Tailoring the silks list

Your criticisms of this year's silks list (Leader, 1 April), with only five women and only one new silk from an ethnic minority background, are entirely valid. But just as worrying is the serious under-representation in the list of those who practise from provincial chambers.

The most recent Bar Council figures show that a third of all barristers in private practice operate from the provinces (3,052 out of 8,935). Your analysis of the list shows only 13 out of 68 with provincial addresses.

These figures bear out your conclusion that "the whole system calls for a complete rethink". The Bar Council report (the Kalisher Report) on the topic in 1994 did not begin to grapple with the really serious issues of patronage and secrecy which still disfigure the system. Perhaps a new government and a new Lord Chancellor will!

Martin Bowley QC

36 Bedford Row Chambers