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Taking Silk: 93 appointed QC but level of female applicants remains ‘stubbornly low’

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:

James Ageros

Christine Agnew

Thomas Allen

William Audland

Andrew Ayres

Andrew Bagchi

Jason Bartfeld

Dijendra Basu

Janet Bignell

Simon Birt

Gary Blaker

Rupert Bowers

Catherine Brunner

Andrew Burns

Julia Cheetham

Akhlaq Choudhury

David Craig

Rachel Crasnow

Hugo Cuddigan

Annabel Darlow

Ricky Diwan

Zachary Douglas

Stephen Eyre

Richard Fisher

Francis Fitzpatrick

Deirdre Fottrell

Andrew Fraser-Urquhart

Damian Garrido

Andrew George

Andreas Gledhill

Samuel Green

Alison Grief

Christopher Hames

Muhammed Haque

Amanda Hardy

Christopher Henley

Christine Henson

Neil Hext

Henrietta Hill

James Hines

James House

Darren Howe

Anthony Hudson

Rhiannon Jones

Adam Kane

Riel Karmy-Jones

Nageena Khalique

John Kimbell

Daniel Kolinsky

Jonathan Lee

Jane Lemon

Jonathan Mann

Daniel Margolin

Jolyon Maugham

Wendy Miles – Boies Schiller & Flexner

Simon Nesbitt – Hogan Lovells

Michael Nolan

Edmund Nourse

Andrew O’Connor

Zoe O’Sullivan

John Passmore

George Peretz

Hereward Phillpot

Meredith Pickford

Benjamin Pilling

Nathan Pillow

Alison Pople

Angela Rafferty

Thomas Raphael

Lisa Roberts

Justin Rouse

Martin Rutherford

Vikram Sachdeva

David Scorey

Malcolm Sheehan

Marcia Shekerdemian

Audley Sheppard – Clifford Chance

Marion Smith

Jamie Smith

Thomas Sprange – King & Spalding

Clare Stanley

Nicholas Stonor

Steven Thompson

Mark Trafford

Stephen Trowell

John Tughan

Peter Turner – Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

James Waddington

Justin Warshaw

Rufina Weereratne

Francesca Wiley

Marc Paul Willems

Benjamin Williams