Barrister Rōia Kōti

Barristers give legal advice and appear on behalf of clients in civil, family and criminal cases in courts and tribunals.

Barristers need to be registered with the New Zealand Law Society and hold a current practising certificate.

Barristers may do some or all of the following:

  • give legal advice to solicitors and solicitors' clients
  • give legal opinions 
  • prepare and conduct civil, criminal and family cases in court
  • prepare and present cases to tribunals and committees.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for barristers includes:

  • general legal work
  • solicitor work
  • public speaking.

Personal Qualities

Barristers need to be:

  • analytical
  • persuasive
  • able to think on their feet
  • good at working under pressure
  • confident
  • ethical, responsible and able to keep information private
  • good at public speaking.


Barristers need to have:

  • knowledge of New Zealand laws and the legal system
  • knowledge of courthouse procedure
  • ability to present evidence in court
  • legal research skills.



  • usually work regular business hours, but may need to work evenings and weekends doing research
  • work in offices and courts
  • may travel to attend court, talk to witnesses or view scenes relevant to a case.

Subject Recommendations

A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include English, history and classical studies, social studies and te reo Māori.

Barristers can earn around $63K per year.

Pay for barristers varies depending on their experience, the organisation they work for, and the region they work in. For barristers with:

  • less than one year's experience, the median salary is $63,000 a year.
  • two years' experience, the median salary is $72,000 a year.
  • three years' experience, the median salary is $80,000 a year.
  • four years' experience, the median salary is $95,000 a year.
  • five or more years' experience, the median salary is $131,000 a year.

They may also receive benefits such as bonuses and allowances.

Source: Aotearoa Legal Workers' Union (ALWU), 'New Zealand Legal Industry Employment Report 2022-2023', 2023

Barristers usually progress to set up their own practice.

Barristers may specialise in an area of law such as:

  • family law
  • criminal law
  • environmental law
  • commercial law
  • human rights.

Years Of Training

3-4 years of training usually required

To become a barrister you need to: 

  • complete a Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB)
  • complete a Professional Legal Studies Course
  • get a completion certificate from the New Zealand Council of Legal Education
  • get a certificate of character from the Law Society
  • be admitted to the roll of Barristers and Solicitors of the High Court of New Zealand
  • hold a current practising certificate issued by the Law Society.