Barristers' Clerks: The Law's Middlemen

J. Flood, Barristers' Clerks: The Law's Middlemen, Manchester University Press, 1983

168 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2018

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John Flood

Griffith University - Griffith Law School; University College London; University of Westminster - School of Law; Centre for Blockchain Technologies

Date Written: September 1, 1983

Abstract

This is the text of the original book on barristers' clerks published in 1983. It is long out of print and Manchester University Press have assigned me the copyright.

This is the first piece of research I undertook in my academic career. It's an ethnography of a small but vitally important group of people who work in the British legal system. Most barristers work in units called chambers in which, though self-employed, they function as an organisation. In order to make this work barristers' clerks run the chambers. They do a variety of tasks: organise diaries, negotiate and handle fees, and advise barristers on how they should manage their careers, suggesting when to move into a new area of practice or become a Queen's Counsel (take silk).

Barristers' clerks aren't formally qualified and have no legal training, but they know a lot about law and operate across the system to make the courts, trials, etc, work on time and in budget. They are experts in managing the system. I organise the book along the lines of relationships clerks form with salient others. These are their relationships with barristers; with solicitors; with the courts; and with each other which includes the role of favour banks.

The research is an anthropological study in which I spent time in a number of chambers observing and eventually participating as a clerk myself. Although the work predates computers and all, it still has relevance for the way the Bar operates.

The book has had its own career independent of me. I first became aware of this, when on my return to England, I went to a Bar Council conference and saw some barristers' clerks on a panel. Struck by their thoughtful approach to clerking I asked for their help thinking I could update. I discovered they were using my book as the basis for their papers and moreover some were using it as a training manual for junior clerks. To have this kind of confirmation of the accuracy of one's work is unusual, but immensely satisfying. So I am making it available here.

Keywords: barristers' clerks, legal system, barristers, lawyers

Suggested Citation

Flood, John A., Barristers' Clerks: The Law's Middlemen (September 1, 1983). J. Flood, Barristers' Clerks: The Law's Middlemen, Manchester University Press, 1983. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3291963

John A. Flood (Contact Author)

Griffith University - Griffith Law School ( email )

Nathan Campus
170 Kessels Road
Nathan 4111, Queensland
Australia

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

University College London ( email )

Gower St
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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

University of Westminster - School of Law ( email )

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

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

Centre for Blockchain Technologies ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://blockchain.cs.ucl.ac.uk/john-flood/

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