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Helen Pitcher, the Chairman of the Selection Panel, who stands down from the Selection Panel after this competition said today:
'I congratulate each one of the 113 successful applicants. The selection process is exceptionally thorough. The application form itself is comprehensive and time consuming; we then 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. Those with sufficient evidence of excellence are interviewed by one legal and one lay member of the Panel. The Selection Panel as a whole then considers all the evidence and makes a collective decision as to which applicants should be recommended for appointment.
We are pleased that the number of women applying and being successful continues to rise, and that the proportion of women amongst those appointed is at its highest level ever. However, we would still like to see more women apply. We have commissioned research to see whether there are barriers which may deter well-qualified women from applying. QCA expect to publish that research later this year. I was also pleased to note a slight rise in BME applicants to 15% of applications and that the success rate for BME applicants was in line with that for other applicants. As a result, the proportion of applicants from BME backgrounds amongst those appointed was also at the highest level ever.
Every year, the Panel has the difficult task of identifying the truly excellent advocates. I have been impressed with the standard of applicants during my time on the Panel. It has been a privilege to work with so many esteemed colleagues on the Selection Panel over the years. I am confident that those appointed truly deserve to be Queen’s Counsel.'
Lord Chancellor Elizabeth Truss said:
'I commend each of the 113 barristers and solicitors, alongside the five Honorary Queen’s Counsel, for their appointments.
I want us to tap into all the talents of our society and today’s appointments are a step in the right direction. The number of women and BAME candidates applying and being successful is moving in the right direction.
There is more to be done, but my message is clear - when you widen the pool of talent from which lawyers and judges are drawn, you make the justice system stronger.'The new silks will be sworn in on 13 February 2017.