The Law Society has moved into direct confrontation with the Bar Council over the fundamental political issue of government-appointed QCs
In a response to the consultation paper 'In the Public Interest', published in March by the Lord Chancellor's Department , the Law Society slams the present QC system as "potentially discriminatory and anticompetitive".
The society is calling on the Government to scrap the current system, in which QCs are appointed directly by the Lord Chancellor, while last week a Bar Council working party, headed by former Appeal Court judge Sir Iain Glidewell, published a report in favour of preserving the system.
In its written response to the paper, the Law Society said: "If the designation is to be preserved we feel that, at least, it should not be administered by government. It is inappropriate that a profession which at times needs to challenge the government on behalf of its clients should then have to look to government for preferment that confers a market advantage."
The Law Society states that it would be happy to replace the QC system altogether. It proposes a different specialised accreditation scheme, in which solicitors and barristers could be designated as higher advocates after meeting objective criteria of work experience and knowledge.