Queen’s counsel title to be awarded to non-advocates?

The title of ‘Queen’s Counsel’ should be available to all lawyers and not just advocates, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) has said.

The professional association, which represents over 20,000 members including 7,500 fully qualified chartered legal executives, as well as paralegals and other legal professionals, said the title should indicate excellence and expertise for the whole legal profession.

In addition, CILEx believe that this would widen the selection pool and create a more diverse crop of candidates able to take silk.

Diversity data from the Bar Council show there were 1,397 self-employed silks in 2010 of which 1,245 were male and 152 were female. Of the total number of QCs recorded at the time, 68 were from black or minority ethnic backgrounds (BME), while 1,273 were white. No data was recorded for 56 QCs.

CILEx’s recommendations were made in a response to the consultation on the eligibility for appointment as Queen’s Counsel (QC).

CILEx’s response said: ‘There is still too much emphasis on advocacy. In some areas of law advocacy is rare. It is the capacity to be an excellent lawyer and not only a good advocate that is essential for the role.’

CILEx chief executive Mandie Lavin remarked: ‘QCs are amongst the highest profile figures of the legal profession, though they are not always reflective of our diversity and make-up. Broadening the pool of candidates, whilst continuing to appoint on merit, will give the QC title greater validity and respect.’


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