First of all, it must be defined what the barrister brief actually is. In the nutshell, the barrister brief is a set of instructions that are given to a barrister by a solicitor or a client directly, though it usually involves both the barrister and solicitor. The brief is prepared by solicitor with the aim to instruct and give all relevant information about the case, as well as to certain background facts to help barrister to do his work as quickly as possible to avoid delays.
To begin with, there are no set rules on how the structure of the briefs or instructions should appear, as much as there is no single list of documents that should be added to the brief. Everything depends on the case itself. However, there are some basic elements on how to write a barrister brief that must be considered by solicitor when preparing documents, files and instructions for barrister.
The most important part in preparation is discussing all peculiarities with the client to avoid any possible misunderstanding. It must be stated clearly that solicitor is going to brief a barrister, the issue about the basis the barrister will charge should also be discussed beforehand. The discussion should include client’s personal attitude to the settlement, compromise or the case in general as a brief with no statements from the client is de facto worthless.
- Timing. Doing everything in time sometimes means success. Delivering documents and other information in time gives the Counsel an opportunity to spend more time revising and trying to understand the case, rather than making quick decisions. The solicitor is to state precise time limitations and time by which you desire material to be sent back.
- As it was mentioned above – a brief without statements from the client is almost invalid, moreover those statements should be given in exact chronological order. It should also mention all relevant documents.
- Sign it. Make sure you have stated your name and contacts on the front cover. It makes the process of looking for the briefs way more time-efficient.
- Concerning implicated documents – they must be of good quality. All the copies should be presented in the strict order and must readable. Avoid using low-quality materials and black and white photos – they are invalid. It is also worth to make an electronic copy of your brief. It enables fast ways of searching through the document.
- As the main format of presenting, the brief is physical one be sure your physical copy is of good quality as well. It must be kept in a nice folder, printed only on one A4 side as pages may be rearranged later.
- Apply all relevant documents. If you doubt if the document is relevant you’d better apply it as it is easier and takes less time to ignore additional information than to seek for unknown. Remember, time means not only money but success as well.
- Organize the brief in a rational way. Stick to the order the documents are going to be revised on trial. Reorganize the brief if it is needed and for sure update it while drafting it.
- Frame a list of all documents that are going to be used in the brief for a barrister to understand what to expect.