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In the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
and in some
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existenc ...

Commonwealth
countries, a Queen's Counsel (
post-nominal Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles or designatory letters, are letters placed after a person's name to indicate that the individual holds a position, academic degree, accreditation, office, military decorat ...
QC) during the reign of a
queen Queen may refer to: Monarchy * Queen regnant, a female monarch of a Kingdom ** List of queens regnant * Queen consort, the wife of a reigning king * Queen dowager, the widow of a king * Queen mother, a queen dowager who is the mother of a reigni ...
, or King's Counsel (post-nominal KC) during the reign of a
king King is the title given to a male in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is , which title is also given to the of a king. *In the context of prehistory, antiquity and contemporary indigenous peoples, the title may refer to . G ...

king
, is a
lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at law, barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdiction (area), jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialise in courtroom advocacy and litigat ...

lawyer
(usually a
barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at lawAttorney at law or attorney-at-law, usually abbreviated in everyday speech to attorney, is the preferred term for a practisin ...

barrister
or
advocate An advocate is a professional in the field of law. Different countries' legal systems use the term with somewhat differing meanings. The broad equivalent in many English law English law is the common law In law, common law (also known as j ...

advocate
) who is a senior counsel in court cases; in important cases each side is typically led by one. Technically, they are appointed by the monarch of the country to be one of 'Her
is
is
Majesty's Counsel learned in the law'. The position originated in England. Some Commonwealth countries have either abolished the position, or renamed it so as to remove monarchical connotations, for example, '
Senior Counsel #REDIRECT Senior counsel#REDIRECT Senior counsel The title of Senior Counsel or State Counsel ( post-nominal letters: SC) is given to a senior lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at lawAttorney ...
' or 'Senior Advocate'. Queen's Counsel is an office, conferred by
the Crown The Crown is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

the Crown
, that is recognised by
court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, govern ...

court
s. Members have the privilege of sitting within the inner
bar Bar or BAR may refer to: Food *Bar (establishment) A bar is a long raised narrow table or bench designed for dispensing beer or other alcoholic beverage, alcoholic drinks. They were originally chest high, and a bar, often brass, ran the lengt ...
of court. The term is recognised as an
honorific An honorific is a title that conveys esteem, courtesy, or respect for position or rank when used in addressing or referring to a person. Sometimes, the term "honorific" is used in a more specific sense to refer to an honorary academic title. It i ...
. As members wear silk gowns of a particular design (see
court dress Court dress comprises the style of clothes and other attire prescribed for members of court, courts of law. Depending on the country and jurisdiction's traditions, members of the court (judges, magistrates, and so on) may wear formal robes, gow ...
), appointment as Queen's Counsel is known informally as ''receiving, obtaining,'' or ''taking silk'' and QCs are often colloquially called ''silks''. Appointments are made from within the legal profession on the basis of merit rather than a particular level of experience. However, successful applicants tend to be
barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at lawAttorney at law or attorney-at-law, usually abbreviated in everyday speech to attorney, is the preferred term for a practisin ...

barrister
s, or (in Scotland)
advocate An advocate is a professional in the field of law. Different countries' legal systems use the term with somewhat differing meanings. The broad equivalent in many English law English law is the common law In law, common law (also known as j ...

advocate
s with 15 years of experience or more.


Historical origins in England and Wales


Historical background

The
Attorney General In most common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dictionar ...
, Solicitor-General and King's Serjeants were King's Counsel in Ordinary in the
Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England (: ''Regnum Anglorum'', "Kingdom of the English") was a on the island of from 12 July 927, when it emerged from various kingdoms, until 1 May 1707, when it united with to form the . The Kingdom of England was among ...

Kingdom of England
. The first Queen's Counsel ''Extraordinary'' was Sir
Francis Bacon Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban, (; 22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626), also known as Lord Verulam, was an English philosopher and statesman who served as Attorney General In most common law In law, common law (also known as judicial prec ...

