Frequently Asked Questions

Can I speak directly to a barrister or do I need to be referred by a solicitor first?

In urgent or special circumstances you may first speak directly to a barrister. If you decide to engage a barrister, in most cases a solicitor will need to be instructed. Specific enquiries may be directed to individual barristers or to their personal assistants. If in any doubt, please feel free to contact our Chambers Manager in the first instance for advice.

What’s the difference between a barrister and a QC?

A Queen’s Counsel is a barrister whose professional work has been given special acknowledgement by the Crown. ‘Taking silk’ (wearing a special silk gown) has been a way of recognising excellence in New Zealand advocacy. There have been 282 Queen’s Counsel appointed in New Zealand, many of whom have gone on to become judges. There are currently 18 Shortland Chambers’ members who have been acknowledged as Queen’s Counsel. In addition, a number of Shortland Chambers members have become judges of the Court of Appeal, the High Court of New Zealand and the District Court. 

Do any members of Shortland Chambers act as mediators?

Shortland Chambers has several member barristers who are accredited mediators and very experienced in alternative dispute resolution. Members who act as mediators are listed here or contact our Chambers Manager for further information. 

OTHER USEFUL SOURCES OF INFORMATION

NZ Bar Association: https://www.nzbar.org.nz/

Auckland District Law Society Incorporated: http://www.adls.org.nz/

NZ Law Society: https://www.lawsociety.org.nz/

Ministry of Justice: http://www.justice.govt.nz/

Criminal procedure process overview: http://www.justice.govt.nz/services/service-providers/information-for-legal-professionals/criminal-court-processes/criminal-procedure-process-overview/

NZ Legal Information Institute: http://www.nzlii.org/

Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2008 http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2008/0214/latest/DLM1437958.html

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment – mediation  http://employment.govt.nz/er/services/mediators/

What’s the difference between a barrister and a solicitor?

The key difference is that barristers largely confine their practise to disputes, advice and court work. Some are also accredited mediators. It is possible in New Zealand to practise either as a barrister and solicitor or as a barrister sole. Barristers sole may, with a few exceptions, accept instructions only from a solicitor. Your regular solicitor may well be your first port of call. All members of Shortland Chambers are barristers sole and specialise in litigation and disputes. Unlike solicitors, barristers sole are not permitted to practise in law firms and must not receive or hold money or other valuable property for or on behalf of another person. For further information about these roles: https://www.lawsociety.org.nz/for-lawyers/legal-practice

Are barristers employed by Chambers or are they self-employed?

Barristers at Shortland Chambers are all self-employed sole practitioners operating within Chambers, sharing facilities and infrastructure.

What courts do barristers at Shortland Chambers practise in?

Barristers at Shortland Chambers practise at all levels of the court system, as well as in specialist tribunals. For more information about NZ courts: http://www.justice.govt.nz/courts

How do I choose the most appropriate Shortland Chambers barrister for my case?

Look for a barrister with the appropriate level of experience in the area of your dispute and with a good reputation and track record. You may be involved with your barrister for a long time, so it’s important to select someone with whom you have an affinity. You are welcome to speak to more than one Shortland Chambers barrister. Our Chambers’ website enables you to select a number of barristers who might be able to help your case so that you can compare them. Shortland Chambers members cover 18 areas of practice. Only barristers of the highest calibre are accepted as members of Shortland Chambers. 

Why do I need a barrister, rather than a solicitor?

Barristers are dispute specialists. They act for clients involved in disputes and provide expert assistance with resolving them. They will advise clients about their rights and if a case will need to be resolved via the court system or would be more appropriately settled through mediation or arbitration. Your barrister can also provide an expert opinion on what the court may or may not do. Bearing in mind that many cases are resolved before they reach final trial. Barristers are also involved with negotiating settlements of disputes. 

How do I go about briefing my barrister?

The most efficient first step is often to provide a clear chronological summary of your issues. You can then discuss with your barrister your issues and objectives. From there you and your barrister can discuss the best type of approach to your problem and whether there are alternative options for resolving your dispute, such as mediation or arbitration. You may wish to ask about the likely timeframe, how frequently your barrister will communicate with you, and how accessible they will be.

How are Shortland Chambers’ barristers’ fees determined?

Barristers at Shortland Chambers are all self-employed sole practitioners operating within Chambers, sharing facilities and infrastructure.

Do Shortland Chambers’ barristers act in both criminal and civil court cases?

Barristers at Shortland Chambers practise in both civil and serious criminal law.

Can barristers at Shortland Chambers act on both sides of a case?

Yes, it happens very frequently that our barristers find themselves acting as opposing counsel, as they are in high demand by solicitors in Auckland and throughout New Zealand. Confidentiality in documentation and communications is regarded as paramount and is strictly maintained at Shortland Chambers.