Most criminal barristers are self-employed, and work independently out of a collection of other self-employed barristers known as a chambers. A criminal barrister builds a reputation from conducting cases. They are also promoted by their chambers and work is distributed between members of chambers . Barristers working from chambers help each other out and often work in practice teams. If necessary they cover each other’s cases and if a barrister becomes unavailable another criminal barrister in chambers will often take over the conduct of the case.
Chambers have administrative staff to run barrister’s diaries and to collect their fees. These administrators are called clerks, and they are responsible for the smooth running of chambers: they liaise with solicitors, set the barrister’s fees and ensure they are paid, as well as allocating work and ensuring that each member of chambers has the right amount of work in their diary (and that nobody is double-booked for court commitments!).
A list of every chambers in England and Wales, arranged by practice area and ranked according to a range of factors like client satisfaction and the prestige of their cases, is compiled every year by both of the following authorities: