How many referees does it take to make a QC?

Following a period of deafening silence from the QC appointments secretariat in order for the new silks system to be tweaked somewhat, the 2007 competition has been at long last unleashed (see story).

Barristers and solicitor-advocates now have just one month to fill in a whopping 118-page application form. And that’s the streamlined version.

The panel wants nine referees from each candidate – have you ever been for a job that’s asked for nine referees? But that’s not all.

Wannabe QCs have to provide 12 judicial referees, six practitioner referees and six client referees. From this 24, the nine will be drawn. No wonder clerks are tearing their hair out.

And potential QCs still have to evaluate themselves on five competencies, including the fuzzy area of diversity.

So it looks like a busy Christmas ahead for practitioners prepared to shell out nearly £3,000 to apply for silk (plus another £3,500 if successful).

Barristers and clerks moaned endlessly about the process last time round. They’ll be equally critical this year. Strangely, though, there was little complaint from the new QCs as they rode their limos up to Westminster Hall in October.