyfriends and mummy and mummy is making silly noises while shes asleep there is hardly no food in the house my daughter aged 11 has been taking care of my son 7 because mummy is never there or if she is shes sleeping (due to drugs and drink) what are the chances of me getting cusody
pete - 9-May-19 @ 1:30 PM
Hi I was wondering if you could help me?
I was wondering what are the chances of getting full custody of my son over his mother.
Sam - 28-Feb-19 @ 7:42 AM
hi I just wanted some advice on an issue with regards to my brothers' situation who wants to take his wife to court for child neglect but they are both disputing on the same issue and want to go to court, so basically, a barrister has agreed to represent them both is that possible in the UK
aysha - 1-Feb-19 @ 4:57 PM
Why is the system so for the mother my ex has reported me to the Csa after not getting money consistently so I’ve now set up payment I’ve jumped through hoops to get to see my son but no one can guarantee I see him as his mother stopped contact after she was informed she was now getting less money than I was paying her before why is it now if I don’t pay I get in trouble but she can stop contact when she wants I really want to go to court to get something in place so I can see my son consistently and not be dictated by her I think it’s wrong that mothers like her can get away with extortion how can I get a barrister to represent me as I’ve heard it’s cheaper than going through a solicitor
Hola1 - 28-Nov-18 @ 5:21 AM
I’m a allowed to have 2 barristers for my family matter ?
I have been in court since 2014 Had weekend handover mother unilateral stoped contact in 2015 , I took her back to court she failed to attend for handover at the contact centre took her back to court and then again. She failed to attend again. And then didn’t show up to court again twice after penal notice was attached she showed and the I saw kids 3 times then she stopped contact again . 2 years had already passed now we were in 2017.
She failed to attend again then finally saw my kids in 2018 then the kids had been brainwashed as I only saw them
4 times since 2015 .
Judge didn’t enforce any orders or carry out the penal notices even though they had been attached to the court orders which were broken and most she didn’t show up even .
I’m disgusted at this system.
As a father I feel descriminated against.
Also the Caffcass guardian has been very obstructive as well as she suggested no contact - because children needed a cooling period.
H - 23-Nov-18 @ 8:55 PM
My son split from his partner and was having lot of contact with his 2 children. Last Xmas became difficult due to the mother getting a new partner and all contact was stopped. The mother has made up ridiculous lies. We went to court and a court order was granted for contact twice per week. The mother stopped this after 3 contacts stating all sorts of lies. Have been back to court today and the judge has only awarded myself (grandmother) 3 hours after school per week in which time they can also see their father. The mother has legal aid and unfortunately my son and I do not have legal representation. There will be a final hearing in January and have to submit witness statements. This is all stressful and confusing for a lay person. The judge doesn’t seem to take into account what we have said and only appears to take notice of the mothers lies. Would it be better to employ a solicitor or a barrister for that day and does anybody have any recommendations and costs as to what it might be. Any help would be gratefully received! Desperate!!
Needofjustice - 5-Nov-18 @ 6:36 PM
Advice please:We (my husband & I) have had our parental responsibility removed during a court case that we brought to dissolve a care order.As we were awarded special Guardianship in a previous court case.Where does this leave us now - we had looked after our grand daughter from birth until she went into care at the age of 6 she is now nearly 9.Am I right in thinking we can no longer attempt to dissolve the care order, nor have any rights to contact.
I had to represent myself during the court action to dissolve the care order as could not get legal aid or obtain a pro-bono barrister.Hence anything I brought up in court was totally ignored by the judge.
Redmoggy - 21-Oct-18 @ 10:15 AM
@confused - it depends on the court case. If in terms of seriousness it would be like using a hammer to crack a peanut then it obviously wouldn't be worthwhile.
