In stark contrast with the recent decline in the number of Queen’s Counsel (QC) appointments, the latest round announced today (19 February) has seen 100 barristers awarded the elite advocacy kitemark, up by 19% on last year’s all-time-low figure of just 84.
The number of applicants rose this year to 225, in what may be interpreted as the latest litmus test of confidence in the wider economy, after queries were raised from within the profession over whether previous drops were a reflection of not just the circa £2,000 cost of applying to become a QC, but also fears that the associated higher rates would not be supported by cash-strapped clients.
2012 saw 88 awards of silk from a possible 214 applicants, although any post-recession argument is dented by the record numbers appointed in 2011, when 251 senior barristers applied and 120 applicants were awarded silk.
Notable appointments include Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s international arbitration head in London, Constantine Partasides, who is leaving the firm to set up an arbitration boutique alongside Paris-based disputes partner Georgios Petrochilos and former co-arbitration chair Jan Paulsson.
Herbert Smith Freehill’s head of global arbitration Paula Hodges also takes silk, alongside international arbitration partner Matthew Weiniger. They join BLP’s international arbitration head Nicholas Fletcher and Allen & Overy’s Hong Kong-based arbitration partner Matthew Gearing.
Among the barristers appointed, 8 New Square IP barrister Charlotte May also joined the group and criminal set 6 KBW College Hill saw four take silk as Tony Badenoch, Jonathan Hall, Duncan Penny and Sarah Whitehouse were all appointed.
Aside from this year’s good news on numbers, the overriding message from the 14-strong independent QC selection panel today is diversity, with 18 women appointed out of the 42 who applied, an improvement on 14 appointments made last year.
Of the applicants who declared their ethnic origin other than white, 13 have been successful, while 11 applicants aged over 50 were selected of the 43 who applied, compared with five over-50s last year.
Five of the eight applicants who declared disability took silk this year, in contrast with none last year.
A further statistical breakdown shows that the youngest successful applicant this year was 37, and the oldest 68.
Five solicitor advocates were selected of the seven who applied, up on just one last year, while two of the six employed advocate applicants were appointed, compared with none in 2012/13.
Helen Pitcher, chair of the selection panel, said: ‘The selection process is a rigorous and demanding one. We collect confidential assessments from judges, fellow advocates and professional clients, who give freely of their time to provide vital evidence about an applicant’s demonstration of the competencies.
‘Each year, the panel has the difficult task of identifying the truly excellent advocated. I am confident that those appointed today truly deserve to be Queen’s Counsel.’
The QC appointment scheme was developed in 2004 by the Bar Council and the Law Society, with the support of the (then) Department for Constitutional Affairs.
Applications were first invited in 2005 and in 2006 the process, which is funded entirely through applicants fees, was amended so that all applicants are judged against the same five competencies: understanding and using the law; written and oral advocacy; working with others; diversity; and integrity.
Since 2006 just 17 solicitors have been named as QCs in the annual appointments rounds, having first joined the ranks in 1997 with Lord Collins, then partner at legacy Herbert Smith, and Arthur Marriott QC, who was a partner at legacy Wilmer Cutler & Pickering, appointed.
Last year, just one solicitor advocate made the grade as Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom global co-head of international litigation and arbitration Karyl Nairn took silk. Nairn was a key figure in the defence of Roman Abramovich when he was sued by rival oligarch Boris Berezovsky.
Other high-profile solicitor advocates to take silk include former legal director at Royal Dutch Shell, Peter Rees, who in January announced his attention to step down after three years at the FTSE 100 company.
This year’s 100 silks will formally adopt that title when they make their declaration before the Lord Chancellor at a ceremony on 14 April.
The panel expects to invite applications for the next round of appointments in March.
