The award of Queen’s Counsel is for excellence in advocacy in the higher courts. It is made to advocates who have rights of audience in the higher courts of England and Wales and have demonstrated the competencies in the Competency Framework to a standard of excellence.
We aim to run the 2020 QC Competition in as normal a way as present circumstances permit. We are hopeful that that will be possible as most of the Selection Panel’s processes are carried out online.
Assessment collection is carried out online, as is the grading of applications by Selection Panel members. Accordingly, so long as the Selection Panel is able to meet in September, and to interview applicants in September and October, we expect it to be possible for the Selection Panel to complete its work on time.
However, if it is not possible for those activities to be carried out in September and October it is very likely that the announcement of the outcome of the 2020 competition will be delayed.
We do not at present intend to extend the deadline for the submission of applications. However, any prospective applicant who has a particular problem as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic should contact the office by emailing the Chief Executive at Russell.Wallman@qcappointments.org . We expect to be able to allow a short period of grace for applicants who are affected in that way.
The QCA Directors have also decided to extend the concessionary fee arrangements, under which those with earnings of less than £60,000 are entitled to pay half the usual fees. The scheme will now apply to those who have low earnings in 2020, not just to those with low earnings in 2019. Applicants who expect that to apply to them should simply pay the application fee at the concessionary rate. Once applications for the competition have closed, the QCA secretariat will contact all those who have paid the concessionary fee to establish whether they have done so on the basis of their 2019 earnings or on the basis of their anticipated 2020 earnings.
The QCA secretariat will write again to those applicants at the end of the competition to check whether their earnings were in fact below £60,000, or whether they now need to pay the balance of the fee.
Prospective applicants are welcome to email the Chief Executive at the address above if they have any questions arising from this. It is also possible to telephone, although the office is not always staffed at present.
We will keep these arrangements continuously under review, and we will update this website if there should be any changes.
THE 2020 COMPETITION.
The 2020 competition opened on Tuesday 18 February 2020 and will close at 5pm Wednesday 1 April 2020.
Applicants will be informed in early September whether or not they are to be invited for interview. Interviews will take place from mid-September to mid-October. The Selection Panel’s recommendations will be passed to the Lord Chancellor in late October. It is hoped that the appointments arising from this competition will be announced before Christmas 2020.
Applications are welcome from all suitably qualified advocates – including solicitors and employed advocates, as well as barristers in independent practice. Applications are also particularly welcomed from women, members of ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and other groups that are currently under-represented. You can download all forms required to become a member of the Queen’s Counsel by clicking here.