Butler-Sloss handed QC panel caretaker role

Ex-Family Division president Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss has been appointed interim chair of the Queen’s Counsel selection panel ­following the resignation of Sir Duncan Nichol.

In a joint statement the Bar Council and the Law Society said they had opted to draft in Butler-Sloss to minimise the impact on the current silk round – despite the fact that the role should be filled by a non-lawyer.

“Although the panel chair should normally be a lay member, it is more important to avoid disruption to the current competition and the potential delay of recruiting a new lay chairman,” the statement said.

One ;senior ;junior ­barrister said Butler-Sloss chairing the panel was good news, despite concerns it could signal a move back to secret soundings. He said: “Under her temporary stewardship there’s no prospect of a return to the bad old ways of silk selection.”

Nichol stood down from the QC panel to take up the post of Court Service Board chair.