Announcement of 2009-10 Competition

EMBARGOED UNTIL: 12.01am Thursday 19th March 2009

The Selection Panel for appointing Queen’s Counsel has announced today that it is inviting applications from barristers and solicitors with Higher Courts advocacy rights for appointment as Queen’s Counsel from Thursday 19th March 2009.

From Thursday 19th March 2009, the application form and guidance for applicants will be available on the Selection Panel’s website . The deadline for receipt of applications is 5 pm on Thursday 23rd April 2009. On current expectations the outcome of the applications is likely to be announced in the early part of 2010.

The Selection Panel will be looking for applicants who demonstrate 5 competencies to a standard of excellence, on the same basis as in the 2008-09 competition. The competencies are:

A. Understanding and use of the law
B. Oral and written advocacy (including the preparation and court or resolution aspects of 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. Advocacy includes both written and oral advocacy. There is no minimum amount of in court or written advocacy required for an applicant to be successful, provided there is enough evidence for the Selection Panel to reach a
conclusion as to excellence.

To be appointed an applicant must demonstrate the competencies to a standard of excellence. Applicants are required to provide a summary description of their practice, 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 Selection Panel will consider the evidence from the summary description of practice, self assessment and assessments and decide on the strength of the available evidence which applicants justify an interview.

The Selection Panel has nine members with a substantial lay (i.e. non-lawyer) membership. It is also chaired by a non-lawyer. The Selection Panel is independent of  the legal professions and Government. Four new members of the Selection Panel are currently being recruited.

The Selection Panel’s recommendations will be passed to the Secretary of State for Justice and 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 David Watts, Head of QC Appointments Secretariat 020 7831 0020.
2. Sir Paul Kennedy, Professor Dame Joan Higgins DBE, Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, Jean Ritchie QC and Karamjit Singh CBE will continue to be members of the Selection Panel during the 2009-10 competition. The recruitment for four new members of the Selection Panel is expected to be completed 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
4. The scheme is entirely self-financing. To cover the costs of the process applicants have to pay an application fee of £2350 (+VAT). This fee is reduced from £2500 (+VAT) in the previous competition. There will be a further appointment fee of £3500 (+ VAT) paid by successful applicants only.