Battle for silk appointments gets underway

Would-be QCs have just one month from today (12 December) to submit applications as the 2007 silk appointments round gets underway.

Applicants for the new round of appointments face a similar procedure to those who applied in 2005-06 for the first round of the revamped QC process, although the competency framework has been simplified.

The cost of applying has risen 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 to £2,250 plus VAT in 2006.

Potential QCs have until 15 January to send in their completed applications which must consider five key competencies – understanding and using the law, oral and written advocacy, working with others, diversity, and integrity.

The number of references required has been reduced from last year, to a total of nine – four from judges or arbitrators, three from practitioners and two from clients.

The applicants will face a selection panel which is broadly the same as last year, chaired by Sir Duncan Nichol. The only change is the replacement of Radcliffe Chambers’ Sonia Proudman QC with Hailsham Chambers’ Jean Ritchie QC.

Last year’s QC competition garnered 443 applications, with 171 barristers and four solicitor-advocates being appointed silk.

The panel hopes to be able to announce the results of the 2007 competition by the end of next year.