Barristers plead cases before civil, criminal and industrial courts and other tribunals.

Specialisations: Queen's Counsel, Senior Counsel.

You need to complete a law degree. In addition, you will need to take a Bar examination and obtain an Australian Practising Certificate (Barrister). Many Barristers complete postgraduate studies.

Tasks

  • receiving written information in the form of briefs and verbal instructions concerning cases from Solicitors, other specialist Legal Professionals and clients
  • providing advice and written opinions on points of law
  • conferring with clients and witnesses in preparation for court proceedings
  • drawing up pleadings, affidavits and other court documents
  • researching statutes and previous court decisions relevant to cases
  • outlining the facts to the court, calling and questioning witnesses, and making addresses to the court to argue a client's case
  • providing opinion on complex legal issues
  • may draw up or settle documents

All Barristers

  • Unavailable Weekly Pay
  • Very strong Future Growth
  • Lower unemployment Unemployment
  • 12,000 workers Employment Size
  • Very high skill Skill level rating
  • 85% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 50 hours Average full-time
  • 46 years Average age
  • 32% female Gender Share

The number of people working as Barristers (in their main job) grew very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow very strongly over the next 5 years:
from 12,000 in 2018 to 13,800 by 2023.
Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).
There are likely to be around 5,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 1,000 a year).

  • Size: This is a medium sized occupation.
  • Unemployment: Unemployment was below average in 2018.
  • Location: Barristers work in many regions of Australia.
  • Industries: Most work in Professional, Scientific and Technical Services; Public Administration and Safety; and Financial and Insurance Services.
  • Full-time: Most work full-time (85%, much higher than the average of 66%).
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 50 hours per week at work (compared to the average of 44 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 46 years (compared to the average of 40 years). Many workers are 45 years or older (56%).
  • Gender: 32% of workers are female (compared to the average of 48%).

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2018 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2023.
YearNumber of Workers
20085200
20098200
20108300
20116900
20126400
20137300
20149100
20157900
20167000
20177300
201812000
202313800

Weekly Earnings

Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

No data is available for the selected graph for this Occupation.

Main Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services67.8
Public Administration and Safety27.6
Financial and Insurance Services1.3
Mining0.4
Other Industries2.9

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateBarristersAll Jobs Average
NSW35.431.6
VIC30.225.6
QLD16.320.0
SA6.37.0
WA7.310.8
TAS1.62.0
NT1.11.0
ACT1.81.9

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketBarristersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190.0-5.05.0
20-240.6-9.39.3
25-3417.7-22.922.9
35-4426.2-22.022.0
45-5426.5-21.621.6
55-5910.3-9.09.0
60-649.4-6.06.0
65 and Over9.4-4.24.2

Education Level

Highest Level of Education (% Share)

Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of QualificationBarristersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate33.8-10.110.1
Bachelor degree59.3-21.821.8
Advanced Diploma/Diploma3.9-11.611.6
Certificate III/IV0.7-21.121.1
Year 121.8-18.118.1
Year 110.3-4.84.8
Year 10 and below0.2-12.512.5

You need to complete a law degree. In addition, you will need to take a Bar examination and obtain an Australian Practising Certificate (Barrister). Many Barristers complete postgraduate studies.

You must be registered with the High Court of Australia. Membership with the Australian Bar Association may be useful.

Checks, licences and tickets

You may need:

  • national police check

Thinking about study or training?

Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

  • Search and compare thousands of higher education courses, and their entry requirements from different institutions across Australia at Course Seeker website.
  • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.

Or check out related courses on Job Outlook.

Useful links and resources


The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

Employers look for Barristers with good people skills who are trustworthy and responsible.

Filter Skills & Knowledge

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  1. English language

    78% Skill level

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  2. Law and government

    78% Skill level

    How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.

  3. Customer and personal service

    74% Skill level

    Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  4. Administration and management

    65% Skill level

    Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.

  5. Personnel and human resources

    62% Skill level

    Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 23-1011.00 - Lawyers.

Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Filter Work Environment

Demands

The physical and social demands workers face most often are shown below.

  1. Electronic mail

    100% Important

    Use electronic mail.

  2. Indoors, heat controlled

    100% Important

    Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.

  3. Telephone

    99% Important

    Talk on the telephone.

  4. Face-to-face discussions

    98% Important

    Talk with people face-to-face.

  5. Impact of decisions

    96% Important

    Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 23-1011.00 - Lawyers.

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