129 QUEEN’S COUNSEL APPOINTED IN 2009-10 COMPETITION
The fourth round of appointments as Queen’s Counsel was announced today. These appointments are made following consideration by the independent Selection Panel, which recommends who should receive this highly sought-after award. All those appointed have demonstrated excellence in advocacy in the higher courts.
Professor Dame Joan Higgins, Chair of the QC Selection Panel, said today:
I have great pleasure at the announcement of these 129 names. I warmly congratulate all those whose appointment has been announced today. It is encouraging to see such a wide variety of advocates among the new appointments.
The Selection Panel believes that the quality of applications this year was higher than ever. Nevertheless, inevitably, some applicants have had to be disappointed. The standard for appointment is very high. Even if an advocate
has not been appointed on this occasion it does not mean that he or she is not a valued and effective practitioner.
The Selection Panel would also like to express its warm appreciation to the 1700 assessors who provided evidence on behalf of one or more applicants and without whom the process could not have worked effectively. All the Panel’s
decisions have been based solely on the evidence provided by these assessors and by the applicants themselves.
I am encouraged that the proportion of successful applicants from an ethnic minority background broadly matches that for white applicants. I am also pleased that the number of successful women applicants remains high.
It is disappointing that we have not been able to recommend more solicitors or employed advocates, after the higher number of appointments last year. But all applicants are assessed against a common competency framework and a
common standard of excellence. There are no quotas, and we treat all applications in the same way. I hope that there will be further appointments in future years.
On a personal basis I should also We are publishing a short report giving further information about this year’s
competition, with statistical information relating to successful and unsuccessful applicants. It will be available on our website.
The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Rt. Hon. Jack Straw MP, announced today (under embargo) the names of 129 Queen’s Counsel from 275 applicants.
The 129 (47% of all applicants) appointed this year included:
• 20 women applicants (43% of the 46 who applied). In the previous competition 16 women (55% of 29) were appointed.
• 17 applicants who declared an ethnic origin other than white (49% of the 35 who applied, 13% of all applicants), a higher proportion than in the previous competition when 4 applicants (27%) were appointed.
• 1 solicitor advocate (10% of the 10 who applied). In 2009 4 applications were received of whom 3 (75%) were appointed.
• 6 applicants aged 55 or over (24% of this age group) as at the closing date for applications(compared to 5 applicants (20%) in 2009) Ends
Notes to Editors
1. Queen’s Counsel are appointed by The Queen, on the advice of the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. He is in turn advised by an independent Selection Panel which receives and considers each application and
makes recommendations as to appointment.
2. The members of the independent Queen’s Counsel Selection Panel are:
Professor Dame Joan Higgins DBE (Chairman)
Lord Carlile of Berriew QC
Sir Colin Budd KCMG
Sir Paul Kennedy
Jean Ritchie QC
Karamjit Singh CBE
The Panel is supported by its own Secretariat.
3. The scheme was developed by the Bar Council and the Law Society, with the support of the (then) Department for Constitutional Affairs, and approved by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State (Lord Falconer) in November 2004. Refinements to the scheme were similarly agreed in 2006 building on experience of the first year. The selection process is financed entirely through applicants’ fees. A copy of the agreed Process and further information is available from the Queen’s Counsel Appointments website: www.qcapplications.org.uk
4. Applications closed on 23rd April 2009 and the Selection Panel delivered recommendations to the Secretary of State for Justice on 14th December 2009. Each applicant has been considered against five competencies:
• Understanding and using the law
• Oral and written advocacy
• Working with others
226 of the 275 applicants were interviewed by the Selection Panel. All unsuccessful applicants receive personal feedback on their application. The Panel expects to invite applications for the next round of appointments in March
5. The new Queen’s Counsel announced today will formally become Silks when they make their declaration before the Lord Chancellor at the ceremony on 22 March 2009.
6. Copies of the Selection Panel’s report are also available on the QCA website. Further information can also be obtained from David Watts, Head of QC Appointments Secretariat 0207 831 0020.