Briefing a barrister

When you’re faced with a complex or high-risk question in tax or super, briefing a barrister can provide you with the expertise and perspective to help you move towards a solution with confidence.

Barristers (who are also referred to as “counsel”) are independent specialists in court work and legal advice. There are specialist barristers across Australia in tax, super and associated areas of law. This includes “King’s Counsel” or “Senior Counsel”, who are barristers of seniority and eminence. The barristers who practice in tax and super will particularly be familiar with the ATO, and also the decision-making approaches of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and the Federal Court of Australia.

Why brief a barrister?

Although barristers are best known for their courtroom advocacy, that’s only part of what they offer. Barristers, through their training, experience and networks, are intimately familiar with the  decision-making processes and reasoning of courts and tribunals. When barristers address complex and high-risk legal questions, they provide precise advice and practical solutions guided by how laws are interpreted and applied by courts and tribunals in practice.

You may consider briefing a barrister to provide advice on high-risk or high-value matters, or when you have limited time to answer a complex question. In those situations, it’s prudent to obtain specialist advice to ensure you fulfill your duties. A barrister’s expertise and objectivity will provide you with confidence as to the best approach in the circumstances.

Who can brief a barrister?

Anyone can brief a barrister. There are broadly two ways you can do it:

  • directly (where you brief a barrister without engaging a solicitor), or
  • indirectly (where you engage a solicitor and instruct them to brief a barrister).

Contact the TNR team if you need to discuss briefing a barrister in terms of a complex or high-risk question in tax or super.

Important: The information contained in this post / article is not advice. Readers should not act solely on the basis of material contained in this post. Items herein are general comments only and do not constitute or convey advice per se. We recommend that our formal advice be sought before acting on anything contained in this post.