Silk round 2014: 100 promoted to QC but female representation stalls at 18 per cent

A downward trend in the number of new Queens’ Counsel has been reversed, with 100 silks appointed in this year’s round – the largest number for three years.

In total, 95 barristers and five solicitor-advocates were named yesterday as QCs, up from 83 barristers and one solicitor last year (27 February 2013).

The successful applicants included Allen & Overy Hong Kong-based arbitration partner Matthew Gearing, Berwin Leighton Paisner global arbitration head Nic Fletcher, Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) global arbitration head Paula Hodges and partner Matthew Weiniger, and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer London arbitration head Constantine Partasides. Partasides announced this week he is leaving the firm to set up an arbitration boutique (17 February 2014).

8 New Square IP barrister Charlotte May, who was named in The Lawyer’s Hot 100 2014, was also appointed (13 January 2014).

Criminal set 6 KBW College Hill picked up the largest number of new silks, with Tony Badenoch, Jonathan Hall, Duncan Penny and Sarah Whitehouse all appointed silk.

Several sets are gaining three QCs, including 36 Bedford Row, Blackstone Chambers, Doughty Street Chambers, Furnival Chambers and Quadrant Chambers.

In total, 225 barristers and solicitor-advocates applied for silk this year, meaning the success rate was 44 per cent – just down on 46 per cent last year, when 183 people applied.

The number of women appointed rose from 14 last year to 18 this year, out of 42 applicants, making the success rate among women 43 per cent. The proportion of new silks who are female rose from 17 per cent last year. However the success rate for women is the lowest since 2008, when 39 per cent of female applicants were made QCs.

There was a significant rise in the number of successful ethnic minority applicants, from just three last year to 13 this year. The success rate among ethnic minorities was 41 per cent. Among applicants declaring a disability there was also a big pick-up, with five new silks having said they had a disability – compared to none last year.

The solicitors were the most successful group of applicants. Only seven solicitor-advocates put their name forwards this year, and five were successful.

The youngest new silk is 36 and the oldest 68. Pump Court Tax Chambers’ Roger Thomas has been called to the bar the longest, having been practising since 1979, while 8 New Square’s Andrew Lykiardopoulos was called just 10 years ago.

The majority of the new QCs are civil practitioners, with 63 saying they practise civil law. A further six have a mixed civil and criminal practice, and 26 purely criminal practices. Just five are family barristers.

