98 New Queen’s Counsel Appointed

The second round of appointments as Queen’s Counsel was announced today. These appointments are made under the successful and transparent arrangements by which an independent Selection Panel recommends who should receive this highly sought-after award. All those appointed have demonstrated excellence in advocacy in
the higher courts.

Sir Duncan Nichol, Chairman of the QC Selection Panel said today:

Queen’s Counsel have always been highly regarded for their forensic and advocacy skills. These appointments maintain the high standards expected of a Silk. All our decisions have been based solely on the evidence before the Selection Panel. Each applicant was considered on his or her own merits, regardless of their field of practice or professional background. There were no quotas, nor did we give special treatment to particular groups of applicants. The list is composed in this way because that is where the evidence led us.

I should like to congratulate the new QCs. I also have an important message for those applicants who were not successful on this occasion.

The QC award is for excellence in advocacy in the higher courts. The Selection Panel is not carrying out an appraisal of an applicant’s practice or personal standing, but making a decision based upon the evidence provided in the
application form, references and (if called) interview, and then considering that evidence against the competency framework. The standard for appointment is very high. If you have not been appointed that
does not mean that you are not a valued and perfectly competent advocate.

He added 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 Selection Panel would also like to express its warm appreciation of the contribution at the 2000 people who provided a reference on one or more applicants, and without whom the process could not have worked effectively.

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Rt Hon. Jack Straw MP, announced today (under embargo) the names of 98 Queen’s Counsel from 333 applicants.

This compares with 175 appointments from 443 applications in 2006. Prior to this no QC appointments had been made in the three years from 2003. The 98 (29% of all applicants) appointed this year include:

• 20 (39%) of the 51 women applicants. (Previous high was 33 appointments
(49%) in 2006).
• 4 (18% of 22 applicants) declared an ethnic origin other than white. (Previous
high was 7 appointments in 2002 (36.8%), 2003 (30.4%) and 10 (42%) of 24
applicants in 2006.)
• 1 of 6 solicitor advocates who applied (17%) was successful. (Previous high
was 2 appointments in 1997 (33%) and 2002 (25%). In 2006 4 appointments
were made (33%) from 12 applicants.)
• 3 appointments were made from the 5 applicants who declared a disability.
This compares with 1 appointment from 5 applicants in 2006 (20%)
• 8 appointments were made from applicants aged 55 or over at the date of
closure for submission of applications.

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:
Sir Duncan Nichol CBE (Chairman)
Roy Amlot QC
Baroness Butler-Sloss GBE
Ruth Evans
Professor Joan Higgins
Lucy Scott-Moncrieff
Jean Ritchie QC
Karamjit Singh CBE
Christopher Woolley.
The Panel is supported by its own Secretariat.

3. The new 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. 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 January 29th 2007 and the Selection Panel delivered its recommendations to the Secretary of State for Justice on 26 October 2007. Each applicant has been considered against five competencies:
• Understanding and using the law
• Oral and written advocacy
• Working with others
• Diversity
• Integrity

259 of the 333 applicants were interviewed by the Selection Panel. All unsuccessful applicants are receiving personal and general feedback on their applications.

5. The new Queen’s Counsel announced today will formally become Silks at the ceremony on Friday 28 March.

6. Copies of the Selection Panel’s report are also available on the QCA website.

Further information can be obtained from David Watts, Head of QC Appointments
Secretariat 0207 831 0020.