Full list of new Queen’s Counsel:
James Hugh Aldridge – Civil
Stuart Alford – Criminal
Darryl John Allen – Civil
David William Allison – Civil
Rachel Louise Ansell – Civil
Alexander John Antelme – Civil
Dean Paul Armstrong – Criminal
Kelyn Meher Bacon – Civil
Tony David Badenoch – Criminal
Charles David Barr – Civil
Andrew Guy Blackwood – Civil
Charles Gregory Bourne – Civil
Mark Nicholas Bryant-Heron – Civil & Criminal
John Arthur Butterfield – Criminal
Oliver Edward Wilhelm Campbell – Civil & Criminal
Graham Andrew Chapman – Civil
Charles Ciumei – Civil
Andrew Maurice Gray Clutterbuck – Civil
Christopher McCallum Coltart – Criminal
John Michael Cooper – Criminal
Michael Philip Davey – Civil
John Hugh de Bono – Civil
Rodney Thomas Dixon – Civil & Criminal
Michael Duggan – Civil
Sarah Julia Elliott – Criminal
Jonathan Edward Evans – Civil
Michael Ritho Evans – Criminal
Michael Fealy – Civil
Mark Roydon Allen Fenhalls – Criminal
Nicholas Hugo Martin Fletcher – Civil*
David John Forsdick – Civil
Orlando Gregory Fraser – Civil
Jason Nicholas Galbraith-Marten – Civil
Kate Selina Gallafent – Civil
Matthew Peter Gearing – Civil*
Felicity Ruth Gerry – Criminal
Catherine Alison Gibaud – Civil
Patrick John Goodall – Civil
Nicholas Alexander John Goodwin – Family
Russell Benjamin Wallace Gumpert – Criminal
Charles Stanley Hale – Family
Jonathan Rupert Hall – Civil
Matthew Richard Hardwick – Civil
Annette Phyllis Henry – Criminal
Richard Guy Hitchcock – Civil
Paula Hodges – Civil*
Jonathan Anthony Hough – Civil
James Richard Howells – Civil
Abdul Shaffaq Iqbal – Criminal
Wayne Darren Jordash – Criminal
Robert John Hugh Jory – Civil
Nigel Stuart Lawrence – Civil & Criminal
Jacob Levy – Civil
David Patrick Lewis – Civil
Nicholas Lobbenberg – Criminal
Adrienne Simone Lucking – Criminal
Andrew Nicolas Lykiardopoulos – Civil
Catherine Mary Markus – Civil
Charlotte Louisa May – Civil
Elizabeth Ann McGrath – Family
Andrew Miller – Civil
Thomas George Moseley Mitcheson – Civil
Fenner Orlando Moeran – Civil
Justin John Glasbrook Mort – Civil
Jane Suzanne Mulcahy – Civil
Benjamin John Myers – Criminal
Thomas Sean Patrick O’Sullivan – Civil
Pavlos Panayi – Criminal
Constantine Partasides – Civil*
Sandip Patel – Criminal
Duncan John William Penny – Criminal
James Alexander Pereira – Civil
Jason Karl Pitter – Criminal
Charles Benedictus Alexander Quiney – Civil
John William Rupert Reed – Civil
Thomas Idris Roe – Civil & Criminal
Ian Paul Rogers – Civil
Robert John Finlay Russell – Civil
Saira Kabir Sheikh – Civil
Hugh Sims – Civil
Kathryn Mair Skellorn – Family
Thomas Jonathan Smith – Civil
Tyrone Gregory Smith – Criminal
David Boardman Southern – Civil
Karen Margaret Steyn – Civil
Benjamin James Quentin Strong – Civil
Mark John Summers – Criminal
Reuben Mallinson Taylor – Civil
Christopher Tehrani – Criminal
Leslie Letchworth Thomas – Civil
Roger Christopher Thomas – Civil
Andrew Richard Thompson – Civil
Adam Richard Tolley – Civil
William John Tyler – Family
Stephen Vullo – Civil & Criminal
Matthew Gideon Weiniger – Civil*
Tom Weisselberg – Civil
Sarah Alice Whitehouse – Criminal
Lisa Marie Wilding – Criminal
Marc Lawrence George Willers – Civil