The appointment of 93 new Queen’s Counsel (QC) has been announced this morning (14 January), with the number of females awarded silk increasing by 39%. The Queen’s Counsel Selection Panel, however, has expressed concern that the number of female applicants ‘remains stubbornly low’.
Having published a report on the 2014-15 competition, statistical information showed that among the 93 appointments, 25 were women out of 42 who applied, constituting a significant increase on the 18 females appointed last year.
Further stats show that there are five solicitor advocates which includes Clifford Chance construction disputes partner Audley Sheppard, Hogan Lovells arbitration specialist Simon Nesbitt, Boies Schiller & Flexner partner Wendy Miles, and Thomas Sprange, an international arbitration partner at King & Spalding. Paris-based Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Peter Turner also made the cut.
Ten out of 24 who applied and who declared ethnic origin other than white were appointed, constituting a dip on the 13 applicants appointed last year out of 32. Only nine applicants aged over 50 were appointed out of the 35 who applied, compared with 11 over 50 year olds appointed last year, while the youngest successful applicant is 38 years old.
Three out of six applicants declared a disability were appointed a drop on last year’s appointment of five while the total number of new silks is also down from last year when 100 QC’s were appointed.
The appointments are made by the Queen on the advice of the Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling, after consideration by the 10-strong independent selection panel.
Chairman of the selection panel, Helen Pitcher, said: ‘I am delighted at the announcement of the new silks. I congratulate each one of them. 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 evidence about an applicant’s demonstration of the competencies. The best applicants are then interviewed by two members of the panel, following which the whole panel discuss all the evidence on each applicant.
Pitcher added: ‘We remain concerned that the number of female applicants remains stubbornly low, but I am pleased that of those women who did apply, 58% were successful. BAME applicants had exactly the same success rate (42%) as other applicants.’
The panel expects to invite applications for the next round of appointments in late February 2015.
The full list of those being appointed Queen’s Counsel comprises:
Wendy Miles – Boies Schiller & Flexner
Simon Nesbitt – Hogan Lovells
Audley Sheppard – Clifford Chance
Thomas Sprange – King & Spalding
Peter Turner – Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Marc Paul Willems