Dictionary

  • Brief to counsel

    Brief to counsel is a summary prepared by a solicitor for a barrister, containing all of the information and documents relevant to the presentation of a case in court. A brief to counsel, at a minimum, contains instructions from the solicitor to counsel regarding the specific work to be undertaken.
    A brief will usually be broken down into a specific scope, for example:

    • Brief to advise;
    • Brief to advise on evidence;
    • Brief to settle a document; or
    • Brief to appear at a hearing

    To ensure the ease of reference the Law Society of New South Wales recommends that a brief contain the following:

    • An index;
    • Obseration on brief
    • Copies of all pleadings
    • Copies of letters seeking and furnishing particulars
    • Copies of interrogatories and answers;
    • The proofs of evidence of the witnesses;
    • A list of documents cross-indexed by referenced to pages in the brief;
    • Copies of all documents to be tendered as evidence;
    • Copies of documents produced on discovery.

    A brief should be delivered to counsel as soon as practicable in advance of a hearing and counsel have obligations to accept a delivered brief on a ‘cab rank’ basis. This means that a barrister is obligated to accept a brief so long as:

    • The brief is within a barrister’s “capacity, skill and experience”;
    • The barrister is available; the fee offered for the brief is acceptable for the barrister; and
    • The barrister is not obliged or permitted to refuse the brief under the Uniform Bar Rules.

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