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Twelve new family law QCs appointed

Date:14 JAN 2015
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The Lord Chancellor has approved the appointment of 12 new family law Queen's Counsel today.

They are:

Andrew Bagchi - 1 Garden Court
Julia Cheetham - Deans Court Chambers
Deirdre Fottrell - 1 Garden Court
Damian Garrido - Harcourt Chambers
Alison Grief - 4 Paper Buildings
Christopher Hames - 4 Paper Buildings
Darren Howe - 1 Garden Court
Nicholas Stonor - Trinity Chambers
Stephen Trowell - 1 Hare Court
John Tughan - 4 Paper Buildings
Justin Warshaw - 1 Hare Court
Francesca Wiley - 1 Garden Court

Of the newly appointed QCs, Alison Grief of 4 Paper Buildings, was shortlisted for Family Law Junior Barrister of the Year 2013. Andrew Bagchi and Darren Howe of 1 Garden Court are contributing authors to DIY Divorce. Andrew was also shortlisted for the Family Law Junior Barrister of the Year 2014. Damian Garrido of Harcourt Chambers is a co-author of Relocation. A number of the newly appointed QCs have also spoken at Family Law conferences and contributed to the journal.

The number of family law silks appointed this year is up from last year which saw five new family law silks appointed. The number is also higher than in 2012 when seven silks were appointed but down on the record 17 silks selected in 2011.

Overall 93 new appointments as Queen’s Counsel were announced today. Last year there were 100 new silks, reversing a downward trend of previous years.

The number of applications made decreased compared to last year. The 2013-14 competition received 225 applications. Of the 223 applicants in this year's competition 180 were male, a slight decrease from last year's 183. Female applicants rose slightly to 43 applicants this year compared to 42 last year.

Successful women applicants rose for the second consecutive year. There were 25 successful applicants in this year's competition compared to 18 last year. Ethnic minority applicants, who had the biggest increase in successful applicants last year, dropped to 10 compared to the previous year's 13. Solicitors were again the most successful group of all the applicants - out of 9 applicants, 5 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. The best applicants are then interviewed by two members of the Panel, following which the whole Panel discuss all the evidence on each applicant. 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.

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. Unsuccessful applicants will of course be very disappointed. But I must stress that almost all of those who are unsuccessful are nevertheless highly respected and effective advocates.'
The new silks will be sworn in on 16 February. The independent Queen's Counsel Selection Panel expects to invite applications for the 2015-16 competition in the second half of February, with a closing date in very early April. The confirmed dates will be announced as soon as possible.

The full list of appointments in alphabetical order is available to download here.
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