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Return to form for Queen’s Counsel as 100 barristers take silk

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