By Alex Panousakis
A criminal trial is an adversarial process: that is to say that, in the end, there are two adversaries (the barristers or advocates), each trying to either put their own case or discredit the case of their opponent, before a judge and often a jury, in order to succeed. Given that, the importance of choosing the right barrister for your case cannot be overstated.
It’s wrong to assume that barristers only become useful once a particular criminal matter, whether relatively minor or serious, is destined and heading for trial. Often, involving a barrister at an early stage, to assist with a matter’s strategic progression, can have an incalculable and positive effect on the outcome that we are able to achieve for a client. That said, different matters at different stages of the criminal process may suit some barristers over others. What is most important, above anything else, it to ensure that the barrister that you chose has a close and productive working relationship with your solicitor, to ensure that their time and expertise is being best used to your benefit. Our criminal lawyers, Tom Cuthbertson and Alex Panousakis, maintain excellent relationships with a number of both junior and senior barristers at the Independent Bar, with whom we work regularly. We are able to draw on a pool of significant criminal law expertise to ensure that the barrister briefed on a particular matter is the most appropriate and expert for the job.
The other issue, of course, is cost. Just as in anything else, it cannot be said that the most expensive barrister will necessarily be superior, or do a superior job, in relation to a particular matter. It is true that a barrister’s fee is likely to increase as they become more senior, and that is to be expected. That said, there are other indicators of quality and professionalism than the size of a barristers fee. We are well placed to select and consult with barrister who, while they may be less expensive than others, are able provide excellent, timely and forensic advice to an exceedingly high standard.
If you have a criminal law matter and you would like to brief a barrister, please give either Alex Panousakis or Tom Cuthbertson at our offices on (08) 8464 0033, or on (08) 8312 4520 after hours.