From employed to self employed Barrister

Thu, 15 Dec 2022

Moving from the employed to self-employed Bar is always a daunting prospect. The benefits of being an employed barrister are persuasive – a regular and stable income, a good pension and annual leave are some of the benefits. However, for me, the desire to be self-employed, to have control of my practice and the ability to prosecute and defend meant that in early 2022 I decided to apply for tenancy at No5. In March 2022 I officially joined Chambers as a tenant in the crime group where I now prosecute and defend as well as conducting regulatory work.

Prior to joining Chambers I was employed as a pupil and then Crown Prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service. As part of my role as a Crown Prosecutor I regularly conducted file reviews for Magistrates Court matters as well as prosecuting all types of hearings in the Magistrates Court. Around Christmas 2021 I started to think about moving to the self-employed Bar. I wanted to be able to both prosecute and defend and I also wanted a Crown Court practice. I started to have conversations with other barristers about making the move. The advice from them all was similar, that I needed to ensure I had sufficient funds to allow for the delay in being paid once you’re self-employed but that my career would progress much faster at the self-employed Bar.

I decided to apply to No5 as I knew, from completing a secondment during pupillage with them that they had an excellent reputation as a criminal set and that their members were very supportive. For the first few weeks of tenancy I shadowed various different members of Chambers in the Crown Court, observing both prosecution and defence work. After a few weeks I started my own work, prosecuting and defending in the Crown and Magistrates Court. I am a Level 2 prosecutor, meaning that I can prosecute matters such as committal for sentences, appeals and straightforward trials. I have prosecuted trials such as money laundering and ABH. My defence practice is also starting to develop. I have defended committal for sentences, PTPH’s and trials for offences such as possession with intent to supply, robbery and Section 18. I know that doing both prosecution and defence work has made me a much better advocate.

To conclude, would I recommend moving from the employed to self-employed Bar? Absolutely. Of course, there are risks – there is a delay in income and you have to think about things like VAT returns and tax; but the positives far outweigh any negatives. I am so pleased with my decision to move to the self-employed Bar and know that it was the right decision to join No5.

Related articles

Sentencing Remarks Regina -v- Mohammed Idrees Farouk and Ridhwaan Farouk...

Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2022
In cases involving child abuse or neglect or more serious injuries to children, criminal proceedings are frequently foreshadowed by family proceedings. It is also an issue which arises commonly in cases involving domestic violence. It may be that it assists the criminal proceedings to rely on documentation, evidence and judgments from family proceedings....

Date: Fri, 05 Mar 2021
A new authority from the Court of Appeal has offered guidance to Counsel on what their professional obligations are when a defendant’s case changes part way through....

Date: Fri, 05 Mar 2021