Glossary of Terms

All industries have their own business language and acronyms. When joining a new industry, understanding the “jargon” is sometimes half the battle. We have put together a glossary of terms to help you with this course, and generally in the workplace. These terms and acronyms will become a part of your own language throughout your career as a barristers’ clerk.
Term Description
Bar Council The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It is also known as the General Council of the Bar and is the approved regulator of the Bar. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board.
Bar School The informal name for a provider of the vocational component.
Bar Standards Board The Bar’s independent regulator.
Bench The judge/judges.
Bencher A senior member of an Inn of Court, also known as a Master of the Bench.
Brief The documents setting out case instructions for a barrister to argue a case in court.
Call to the Bar The bestowal of the title of “barrister” by an Inn of Court on those who have completed the necessary training requirements and have satisfied their Inn that they are fit and proper to be called to the Bar.
Circuits The six geographical areas into which the courts of England and Wales are divided: North-Eastern, Northern, Midland, South-Eastern, Western and Wales, and Chester Circuits.
Chambers The collective name for a group of self-employed barristers who share premises, a corporate identity, staff, and overheads.
Counsel This is simply another way of referring to a barrister.
CPS The Crown Prosecution Service, the primary body responsible for the prosecution of criminal offences in England and Wales.
Devilling Completing paid work for other members of chambers.
EL Employers Liability.
Head of Chambers (HOC) A senior barrister in a set of chambers who is elected or appointed as its head
HMCTS Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service.
Legislation Legislation is a law or a set of laws that have been passed by Parliament.
Inn of Court The four historic institutions with the exclusive right to call barristers to the Bar.
Indictable offence An offence where the defendant has the right to trial by jury.
Injunction A court order requiring a person to do or cease doing a specific action.
RCJ Royal Courts of Justice – Strand, London WC2A 2LL.
RTA Road Traffic Accident.
Set Another name for a barristers’ chambers.
Statute An Act of Parliament is a law made by the UK Parliament.
PI Personal Injury.
PL Public Liability.
Pupillage Pupillages are divided into two six-month periods. Most chambers now only offer 12-month pupillages; however, it is still possible to undertake the two sixes at different sets.
Independent Bar Describes self-employed barristers.
Judiciary The system of courts that interprets, defends, and applies the law in the name of the state.
Junior A barrister not yet appointed silk. Note: older juniors are known as senior juniors.
Junior brief A case on which a junior is led by a senior. Such cases are too much work for one barrister alone and may involve a lot of research or run for a long time. Ordinarily, junior counsel will not conduct advocacy.
QC Queens Counsel, also referred to as Silk.
Member A term for a barrister – a member of the Bar or a Member of chambers.
Mini-pupillage Work experience at a set of chambers, normally lasting between one and five days.
MOJ Ministry of Justice.
SLA Service Level Agreement.
Supervisor The name of a barrister who supervises pupils, also known as a pupil master.
Tenant/tenancy A barrister who is given permission from chambers to join their set and work with them. A “squatter” describes someone who is permitted to use chambers’ premises but is not actually a member of the set.
Tenant (door) A “door tenant” describes someone who is affiliated with the set but does not conduct business from chambers’ premises.
Third Six When pupils are not successful in gaining tenancy, they can apply for a third six (months’) vocational training at another set, in the hope of success in securing tenancy.