NZ makes QC title redundant

The New Zealand government is set to abolish the title of Queen's Counsel (QC), and will instead honour top members of the legal community with the title of Special Counsel (SC) instead

The proposal, which was first floated in a discussion document in 2002, is inc-luded in the Law Practitioners and Conveyancers Bill, which is due to be passed in the next couple of months.

Currently, only sole practitioners in New Zealand can gain the title of QC, but the new legislation will allow lawyers within law firms to be honoured as well.

Newly-appointed SCs will continue to be appointed in the same way as QCs have been previously, while QCs can opt to retain their title.

The move is similar to one taken in Australia, although a change in the appointment process there means the title no longer has the endorsement of the Australian government.

Allens Arthur Robinson partner David Martino, who recently joined the firm from the Australian bar, said: “There is, I think, regret in the legal community in West Australia that the endorsement no longer comes from both the judiciary and government, but an acknowledgement that the change in title is appropriate, given the Queen's remoteness from the provision of legal services in Western Australia.”