Francis Bacon
, who was given a patent giving him precedence at the Bar in 1597, and formally styled King's Counsel in 1603. The right of precedence before the Court granted to Bacon became a hallmark of the early King's Counsel. True to their name, members of the King's/Queen's Counsel initially were representatives of the Crown. The right of precedence and pre-audience bestowed upon them – a form of seniority that allowed them to address the court before others – allowed for the swift resolution of Crown litigation. The new rank of King's Counsel contributed to the gradual obsolescence of the formerly more senior
serjeant-at-law#REDIRECT Serjeant-at-law A Serjeant-at-Law (SL), commonly known simply as a Serjeant, was a member of an order of barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdiction (area), jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialise in court ...
by superseding it. The Attorney-General and Solicitor-General had similarly succeeded the King's Serjeants as leaders of the Bar in
Tudor Tudor most commonly refers to: * House of Tudor, English royal house of Welsh origins ** Tudor period, a historical era in England coinciding with the rule of the Tudor dynasty Tudor may also refer to: Architecture * Tudor architecture, the fi ...

Tudor
times, though not technically senior until 1623 (except for the two senior King's Serjeants) and 1813, respectively. The King's Counsel came to prominence during the early 1830s, prior to which they were relatively few in number. It became the standard means to recognise a
barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at lawAttorney at law or attorney-at-law, usually abbreviated in everyday speech to attorney, is the preferred term for a practisin ...

barrister
as a senior member of the profession, and the numbers multiplied accordingly.Duman, Daniel. ''The English and Colonial Bars in the Nineteenth Century''. 1983. It became of greater professional importance to become a KC, and the serjeants gradually declined. The KCs inherited the prestige of the serjeants and their priority before the courts. The earliest English law list, published in 1775, lists 165 members of the Bar, of whom 14 were King's Counsel, a proportion of about 8.5%. roughly the same proportion existed, though the number of barristers had increased to about 12,250 in independent practice (i.e., excluding pupil barristers and employed barristers). In 1839 the number of Queen's Counsel was seventy.(1898) 104 Law Times 9
Google Books
In 1882, the number of Queen's Counsel was 187. The list of Queen's Counsel in the Law List of 1897 gave the names of 238, of whom hardly one third appeared to be in actual practice. In 1959, the number of practising Queen's Counsel was 181. HC Deb 6 March 1989 vol 14
col 596
per Mayhew AG
In each of the five years up to 1970, the number of practising Queen's Counsel was 208, 209, 221, 236 and 262, respectively. In each of the years 1973 to 1978, the number of practising Queen's Counsel was 329, 345, 370, 372, 384 and 404, respectively. In 1989, the number of practising Queen's Counsel was 601. In each of the years 1991 to 2000, the number of practising Queen's Counsel was 736, 760, 797, 845, 891, 925, 974, 1006, 1043, and 1072, respectively. Gradually, the appointment to the Queen's Counsel shifted from a vocational calling to a badge of honor and prestige. In 1898, Lord Watson noted in his opinion in ''Attorney General of the Dominion of Canada v. Attorney General for the Province of Ontario,'' writing on behalf of the
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) is the highest court of appeal for certain British territories, some Commonwealth countries and a few UK bodies. Established on 13 August 1833 to hear appeals formerly heard by the King-in-Cou ...
, that:


Restrictions

Until the late 19th century, some barristers were granted a
patent of precedence A patent of precedence is a grant to an individual by letters patent upLetters patent transferring a predecessor of the Nancy Nancy may refer to: Places France * Nancy, France, a city in the northeastern French department of Meurthe-et-Mo ...
in order to obtain the same precedence as a QC without the concomitant restrictions. Queen's Counsel was originally considered an
office of profit An office of profit means a position that brings to the person holding it some financial gain, or advantage, or benefit. It may be an office or place of profit if it carries some remuneration, financial advantage, benefit etc. It’s a term used i ...
and hence, under the
Act of Settlement 1701 The Act of Settlement is an Act of the Parliament of England that was passed in 1701 to settle the order of succession, succession to the List of English monarchs, English and List of Irish monarchs, Irish crowns on Protestants only. This had ...
, incompatible with membership of the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorporat ...

House of Commons
. QCs were also required to take the
Oath of Supremacy The Oath of Supremacy required any person taking public or church office in England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its ...
, which
Daniel O'Connell Daniel O'Connell ( ga, Dónall Ó Conaill; 6 August 1775 – 15 May 1847), hailed in his time as The Liberator, was the acknowledged political leader of Ireland's Roman Catholic majority in the first half of the 19th century. His mobilisa ...

