QC appointments slip to all time low with 84 made up

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Readers' comments (14)

  • 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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