The independent bar currently comprises around 14% of the total number of barristers and solicitors practising in New Zealand. It is comprised of barristers sole, that is lawyers who practice independently, solely as a barrister.

The growth in the number of barristers sole in New Zealand is a reasonably recent development in law. Its rise can be attributed to the challenges faced by small to moderately-sized law firms – which make up the bulk of the New Zealand law profession – in providing independent advice and high quality advocacy.

Barristers sole tend to follow the same customs as their counterparts in Britain. They do not accept instructions directly from members of the public but, in keeping with what is known as the intervention rule, take their instructions from a solicitor.