A recent answer refers to inabilities in certain circumstances for a barrister to represent someone “as counsel,” which begged the question around what the alternatives to this could be and indeed what exactly is meant by the phrase. So voila, without further ado.

1 Answer 1


The sentence before that gives required context

You can work for a company and be "their" lawyer. This means you cannot represent in court (as counsel) anyone else.

This means one thing: You can be in-house counsel and then work exclusively for the company.

An in-house Barrister is still a person

Let's assume Alice is married to Bob the Barrister, who works for Clover-Co. Alice buys a Clover-Co Clover blanket and is damaged by the chemicals on it.

Now, Alice can sue Clover-Co, but she can not ask her husband Bob to represent her in court for two reasons: First, Bob is working for the opposing side (and may be barred from representing either party on ethical reasons anyway - strong conflict of interests here), and second, his employment contract stipulates he uses his lawyer-skills only for Clover-Co.

However, Bob may still assist Alice in non-counsel-related things, such as driving her to the doctor and court or suggesting a colleague he knows from law school/court who might represent her.

Now, back to the case. Alice is in court and her lawyer Darren does call up Bob the Barrister as a witness. Bob has to comply, he is not acting as a lawyer or counsel to anyone, just as a witness.

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