Daniel O'Connell
refused as a
Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...
; despite being the most prominent and best paid barrister in Ireland, he was a junior counsel for 30 years until granted a patent of precedence in 1831. From the beginning, QCs were not allowed to appear against
the Crown The Crown is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

the Crown
without a special licence, but this was generally given as a formality. This stipulation was particularly important in criminal cases, which are mostly brought in the name of the Crown. The result was that, until 1920 in
England and Wales England and Wales () is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom, parts of the United Kingdom. England and Wales forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows ...

England and Wales
, QCs had to have a licence to appear in criminal cases for the defence. Queen's Counsel and serjeants were prohibited, at least from the mid-nineteenth century onward, from drafting
pleading In law as practiced in countries that follow the English models, a pleading is a formal written statement of a party's claims or defenses to another party's claims in a civil action. The parties' pleadings in a case define the issues to be adjudi ...
s alone; a junior barrister had to be retained. They were not permitted to appear in court without a junior barrister, and they had to have barristers' chambers in London. These restrictions had a number of consequences: they made the taking of silk something of a professional risk, because the appointment abolished at a stroke some of the staple work of the junior barrister; they made the use of leading counsel more expensive, and therefore ensured that they were retained only in more important cases, and they protected the work of the junior bar, which could not be excluded by the retention of leading counsel. By the end of the twentieth century, however, all of these rules had been abolished one by one. Appointment as QC has been said to be a matter of status and prestige only, with no formal disadvantages. But economic risk may remain, in some markets, because of loss of junior work to the successful applicant.


Appointment from barristers

Queen's Counsel were traditionally selected from barristers, or in Scotland, advocates, rather than from lawyers in general, because they were counsel appointed to conduct court work on behalf of the Crown. Although the limitations on private instruction were gradually relaxed, QCs continued to be selected from barristers, who had the sole right of audience in the higher courts.


Women appointed

The first woman appointed King's Counsel was
Helen Kinnear Helen Alice Kinnear, (May 6, 1894 – April 25, 1970) was a Canadians, Canadian lawyer. She was the first woman in the British Commonwealth to be made a King's Counsel, the first female lawyer to argue before the Supreme Court of Canada, and the ...
in Canada in 1934. The first women to be appointed as King's Counsel in England and Wales were and
Rose Heilbron Dame Rose Heilbron Order of the British Empire, DBE (19 August 1914 – 8 December 2005) was a High Court judge (England and Wales), High Court judge, previously a barrister of the post-war period in the United Kingdom. Her career included many "f ...
in 1949. They were preceded by
Margaret Kidd Dame Margaret Henderson Kidd, Mrs MacDonald (14 March 1900 – 22 March 1989) was a Scottish legal advocate, editor and politician. She was the first woman to become a member of the Faculty of Advocates The Faculty of Advocates is an indepen ...
KC (later Dame Margaret Kidd QC) appointed a KC in Scotland in 1948.


Recent developments in the United Kingdom


England and Wales

In 1994 solicitors of England and Wales became entitled to gain
rights of audienceIn common law, a right of audience is generally a right of a lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at lawAttorney at law or attorney-at-law, usually abbreviated in everyday speech to attorney, is ...
in the higher courts, and some 275 were so entitled in 1995. In 1995, these solicitors alone became entitled to apply for appointment as Queen's Counsel, and the first two solicitors were appointed on 27 March 1997, out of 68 new QCs. These were Arthur Marriott (53), partner of the London office of the American law firm of Wilmer Cutler and Pickering based in Washington, D.C., and Lawrence Collins (55), a partner of the
City A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It can be defined as a ...

