THE APPOINTMENT of Queen’s Counsel is being closely watched in England and Wales as the Bar Council and Law Society last week agreed to reform the process of selection with an independent panel.
Potential candidates will be required to provide references from members of the judiciary before whom they have appeared and from professionals and clients before being interviewed.
The Bar and the Law Society have agreed on the principles and mechanics of the new process. Now the profession awaits a number of remaining steps that are expected to give effect to the agreed process, set to begin in 2005.
Bar chairman Stephen Irwin QC said while the fundamental strengths of the QC system remain, they have been enhanced by the reformed process, which is aimed at identifying the best advocates, he said.
Courtenay Griffiths QC said the new process should increase the diversity of the profession: “The aspirations of black and minority ethnic barristers now stand to be fulfilled as they reach for the goal of silk. This bodes well for efforts to create a more representative profession and judiciary.
“In addition, we hope that the new system will also encourage more women applicants.”