8667.0 - Legal Services, Australia, 2007-08 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/06/2009   
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Barrister type

Sources of fee income



At the end of June 2008, there were 3,869 barristers operating businesses in Australia. These businesses

  • employed 1,285 persons, in addition to the 3,869 barristers
  • generated income of $1.4b during the 2007-08 financial year
  • incurred expenses of $388.1m for the same period.


Businesses operated by senior counsel barristers accounted for 17% (or 656) of all barrister businesses, however they earned 36.1% ($504.3m) of all barrister business income in 2007-08. Average operating profit per barrister was higher for senior counsel barristers at $580,900, in comparison to junior counsel barristers, with an average of $195,800.

Of the $1.4b total income generated by barristers, 98.8% (or $1.4b) was from fee income from the provision of legal services. As the graph below shows, barristers derived the majority of their fee income from commercial law, which accounted for 27.3% of total fee income (or $377.7m), followed by personal injury law which accounted for 21.7% (or $300.4m) and criminal law which accounted for 11.8% (or $162.6m).

Sources of fee income(a), Barristers
Graph: Sources of fee income(a), Barristers


The graph below shows that payments for legal support services constituted 24.5% (or $94.9m) of barrister expenses. Rent, leasing and hiring represented 18.4% (or $71.3m) of total expenses, labour costs represented 15.8% (or $61.2m) and professional expenses 10.3% (or $40m).

Expenses(a), Barristers
Graph: Expenses(a), Barristers