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The deadline for QC applications passed last Monday (29 January) and the QC appointments committee has kicked off the next stage of the selection process.
The committee will now launch professional conduct checks and seek references for all applicants from judges and arbitrators.
The deadline for submissions was put back by a fortnight after specialist bar associations complained that the 122-page form would have to be filled out over Christmas, as first revealed on www. thelawyer.com (30 January).
The return of QC appointments last year caused much consternation around the Inns and this year looks like being no exception.
Many at the junior bar have been left disgruntled by the cost of applying rising substantially, from £1,800 plus VAT last year to £2,500 plus VAT this year. Successful applicants in 2007 will have to pay a further £3,000 plus VAT, compared with £2,250 plus VAT in 2006.
Last year there had been an initial filter system whereby the applications alone were taken into consideration before conduct checks. However, this has been dropped as the number of applicants is expected to be lower than in 2006, which was the first round of silk appointments since 2003.
The QC appointments committee declined to comment.