City
law firm of
Herbert Smith Herbert Smith LLP was a multinational law firm headquartered in London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It stands on the River Thames in sout ...
. Collins was subsequently appointed as a High Court judge and ultimately
Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom Justices of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom are the judges of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom The Supreme Court (initialism An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smalles ...
. The appointment of new Queen's Counsel was suspended in 2003, and it was widely expected that the system would be abolished. However, a vigorous campaign was mounted in defence of the system. Supporters included those who considered it as an independent indication of excellence of value to those (especially foreign commercial litigants) who did not have much else to go on, and those who contended that it was a means whereby the most able barristers from ethnic minorities could advance and overcome prejudice, as well as better represent members of an increasingly diverse society. The government's focus switched from abolition to reform and, in particular, reform of the much-criticised "secret soundings" of judges and other establishment legal figures upon which the old system was based. This was held to be inappropriate and unfair given the size of the modern profession, as well as a possible source of improper government patronage (since the final recommendations were made by the Lord Chancellor, who is a member of the government), and discriminatory against part-time workers (especially women) and ethnic minorities. In November 2004, after much public debate in favour of and against retaining the title (see for example Sasha Wass QC), the government announced that appointments of Queen's Counsel in England would be resumed but that future appointees would be chosen not by the government but by a nine-member panel, the Queen's Counsel Selection Panel, chaired by a lay person, to include two barristers, two solicitors, one retired judge, and three non-lawyers. Formally, the appointment remains a royal one made on the advice of the
Lord Chancellor The Lord Chancellor, formally the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, is the highest-ranking among the in in the , nominally outranking the . The lord chancellor is appointed by the on the advice of the prime minister. Prior to their i ...
, but they no longer comment on individual applications. The Lord Chancellor supervises the process and reviews the panel's recommendations in general terms (to be satisfied that the process as operated is fair and efficient). Application forms under the new system were released in July 2005 and the appointment of 175 new Queen's Counsel was announced on 20 July 2006. A total of 443 people had applied (including 68 women, 24 ethnic minority lawyers, and 12 solicitors). Of the 175 appointed, 33 were women, 10 were ethnic minorities, and four were solicitors. Six people were also appointed QC ''honoris causa''. On 16 October 2006, a couple of weeks after the beginning of the legal year, the successful candidates made a declaration and received their
letters patent Letters patent ( la, litterae patentes) ( always in the plural) are a type of legal instrument ''Legal instrument'' is a legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act acco ...
from the
Lord Chancellor The Lord Chancellor, formally the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, is the highest-ranking among the in in the , nominally outranking the . The lord chancellor is appointed by the on the advice of the prime minister. Prior to their i ...
in Westminster Hall. Appointments are made annually.


Northern Ireland

The title of QC continues to be used. In 1998 two Northern Ireland barristers (
Seamus Treacy Sir Seamus Treacy, Queen's Counsel, QC is a Lord Justice of Appeal in the Courts of Northern Ireland#Court of Appeal, Northern Ireland Court of Appeal. Education He studied at Queen's University, Belfast and was Call to the bar, called to the ba ...
and Barry Macdonald) opposed the requirement of swearing an oath of allegiance to the Crown. The Bar Council, the body which represents barristers' interests, had agreed (in the ''Elliott Report'') that the royal oath should be dropped and replaced by a more neutral statement. It suggested that, instead of declaring services to Queen Elizabeth, barristers should "sincerely promise and declare that I will well and truly serve all whom I may lawfully be called to serve in the office of one of Her Majesty's Counsel, learned in the law according to the best of my skill and understanding". In 2000, the Northern Ireland High Court ruled in the barristers' favour. After more wrangling, the barristers were permitted to make "a more neutral statement" of commitment to principles. In 1997, the
Lord Chief Justice The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales is the Head of the Judiciary of England and Wales There are various levels of judiciary in England and Wales — different types of courts have different styles of judges. They also form a strict ...
, Sir Robert Carswell, wrote "I have little doubt myself that this is all part of an ongoing based campaign to have the office of Queen's Counsel replaced by a rank entitled Senior Counsel, or something to that effect".


