In countries with this dichotomy of the legal profession, mostly barristers argue in courts. In the UK, solicitors with Higher Rights of Audience can argue in lower courts.

However, if Solicitors General argue in courts, then ought they not be called 'Barristers General'? Does this nomenclature contradict the English definitions of 'barrister' vs 'solicitor'?


The dichotomy between solicitors and barristers in the UK isn't one based on verbal definitions in the English language. In other words, the fact that barristers argue and solicitors don't isn't something that's inherent to the words, it's just how British law decided to divide it. Since those countries with solicitor generals don't have this dichotomy, they generally don't have anything actually called a barrister, and there's no reason why the solicitor general couldn't be called that, since solicitor doesn't require that he not argue in court.

  • The UK does of course have an Attorney General, who is in court more often than the Solictor General. Apr 15 '17 at 12:55
  • It's an odd answer because England does have a Solicitor General, so it's not clear what "Since those countries ..." can mean. Is there a typo here? Barristers are not, and have never been, attorneys (at law) in England - at least not as a result of their profession -- whereas all solicitors are. I suspect that that is part of the reason. As a government you want an attorney on the payroll. You can always hire an advocate. Also: "barrister" is a fairly new idea. "Serjeant" would be the older notion. Jan 30 '20 at 14:56

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