'He's Fucking Marvellous!': The Fall and Rise of Barristers' Clerks

6 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2007  

John Flood

Griffith University Law School; University of Westminster School of Law; University College London

Date Written: 2007


Barristers typically rely on a type of consigliere called the barrister's clerk who carries out a number of tasks for them. Clerks manage their time through diary management (eg. when they have to be in court); clerks negotiate their fees; and clerks counsel them on how their careers should be structured (eg. what kind of law to specialize in, when to become a Queen's Counsel). At one time clerks would receive a percentage of the barrister's fees for this work.

Nowadays they are mostly salaried. Moreover, the growth of technology has simplified some tasks, such as listing cases in court which can by done through the internet. However, marketing, fixing fees, and counseling careers still endures.

Using Mary Douglas' idea of taboo, I argue that the clerk defines the dividing line between the sacred area of the law and the profane world of money and clients. The class divisions further emphasize this. Clerks are generally working class compared to the middle-class barrister.

Both sides are uneasy about the relationship, but as long as the current structure of the Bar exists, the need for this moral division of labor will persist.

Keywords: barristers, clerks, bar, lawyers, legal profession

Suggested Citation

Flood, John, 'He's Fucking Marvellous!': The Fall and Rise of Barristers' Clerks (2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1002107 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1002107

John A. Flood (Contact Author)

Griffith University Law School ( email )

Nathan Campus
170 Kessels Road
Nathan 4111, Queensland

HOME PAGE: http://https://experts.griffith.edu.au/academic/j.flood

University of Westminster School of Law ( email )

4 Little Titchfield Street
London, England W1W 7UW
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.westminster.ac.uk

University College London ( email )

Faculty of Laws
Endsleigh Gardens
London, England WC1H 0EG
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.laws.ucl.ac.uk/people-at-ucl-laws/honorary-appointments/

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