SiH - 22-May-18 @ 10:20 AM
@jacko.if she has no friends sport is great way to make friends or some club with like minded people .if they don't want to hang with you it be nothing just been a teen .just think back whenyou where that age I bet you didn't want to hang with mum or dad .it most likely about friends now and boyfriends now.I am no expert but I was teen once.
chris - 22-May-18 @ 3:45 AM
My granddaughter has lived at her grandmother's for 6 years but she literally lives across the road and she is there not for any other reason than work schedules ect ect. My grand daughter is 11 and I have a grand son of 9. My daughter and her ex are splitting up and she wants to move out but the ex and his mother are making it as hard as possible. There is domestic violence on his part and a lot of shouting and swearing on both parts.All this has affected the children in a really bad way my daughters ex and his mother have told her they are going to take the kids away from her my daughter went ballistic and they filmed her on there phone. My daughter did shout and swear at her son after his father yet again pushed her buttons and he filmed something she regrets as she knows it is not the children's fault. They have taken her mail so she did not turn up to mediation they have punctured hertyres so she cannot take the kids to school they have done everything to make her look like a bad mum . Social services are now involved but I have a sinking feeling that they are attending because my daughters ex s mother is related to the ex Mayor of Rotherham and strings are being pulled. My daughter wants to move out and has said both children are coming with her the social worker is saying that they do not want to which is not what the children have said they have said they want a relationship with there dad there grandmother and mother which my daughter agreed to. No one is telling my daughter that if her daughter lives with her grandmother then she can stay with her mother when she likes. Her grandmother does not encourage my granddaughter to have a relationship with her mother. My granddaughter does not go out to play she has no friends and sits in her bedroom on the computer . My daughters ex and his family are very anti social they do not have friends and they don't mix with anyone and my granddaughter has become the same she will not come on trios out with us. My grandson to me seems the same as he always has done but the social worker is saying its the other way round. My grandson showed me videos my granddaughter had shown him on YouTube and I was quite shocked the lyrics of these songs were disturbing and the boy who told her to look at them from school could be bullying her. I have tried to contact the social worker and said to the reception it was urgent and no one has contacted me . I am at Witt's end not knowing what to do or where to turn . Can anyone help point me in the right direction .
Jacko - 21-May-18 @ 7:34 PM
My solicitor wishes to come to court with my barrister. Clearly that is double fees. Is it really necessary to have both of them there?
confused. - 21-May-18 @ 10:14 AM
Sorry to post on here. I'm after some advice. My ex partner stopped me seeing My children on regular occasions throughout the past few years. I have not seen them now for 8 months. I was going to take the ex to court but she was very ill so I thought I had better not put her through this ordeal being very ill.
My ex partner passed away recently and my 2 children have been placed with my ex wife's neice and her partner. I'm currently going through a court case to resolve this issue and rightfully get my children back to live with me.
I really dont understand why in have to fight for this right in court when my ex and her family have planned this out without my knowledge for the past 12 months?
I'm their father and I could end up having to pay child maintenance to a man I've never met and also I will have to ask him when I can see my children and for how long??
Really?? Why on earth would a court issue parental responsibility to anyone other than their father? I've not been in trouble I'm financially secure with a house to accomadate them?
I'm totally confused on how this could possibly happen.
Anybody else experienced this scenario and wahtbwas the outcome?
Thank you from a heartbroken loving dad.
Heartbrokendad - 27-Jan-18 @ 8:12 AM
Hi I'm a dad looking for any relevant guidance towards a difficult matter involving my ex partner. After being split for 9 years and contact with my daughter every other weekend and twice during the week. Well my ex has gone to court and taken out a prohibited steps order preventing me from seeing my daughter untill 9th August 2017 where we go to a directions hearing. She has claimed that I abducted my daughter(my daughter chose to stay with me 1 Wednesday evening and didn't want to go home to her mums as she was having issues with her mums boyfriend, her mum even said to her over loud speaker for us all to hear that she could stay at my house tonight). Also on the c100 form she claiming that there could be possible harm to the child so that's why it had to be a urgent hearing in court. So now I'm having to wait till the 9th to see what the court say. This is completely fabricated and is having a major effect on my sons who don't understand why they can't see their sister. What I would like to know is what is the outcome she is looking for? Does she want full custody and for me to have no contact? Does she want me to have no parental involvement in matters? Iv already been logged out of her hospital records since this has happened. Just don't know what my next move is?!?!
