2014-15 Competition Opening


The Queen’s Counsel Selection Panel has announced today that it is inviting applications for appointment as Queen’s Counsel from barristers and solicitors with rights of audience in the higher courts from Tuesday 4 March 2014.

The application form and guidance for applicants will be available on the Panel’s website at  ww.qcapplications.org.uk from Tuesday 4 March 2014. The deadline for receipt of applications is 5pm on Tuesday 15 April 2014. On current expectations the outcome of the competition will be announced in the early part of 2015.

All applicants are assessed against a common competency framework and a common standard of excellence. There are no quotas, and the Panel treats all applications in the same way. The Panel will be looking for applicants who demonstrate five competencies to a standard of excellence. The competencies are:

A – Understanding and using the Law
B – Written and oral Advocacy
C – Working with others
D – Diversity
E – Integrity

The award is for excellence in advocacy in the higher courts and equivalent tribunals, and arbitrations. The advocacy may be in written or oral form and relates to developing and advancing a client’s or employer’s case to secure the best outcome for the client in a dispute. That outcome may, for example, be secured through arbitration, court decision or a settlement agreement. The Panel recognises that not all applicants have the same opportunity to undertake significant oral advocacy in court, and takes into account the type of practice of the applicant in coming to its decision. However, there needs to be some evidence of excellence demonstrated in oral advocacy.

Applicants are required to provide a summary description of their practice and recent cases, a self-assessment as to how they meet the competencies and the names of assessors who have recently encountered them at work – judges or arbitrators, fellow practitioners and professional clients or client proxies. The Panel will consider the evidence from the application form and the assessments received and decide, on the basis of the available evidence, which applicants justify an interview.

The Panel will have ten members, five of whom, including the chairman, are lay (i.e. non-lawyer) members. The Panel is independent of the legal professions and Government.

The Panel’s recommendations will be passed to the Lord Chancellor, who will put recommendations to The Queen. The Lord Chancellor has no power to veto names or to add names of his own.

The Scheme is funded entirely by fees from applicants.

Notes to Editors:
1. Further information from Russell Wallman at QC Appointments Secretariat 020 7831 0020.
2. Helen Pitcher (Chairman), Sir Alistair Graham, Linda Lee, Sir Alex Allan, Martin Mann QC and Quinton Quayle will continue to be members of the Selection Panel during the 2014-15 competition. Sir Maurice Kay replaces Sir Anthony May as the judicial member of the Panel and a new solicitor member, a new barrister member, and a new lay member will be announced shortly.
3. The document setting out the principles and mechanics of the process was agreed in 2004 and modified in 2006 by the Bar Council, Law Society and the (then) Department for Constitutional Affairs. A copy of this and other information is available on the QCA website at www.qcapplications.org.uk
4. The scheme is entirely self-financing. To cover the costs of the process applicants have to pay an application fee of £1,800 (+ VAT). There will be a further appointment fee of £3,000 (+ VAT) paid by successful applicants.