2015-16 Competition Announcement

PRESS RELEASE (for immediate release)

The appointments of 107 new Queen’s Counsel (also known as silk) are announced today. These appointments are made by Her Majesty The Queen on the advice of the Lord Chancellor, Michael Gove MP, following consideration by the independent Queen’s Counsel Selection Panel.

Helen Pitcher, Chairman of the Selection Panel, said today:
’I am delighted at the announcement of the new silks. I congratulate each one of them. The selection process is a rigorous and demanding one. We collect confidential assessments from judges, fellow advocates and professional clients, who give freely of their time to provide evidence about an applicant’s demonstration of the competencies. Those applicants who are not filtered out following consideration of the assessments are then interviewed by
two members of the Panel, following which the whole Panel discuss all the evidence on each interviewed applicant.
We remain concerned that the number of female applicants remains stubbornly low, but I am pleased that of those women who did apply, 52% were successful. While I was pleased to note a rise in BAME applicants to 14% of applications it is disappointing that the success rate for BAME applicants was lower than that for applicants as a whole.

Each year, the Panel has the difficult task of identifying the truly excellent advocates. I am confident that those appointed today truly deserve to be Queen’s Counsel. “ A full report on the 2015-16 competition, with statistical information relating to successful and unsuccessful applicants will be published on the QC Appointments website.
A list of the new silks is attached. Among the 107 appointments are:

• 25 women applicants of the 48 who applied. Last year, 25 out of 43 female applicants were successful;
• Nine applicants who declared an ethnic origin other than white of the 32 who applied. Last year 10 such applicants out of 24 were appointed;
• Nine applicants aged over 50 were appointed, the same as last year. The youngest successful applicant is 34 years old and the oldest is 57;
• Three solicitor advocates of the nine who applied. In 2014-15 five solicitor advocates were appointed; and
• One of the four applicants who declared a disability. In 2014-15 three applicants who declared

Notes for Editors
1. Queen’s Counsel are appointed by The Queen, on the advice of the Lord Chancellor. 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 for the 2015-16 competition were:
Helen Pitcher OBE (Chairman)
Sir Alex Allan
Sir Alistair Graham
Sir Maurice Kay
Tony King
Linda Lee
Martin Mann QC
Quinton Quayle
Shaun Smith QC
Ranjit Sondhi CBE
The Selection Panel is supported by its own Secretariat.

3. The QC appointment 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 then Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State (Lord Falconer) in November 2004. Applications were first invited in 2005 and the first round of appointments under the new arrangements was announced in 2006. Refinements to the scheme, building on experience of the first year, were agreed in 2006. 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 for the 2015-16 competition closed on 2 April 2015 and the Selection Panel submitted recommendations to the Lord Chancellor on 19 November 2015. Each applicant has been considered against five competencies:
• Understanding and using the law
• Written and oral advocacy
• Working with others
• Diversity
• Integrity
5. 171 of the 237 applicants were interviewed by the Selection Panel. All unsuccessful applicants receive written personal feedback on their application. The Panel expects to invite applications for the next round of appointments in February 2016.
6. 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 February 2016.
7. Copies of the Selection Panel’s report will be available on the QCA website from 11 January 2016. Further information can also be obtained from Russell Wallman, Chief Executive of QCA, on 0207 831 0020.