QC appointments slip to all time low with 84 made up

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  • What's this about a "quota" under the old system? There never was a quota.

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  • The Silk appointments system is no longer a good determinant of ability. The system has been "cracked" by consultants who tell candidates what to put on their forms; they then pretty much guarantee success. If the QCA are to retain any credibility then they must introduce an examination filter; as is now universally used for appointments to Recorder and Deputy District Judge. In terms of numbers, it is telling that the Hong Kong Bar which is about 15% of the size of the English Bar, only recruits 3 Silks each year. If QC is to remain a badge of excellence urgent reform is needed.

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  • @Anonymous | 27-Feb-2013 10:40 am - I think you are mistaken. The HK bar is notoriously protectionist. Also, anyone with half an ounce of knowledge of the Bar here will look down the list and spot any number of extremely talented practitioners. And as someone who knows a number of applicant who have used consultants to assist with applications, I can assure you that they are no guarantee of success!

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  • Sa’ad Hossain - top quality and a really nice bloke. Well deserved.

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  • With the exception of a maybe one handful, a mediocre/solid bunch at best elevated this year. It never ceases to amaze me that top flight senior juniors, who have effectively had a "Silks" practice for years, and are undoubted leaders in their fields, get turned over year on year.

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  • City Lawyer, this isn't a "mediocre" list (and I am not on it, btw).

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  • Who will be looking to move chambers?

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  • City Lawyer at 1.46pm is hilarious. He is obviously a failed Senior Junior in disguise. How long have you been in the Seven Stars this afternoon ? ;-)

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  • City lawyer, get back in your box. There are many stellar barristers on here. Richly deserved recognition and status for their skills at the bar.

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  • In response to Radar, at 5.07, I am a Senior Associate Insurance litigator, at a top 20 firm, not a Barrister!?

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  • Has the number of QCs struck off risen?
    Didn't a QC get jailed this week?

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  • I have been a failed applicant; and I think the system works. The form is long. The referencing is extensive and the evidence-based nature of it gives at least some objectivity. Of course all lists, pre-QCA and now, provide surprising inclusions and exclusions. I know some good colleagues who didn't get it this year and one or two marginal who did. I recognise in my field a number who have applied before and not succeeded, but have now. That must be a good thing.
    A problem remains the use of two years evidence. There is not a wider trawl of references independent of the Applicant. The days of the Circuit Leaders and Senior Judges being contacted have gone but they might have stopped, for example, those known to be misogynistic or close to the the sail getting it by packing their form full of friends on the bench, or friendly instructing solicitors after a night in the Garrick. Further, it might be worth keeping the forms from failure for assessment for the next try by the applicant. An applicant might be a brilliant written advocate on one form but be light on inter-personal skills and the next time fail on the former and succeed on the latter.

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  • First off, I should state that I am a barrister and one of the 'consultants' referred to above. Although, not a regular contributor, I feel compelled to respond to certain comments made. A competency-based system for selection and assessment may be challenging, particularly for those who have not undergone a competitive recruitment process for some time; QC applicants who have had previous experience of 'competencies' are at a distinct advantage over those who have not. Further, certain barristers are adept in promoting themselves and their practices, whilst others are less openly expressive of their success. This particular characteristic tends to be personality driven, and is not an appropriate criterion for appointment. Rather than detracting from the fairness of the QC Appointments process, professional coaching assistance tends to provide a more even playing field, allowing applicants to present to best effect their skills and successes as an advocate. Those skills and successes are in no way fictitious, but an honest account of an applicant's legal experience and ability. Personally, I do not draft applications for candidates, but advise them on content, style and editing; the work is their own. Part of my role, as a consultant for the competition, is to advise potential candidates on whether or not they are ready to apply for Silk. To date, I have not had that advice challenged. This offering discourages candidates with insufficient experience from applying, saving them a great deal of time and effort, and affording them a rare opportunity to reflect on the direction of their career path. Frequently, I coach barristers in obtaining new skills and experience, so they might be better prepared for future competitions. Not only does this bolster their potential candidature for Silk, but also produces more broadly experienced and skilful senior juniors, who contribute to the high reputation of the Bar. As for the quality of those who are ultimately appointed, as noted by other contributors, the lists largely speak of practitioners who are already highly regarded by their peers, and who are considered to be amongst the very best of advocates.

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  • I'm fed up of being overlooked.

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