Summary of Revised Process for QC Award for England and Wales
(approved by the Professions 23 November 2006)
This paper summarises the revised process for the selection and appointment of Queen’s Counsel in England and Wales. The scheme has been developed by the Bar Council and the Law Society, with support from the Department for Constitutional Affairs, and revised in the light of the experience of the 2005-06 competition.
The scheme is based upon a revised set of competencies, including by way of example behaviours required of leading advocates. Apart from regulatory checks described in Paragraph 3, evidence will only be gathered and assessed against the competences and only from those who have seen the applicant ‘in action’.
Combined with the revised competency framework, the revised process serves the public interest by offering a fair and transparent means of identifying excellence in advocacy in the higher courts.
- places the competencies required of an advocate at the heart of the scheme
- places selection in the hands of an independent selection panel
- includes appreciable “lay” (non-lawyer) membership and judicial membership on the selection panel.
- includes a modern “self assessment” in relation to the competencies and ensures that the “self assessment” is taken into account at the stage of decision
- contains no element of “automatic consultation” or “secret soundings”
- addresses the problem of “visibility” by focusing the selection of references towards only those who have personally seen the candidate
- takes references from judges, practitioners, and professional clients, clients or client proxies
- includes a face to face interview of the candidate, involving members of the Selection Panel
- provides for the publication of information about the broad fields of law in which the candidate has demonstrated excellence as an advocate at the time of appointment
- provides a mechanism for removal of the award for cause
- provides arrangements for feedback to unsuccessful candidates, and for a complaints procedure.
- is wholly self-financing
Bar Council of England and Wales
Law Society of England and Wales