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TOP criminal advocate Anne Rafferty QC is understood to be in the running for the vice-chairmanship of the Bar.
She is among four QCs believed to be fighting for the nomination.
Rafferty, of 4 Brick Court, has been chair of the 2,000-member Criminal Bar Association since May and served on the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice in 1991-93.
Robert Owen QC, of 1 Crown Office Row, and Rodney Klevan QC, of Manchester set 18 St John Street, are certain to be nominated, say sources. Owen chairs the Bar's professional standards committee, the Common Law Bar Association, and the Bar's complaints working party.
Klevan, described by Derek Hatton as "the best barrister in the world", is outgoing leader of the northern circuit, following former Bar Council chair John Rowe QC.
Hilary Heilbron QC, of Brick Court Chambers, is making her second stab at the position since standing against this year's chair Peter Goldsmith QC in 1993. She is chair of the Bar's international practice committee and ex-head of the London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association. She jointly led the Heilbron/Hodge Bar and Law Society study of the civil justice system.
Names of all nominees will be made public this week.