Childsy - 21-Jul-17 @ 10:12 AM
Just hoping for a bit of advice.
I am in court with my ex this month over a few issues.
Whilst she confirmed in her C100 application form she is happy with current arrangements (i was in process of applying for more time), her comments to cafcass and now in her statement to the court is that she is now longer happy and wishes the child to be returned to her the evening before - i have an older daughter from previous marrriage and both girls (2 and 9) get on like a house on fire. The current arrangement has been in place since i had to move in October 2015.
She also wants to add her surname to make double barrelled but this was never an issue before but when she left me 6 months after the birth we registered together, its now a big issue. Her name would go from 26 to 32 characters.
She also now wants our daughter to be christened as a catholic, not CofE. She is a non-practicing catholic and i am CofE. The compromise i am putting forward is that given the dissagreement, i believe our daughter should just decide a path a wishes to take when she is older.
A blatant lie she has put in her statement is that i forced her out of the family home and she had to to go back from the corner to her parents.
The truth is that we rented a property from her father, i had an agreement to pay rent. She left saying she needed a months break, never came back. She is clearly trying to paint a bad picture of me but this is a blatant lie and surely this needs to be addressed with the solicitors on the day - its made me so angry and upset that she feels she needs to lie like this (history of lying) in a court to hope the judge favours her.
Would appreciate any advice on these issues.
Lovingdad - 15-Jan-17 @ 8:09 AM
Rob - Your Question:
Can I just say that the site is called "Seperated Dads" Might I suggest that if you are female or looking for female support that you check other websites inclined towards you. The vast majority of issues that us men are facing is due to female behaviour and bias towarsd us, even when the mother is deemed as a completley inappropriate person, rant over!!
Although we are called Separated Dads, we do not see ourselves as wholly 'exclusive'. Many mothers visit the site as they are affected by the same issues as fathers and we will still attempt to help and advise where we can.
SeparatedDads - 20-Dec-16 @ 12:40 PM
Can i just say that the site iscalled "Seperated Dads" Might i suggest that if you are female or looking for female support that you check other websites inclined towards you.
The vast majority of issues that us men are facing is due to female behaviour and bias towarsd us, even when the mother is deemed as a completley inappropriate person, rant over!!
Rob - 20-Dec-16 @ 2:56 AM
Asking for my best friend. She is going to court a week on Friday in order to see her daughter (ex is not a nice man and does not have full custody or anything and my friend has custody of a child from previous relationship). She received a letter from her exs solicitor stating that their client believes she is neglectful etc and a bad mother has got in touch with social services etc (not true) and is actually wanting custody of the child from previous relationship that is no relation to him. They split up years ago (friend is married with a 1 year old boy as well as the other child). My friend will just be representingherself and is very worried. Any advice I can pass on to her would be great
bigsuze - 15-Dec-16 @ 4:22 PM
My wife was suffering frm post natal depression and she had long history of severe deppresion and voilence by her father n brother and she never agreed on treatment and refused to seek help.2 months after my daughter's birth we started having intense argument everyday which she used to start.she accused me of domestic voilence three times and got me arrested once she also gave false details of mine.later she said she was jst tryin to scare me n didnt want to lose me thats why she gave wrong details to police.i told everything to detective in my interview and they never charged me.its been 7 months nw my wife is living in a refuge and social services is not allowing me to see my daughter.my solicitor told me i hv to wait until court and its her 2nd birthday next month.she didnt even allow me on her first birthday.its killing me i dnt knw what to do.i even tried goin through mediator bt social services refused.
