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The Selection Panel for appointing Queen's Counsel has announced today that it is inviting applications from barristers and solicitors with Higher Courts advocacy rights for appointment as Queen's Counsel.
From today, the application form and guidance for applicants will be available on the Selection Panel's website www.qcapplications.org.uk.
The deadline for receipt of applications is 5 pm on Thursday 23 April 2009. On current expectations the outcome of the applications is likely to be announced in the early part of 2010.
The Selection Panel will be looking for applicants who demonstrate 5 competencies to a standard of excellence, on the same basis as in the 2008-09 competition. The competencies are: Understanding and use of the law; Oral and written advocacy (including the preparation and court or resolution aspects of advocacy); Working with others; Diversity and; Integrity.
The award is for excellence in advocacy in the higher courts and equivalent tribunals, and arbitrations. Advocacy includes both written and oral advocacy. There is no minimum amount of in court or written advocacy required for an applicant to be successful, provided there is enough evidence for the Selection Panel to reach a conclusion as to excellence.
To be appointed an applicant must demonstrate the competencies to a standard of excellence. Applicants are required to provide a summary description of their practice, a self assessment as to how they meet the competencies and the names of assessors who have recently encountered them at work - judges or arbitrators, fellow practitioners and professional clients or client proxies. The Selection Panel will consider the evidence from the summary description of practice, self assessment and assessments and decide on the strength of the available evidence which applicants justify an interview.
The Selection Panel has nine members with a substantial lay (i.e. non-lawyer) membership. It is also chaired by a non-lawyer. The Selection Panel is independent of the legal professions and Government. Four new members of the Selection Panel are currently being recruited.
The Selection Panel's recommendations will be passed to the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, who will put recommendations to The Queen. The Lord Chancellor has no power to veto names or to add names of his own and the scheme is funded entirely by fees from applicants.