find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
QC vs SC: Keep the status quo, argues Vic Bar

QC vs SC: Keep the status quo, argues Vic Bar

Simon Fieldhouse

There should be no substantive change to the current system permitting silks to choose between QC or SC in Victoria, a new report has concluded.

Former judge Murray Kellam released a report on the reintroduction of Queens Counsel in Victoria this week.

The report, commissioned by Attorney-General Martin Pakula, recommends that barristers appointed as SC continue to have the choice of seeking letters patent as QC.

Justice Kellam concludes that there are significant economic advantages inferred by the title QC, particularly in Asian markets, which are dominated by English QCs.

He said the public interest is best served by the current system and that changes would only introduce further confusion.

He also responded to concerns that QC is an “undesirable anachronism” that does not reflect a modern, pluralist society, and does not anticipate Australia becoming a republic in the future.

“The reality is […] that the designation of Queen’s Counsel has only a remote connection with Australia’s monarch, and that the community understands the title to be only a mark of legal excellence attributed to barristers of high-standing and ability,” he wrote.

Justice Kellam compared ‘QC’ to other historic designations used in common parlance, such as a ‘Rhodes Scholar’ – which invokes “the image of young Australians studying at Oxford University, not Cecil Rhodes and his activities in Southern Africa”.

He also noted that reverting to the system where only SC was used may reintroduce a briefing bias. Future women silks could lose out under this new system as they would not have access to the prestigious QC title.

"The Honourable Murray Kellam AO has conducted a comprehensive review and provided a detailed and balanced report,” said Victorian Bar president James Peters (pictured).

Mr Peters said that the case for choice was “compelling” and that the current system helps the Victoria bar export services and attract domestic and international work, including arbitration work, to Victoria.

“The national and international use of the title [QC] is a well-established, widely respected and recognised legal indicator of excellence,” he said.

More than 90 per cent of Victorian silks have chosen to use the title QC.

In Australia, only Victoria and Queensland still appoint QCs. The NSW Bar recently resolved to approach the Attorney-General to reinstate the appointment of QCs.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

QC vs SC: Keep the status quo, argues Vic Bar
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...