Adi - 22-Oct-16 @ 1:42 AM
Melanie - Your Question:
Sorry to post here. Im a female looking for advice off men. I have 2 children to a previous very long term partner which ended but custody is shared easy as with him having access whenever he wants to the kids and lots of phone communication. if we lived in the same city its probably be 50-50. But Im now pregnant to another man I dated for 6 months by accident and he is bullying me for full week on full week off of a newborns custody. Now my offer to him was that because I want to breastfeed and think stability is so important for a newborn in its first year, that he can visit as much as he wants during the week and welcome to stay on weekends and some ill stay in his spare room to get the baby used to his house without me for when its a little older. And then after a year he can start doing overnights. But he is being aggressive and attacking saying its horrible, telling lies about me and only that he will do anything to get his way and for us to miss out on equal time. Him behaving like that is scaring me and im afraid he'll end up missing lots of his childs first year of life behaving that way. Id never rob my child of a strong relationship with her dad even with how scared I am of him. But am I being unfair and wrong in my offer? He works full time long hours and the baby would be with a carer 80% of his week. Im sorry. I just want to do the right thing without screwing her up in her first precious year of life so I would really appreciate and respect a man who isnt emotionally involveds opinion. Thank you for any feedback :)
As the mother you will have automatic parental responsibility on the birth of your child. Your ex will have PR if you register his name on the birth certificate and then he will have some rights,but not automatic rights to access. If you can't agree with your ex regarding contact and access, but you wish the father to play a part in in your child's life, then Mediation may be the way forward. Please see link: Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? here. This should take the direct pressure off you and you will be able to come to an agreement that hopefully suits you both. If your ex is not satisfied with this, then he will have the option to take the matter to court. However, this does not mean your ex will get his way as the court will always decides what it thinks is in the best interests of your child. It seems to me that you are being reasonable with the access arrangements you are offering, you now just need to try and agree between yourselves. At the same time, having a child is an emotional time for a man and they can often feel powerless if the relationship between you is in the past, at the same time you should not let yourself be bullied by your ex. Rational talks and mutual decisions are the best for you both as parents and of course for your child.
SeparatedDads - 24-May-16 @ 11:14 AM
Sorry to post here. Im a female looking for advice off men. I have 2 children to a previous very long term partner which ended but custody is shared easy as with him having access whenever he wants to the kids and lots of phone communication.. if we lived in the same city its probably be 50-50. But Im now pregnant to another man i dated for 6 months by accident and he is bullying me for full week on full week off of a newborns custody. Now my offer to him was that because i want to breastfeed and think stability is so important for a newborn in its first year, that he can visit as much as he wants during the week and welcome to stay on weekends and some ill stay in his spare room to get the baby used to his house without me for when its a little older. And then after a year he can start doing overnights. But he is being aggressive and attacking saying its horrible, telling lies about me and only that he will do anything to get his way and for us to miss out on equal time.Him behaving like that is scaring me and im afraid he'll end up missing lots of his childs first year of life behaving that way. Id never rob my child of a strong relationship with her dad even with how scared I am of him. But am I being unfair and wrong in my offer? He works full time long hours and the baby would be with a carer 80% of his week. Im sorry. I just want to do the right thing without screwing her up in her first precious year of life so I would really appreciate and respect a man who isnt emotionally involveds opinion. Thank you for any feedback :)
Melanie - 23-May-16 @ 11:31 AM
DaddyO82 - Your Question:
Hi, I go to court in a month against my ex for my daughter and getting all the general things in order as mediation didn't work. I have a solicitor and have been informed she is getting a barrister and has lied and changed wordings of things to suit her in her affidavit. What happens when the lies are proven to be lies and should I be looking for a barrister too ? I am quite confident in my solicitor though.
As long as you are confident in your solicitor and your solicitor obviously knows your background case well, then there is no reason to change and your solicitor will advise if he/she thinks it necessary. I can't predict what will happen in court, or what will happen if the lies are proven, it really is a case of what the Cafcass Report concludes and what the judge's opinion is on the day.
SeparatedDads - 28-Apr-16 @ 11:38 AM
I go to court in a month against my ex for my daughter and getting all the general things in order as mediation didn't work. I have a solicitor and have been informed she is getting a barrister and has lied and changed wordings of things to suit her in her affidavit. What happens when the lies are proven to be lies and should I be looking for a barrister too ? I am quite confident in my solicitor though.
DaddyO82 - 27-Apr-16 @ 1:17 PM
Serj - Your Question:
HiI am looking for a good and nott expensive and outspoken barrister for 22nd of Feb and 5 days starting from 7th of March.Basically my bther is geting divorce but his wife dragged me and my older brother too for her financial gains.
You would have to locate a barrister via the link here.