88 QC’s Appointed in 2011-12 Competition


88 new appointments as Queen’s Counsel (also known as Silk) were announced today. These appointments are made following consideration by the independent Selection Panel, which recommends who should receive this coveted and prestigious award, under arrangements introduced in 2005. 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 am very pleased at the announcement of the 88 new Silks and I send each one of them my warmest congratulations. The quality of applicants was again extremely high. Each year the Panel has the difficult task of identifying excellent advocates on the evidence. We take
our responsibilities very seriously. Each applicant is discussed by the full Panel and all applications receive the closest consideration and scrutiny. All the Panel’s decisions have been based on the evidence provided by the applicants themselves or by their assessors. The Selection Panel is extremely grateful to all the assessors who provided us with information about each applicant’s demonstration of the competencies. The success of the QC Selection scheme depends heavily on the support and commitment of the judiciary, the legal profession and others in providing high quality assessments.

Among the new appointments this year the Panel has noted that female applicants have again been proportionately mor the success rate (41%) was almost identical to the success rate for other applicants. The youngest successful applicant on this occasion is 37 years old and the oldest 62, by coincidence the same as last year.

This year one employed advocate has been appointed (out of 3 applicants). Since 2008 solicitor advocates have been appointed. However, this year there were only 2 applications from solicitor advocates, neither of whom was successful. The Panel is concerned that there appears to be considerable hesitancy on the part of solicitor advocates to apply for Silk, even where they may be well qualified to do so.

The applicants who were unsuccessful will naturally be disappointed. But the standard for appointment is extremely high and requires excellence across all the competencies. If an advocate has not been successful on this occasion that does not mean that he or she is not a highly valued and effective practitioner.

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. Kenneth Clarke QC MP, announced today (under embargo) the names of 88 Queen’s Counsel from 214 applicants. The 88 (41% of all applicants) appointed this year included:
• 23 women applicants (58% of the 40 who applied). In the competition in 2010-11, 27 women (66% of the 41 who applied) were appointed,
• 6 applicants who declared an ethnic origin other than white (40% of the 15 who applied – 3 % of all applicants) were appointed, a lower proportion than in 2010- 11 when 12 applicants (60%) were appointed,
• 4 applicants (of 7) who declared a disability were appointed. In the competition in 2010-11, 5 applicants declared a disability and 2 appointed,
• 3 applicants aged over 50 at the time of their application were appointed (8% of this age group), compared with 13 successful applicants (27% of that age group) appointed last year.
• 2 applications were received from solicitor advocates, neither of whom were appointed, compared with one appointed of the 2 who applied in 2010-11.
• I employed advocate (of 3 applicants) was appointed. In 2010-11, 2 applications from employed advocates were received and 1 was appointed.

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 for the 2011-12 competition were:
Professor Dame Joan Higgins DBE (Chair)
Sir Colin Budd KCMG
Lord (Alex) Carlile of Berriew QC
Sir Alistair Graham
Felicity Huston
Sir David Keene
Linda Lee
Helen Pitcher
Jean Ritchie QC
Razi Shah
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. Applications were first invited in 2005 and the first round of appointments under the new arrangements was announced in 2006. Refinements to the scheme were 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 20th April 2011 and the Selection Panel delivered recommendations to the Lord Chancellor on 15th December 2011. Each applicant has been considered against five competencies:
• Understanding and using the law
• Oral and written advocacy
• Working with others
• Diversity
• Integrity
5. 147 of the 214 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 2012.
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 30 March 2012.
7. Copies of the Selection Panel’s report will be available on the QCA website from 29 February. Further information can also be obtained from David Watts, Head of QC Appointments Secretariat on 0207 831 0020.