How this year’s application numbers compare with previous years’
Year Number of applicants Number of successful applicants
2013/14 225 100
2012/13 183 84
2011/12 214 88
2010/11 251 120
2009/10 275 129
2008/09 247 104
2007/08 333 98
2006/07 443 175
The new silks in full
Name Field of practice Chambers/firm/other Year of call
James Aldridge Civil Maitland 1994
Stuart Alford Criminal SFO 1992
Darryl Allen Civil Byrom Street  1995
David Allison Civil South Square 1998
Rachel Ansell Civil 4 Pump Court 1995
Alexander Antelme Civil Crown Office 1993
Dean Armstrong Criminal 2 Bedford Row 1985
Kelyn Bacon Civil Brick Court 1998
Tony Badenoch Criminal 6 KBW College Hill 1996
Charles Barr Civil Temple Garden 1993
Guy Blackwood Civil Quadrant 1997
Charles Bourne Civil 11KBW 1991
Mark Bryant-Heron Civil & Criminal 9-12 Bell Yard 1986
John Butterfield Criminal No 5 Chambers 1995
Oliver Campbell Civil & Criminal Henderson 1992
Graham Chapman Civil 4 New Square 1998
Charles Ciumei Civil Essex Court 1991
Andrew Clutterbuck Civil 4 Stone Buildings 1992
Christopher Coltart Criminal 2 Hare Court 1998
John Cooper Criminal Crown Office 1985
Michael Davey Civil Quadrant 1990
John de Bono Civil Serjeant’s Inn Chambers 1995
Rodney Dixon Civil & Criminal Temple Garden 2000
Michael Duggan Civil Littleton 1984
Sarah Elliott Criminal Doughty Street 1996
Jonathan Evans Civil Wilberforce 1994
Michael Evans Criminal 1 High Pavement 1988
Michael Fealy Civil One Essex Court 1997
Mark Fenhalls Criminal 23 Essex Street 1992
Nic Fletcher Civil Berwin Leighton Paisner NA
David Forsdick Civil Landmark 1993
Orlando Fraser Civil 4 Stone Buildings 1994
Jason Galbraith-Marten Civil Cloisters 1991
Kate Gallafent Civil Blackstone 1997
Matthew Gearing Civil Allen & Overy NA
Felicity Gerry Criminal 36 Bedford Row 1994
Catherine Gibaud Civil 3VB 1996
Patrick Goodall Civil Fountain Court 1998
Nicholas Goodwin Family Harcourt 1995
Russell Gumpert Criminal CPS 1987
Charles Hale Family 4 Paper Buildings 1992
Jonathan Hall Civil 6 KBW College Hill 1994
Matthew Hardwick Civil 3VB 1994
Annette Henry Criminal Furnival 1984
Richard Hitchcock Civil Outer Temple 1989
Paula Hodges Civil Herbert Smith Freehills NA
Jonathan Hough Civil 4 New Square 1997
James Howells Civil Atkin 1995
Abdul Iqbal Criminal No 6 Park Square 1994
Wayne Jordash Criminal Doughty Street 1995
Robert Jory Civil Enterprise 1992
Nigel Lawrence Civil & Criminal 7 Harrington Street 1988
Jacob Levy Civil 9 Gough Square 1986
David Lewis Civil 20 Essex Street 1999
Nicholas Lobbenberg Criminal 4 Breams Buildings 1987
Adrienne Lucking Criminal 36 Bedford Row 1989
Andrew Lykiardopoulos Civil 8 New Square 2004
Kate Markus Civil Doughty Street 1981
Charlotte May Civil 8 New Square 1995
Elizabeth McGrath Family St Phillips 1987
Andrew Miller Civil 2 Temple Gardens 1989
Thomas Mitcheson Civil 3 New Square 1996
Fenner Moeran Civil 3 Stone Buildings 1996
Justin Mort Civil Keating 1994
Jane Mulcahy Civil Blackstone 1995
Benjamin Myers Criminal Exchange 1994
Sean O’Sullivan Civil 4 Pump Court 1997
Pavlos Panayi Criminal Carmelite 1995
Constantine Partasides Civil Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer NA
Sandip Patel Criminal Furnival 1991
Duncan Penny Criminal 6 KBW College Hill 1992
James Pereira Civil Francis Taylor Building 1996
Jason Pitter Criminal New Park Court 1994
Ben Quiney Civil Crown Office 1998
Rupert Reed Civil Wilberforce 1996
Thomas Roe Civil & Criminal 3 Hare Court 1995
Ian Rogers Civil Monckton 1995
John Russell Civil Quadrant 1993
Saira Sheikh Civil Francis Taylor Building 2000
Hugh Sims Civil Guildhall 1999
Kathryn Skellorn Family St John’s 1993
Tom Smith Civil South Square 1999
Tyrone Smith Criminal 25 Bedford Row 1994
David Southern Civil Temple Tax 1982
Karen Steyn Civil 11KBW 1995
Benjamin Strong Civil One Essex Court 2001
Mark Summers Criminal Matrix 1996
Reuben Taylor Civil Landmark 1990
Christopher Tehrani Criminal New Park Court 1990
Leslie Thomas Civil Garden Court 1988
Roger Thomas Civil Pump Court Tax 1979
Andrew Thompson Civil Erskine 1991
Adam Tolley Civil Fountain Court 1994
William Tyler Family 36 Bedford Row 1996
Stephen Vullo Civil & Criminal 2 Bedford Row 1996
Matthew Weiniger Civil Herbert Smith Freehills NA
Tom Weisselberg Civil Blackstone 1995
Sarah Whitehouse Criminal 6 KBW College Hill 1993
Lisa Wilding Criminal Furnival 1993
Marc Willers Civil Garden Court 1987

The selection process:

Applicants are considered against five competencies:

  • Understanding and using the law
  • Written and oral advocacy
  • Working with others
  • Diversity
  • Integrity

The selection panel consists of:

  • Helen Pitcher (chairman)
  • Sir Alex Allan
  • Sir Colin Budd
  • Sir Alistair Graham
  • Linda Lee
  • Martin Mann QC
  • Sir Anthony May
  • Frances Oldham QC
  • Quinton Quayle
  • Razi Shah

162 of the 225 applicants were interviewed by the panel

The new QCs will be formally appointed at a ceremony on 14 April 2014