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The total number of family law silks appointed this year (6) has halved from last year, which saw 12 new family law silks appointed.
Overall 107 new appointments as Queen’s Counsel were announced today. Last year there were 93 new silks.
The number of applications made increased compared to last year. The 2014-15 competition received 223 applications, this year there were 237. This year's competition saw a total of 189 male applicants with 82 being successful, a success rate of 43 per cent.
There were 48 female applicants this year, an increase of five over the previous year. Of this year's applicants, 25 were successful, the same number as last year, marking a success rate of 52 per cent.
A total of 32 advocates from ethnic minority backgrounds applied in the current round, with nine making the grade. This marks the third consecutive year that the number of successful ethnic minority advocates has dropped.
Unlike previous years, only 30 per cent of solicitors were successful with three out of nine applicants being made silk. Last year five out of nine applicants were successful.
Helen Pitcher, Chairman of the Selection Panel, said today:
’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. Those applicants who are not filtered out following consideration of the assessments are then interviewed by two members of the Panel, following which the whole Panel discuss all the evidence on each interviewed applicant.
We remain concerned that the number of female applicants remains stubbornly low, but I am pleased that of those women who did apply, 52% were successful. While I was pleased to note a rise in BAME applicants to 14% of applications it is disappointing that the success rate for BAME applicants was lower than that for applicants as a whole.
Each year, the Panel has the difficult task of identifying the truly excellent advocates. I am confident that those appointed today truly deserve to be Queen’s Counsel.'
'I congratulate the 8 new Honorary Queen’s Counsel. Their appointments recognise the major contribution each has made to the law of England and Wales outside of practice in the courts, in some cases in careers spanning many years.
I also commend the further 107 barristers and solicitors, who have demonstrated their excellence as advocates in practice, for their appointment to Queens’s Counsel.'
The title and some of the content has been updated since publication due to an error by QC Appointments. The Broad Field of Practice for one successful applicant should be Civil and Criminal, not Family.