Scotland

The independent Bar is organised as the
Faculty of Advocates The Faculty of Advocates is an independent body of lawyers who have been admitted to practise as advocates before the courts of Scotland, especially the Court of Session The Court of Session is the Supreme court, supreme Civil law (commo ...
and its members are known not as barristers but as advocates. The position of Queen's Counsel was not recognised before 1868. Initially the status was reserved first for law officers (
Lord Advocate , body = , insignia = Crest of the Kingdom of Scotland.svg , insigniasize = 110px , image = File:Lord Advocate James Wolffe (26789821493).jpg , incumbent = The Rt Hon. James Wolffe QC , incumbentsince = J ...
and
Solicitor General for Scotland , body = , insignia = Crest of the Kingdom of Scotland.svg , insigniasize = 110px , image = File:Solicitor General Alison Di Rollo (27121243080).jpg , incumbent = Alison Di Rollo , incumbentsince = June 2016 , departm ...
) and soon after for the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates. In 1897 a petition by the Faculty of Advocates for the establishment of a Scottish roll of Queen's Counsel was approved, and the first appointments were made later in that year. In 2005 there were more than 150 QCs in Scotland. The appointment of Queen's Counsel is made on the recommendation of the
Lord Justice General Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, a chief, or a ruler. The appellation can also denote certain persons who hold a title of the Peerag ...
to the
First Minister of Scotland The first minister of Scotland ( sco, heid meinister o Scotland; gd, prìomh mhinistear na h-Alba ) is the leader of the Scottish Government The Scottish Government ( gd, Riaghaltas na h-Alba, ) is the ...
, formerly the
Secretary of State for Scotland The secretary of state for Scotland ( gd, Rùnaire Stàite na h-Alba; sco, Secretar o State fir Scotland), also referred to as the Scotland secretary, is a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), secretary of state in the Government of the Unite ...
. In the 1990s, rules were changed so that solicitors with rights of audience in the
Court of Session The Court of Session is the Supreme court, supreme Civil law (common law), civil Courts of Scotland, court of Scotland and constitutes part of the College of Justice; the supreme Criminal justice, criminal court of Scotland is the High Court of ...
or High Court of Justiciary were permitted to apply for appointment, and two or three have done so. A solicitor advocate who is so appointed is correctly designated as ''Queen's Counsel, Solicitor Advocate''.


Queen's Counsel (''honoris causa'')

An award of Queen's Counsel ''honoris causa'' (honorary QC) may be made to lawyers who have made a major contribution to the law of England and Wales but who operate outside court practice.


Courtesy QC for Members of Parliament

Until the 1990s there was a practice that sitting members of the UK Parliament (MPs) who were barristers were (if they wished) appointed QC, sometimes known as a "courtesy" or even "false" silk (or sarcastically "nylons" being artificial silks), on reaching a certain level of seniority, of around fifteen years, at the bar (though not automatically on election when they were more junior). In the 1990s it was felt that the practice of granting silk to MPs in this way, without considering their abilities, devalued the rank and the practice was abolished. However, for now the practice persists for law officers of the Crown. Former
Attorney General for England and Wales Her Majesty's Attorney General for England and Wales, usually known as the Attorney General, is one of the Law Officers of the Crown. The Attorney General serves as the principal legal adviser to the Crown and the Government in England and Wales ...
Jeremy Wright Jeremy Paul Wright (born 24 October 1972) is a British lawyer and politician who served as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport from 2018 to 2019. A member of the Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party, he has been the ...
was not a QC when he was appointed, a subject which attracted some comment. But, despite not having practised law for some time, Jeremy Wright took silk shortly after his appointment, which was criticised by some as a breach of the protocol against "courtesy silk". Similarly when
Harriet Harman Harriet Ruth Harman (born 30 July 1950) is a British politician and solicitor who has served as Member of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who live in their constituency. In many countries with Bic ...

Harriet Harman
was appointed as
Solicitor General A solicitor general or solicitor-general, in common law countries, is usually a legal officer who is the chief representative of a regional or national government in courtroom proceedings. In systems that have an Attorney general, attorney-general ...
she was made a QC and when
Suella Braverman Sue-Ellen Cassiana "Suella" Braverman (; born 3 April 1980) is a British politician currently on leave. She was appointed Attorney General for England and Wales and Advocate General for Northern Ireland in February 2020 and has been the membe ...
took silk on 25 February 2020; earlier that month she had, like Wright, been appointed Attorney General.


Countries that retain the designation

Queen's Counsel are retained in several
Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a perma ...
s where
Queen Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy A constitutional mo ...

Queen Elizabeth II
is
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
.


Australia

The
Commonwealth of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French ''souverain'', which is ultimately derived from ...
at the federal level, and most state and territory governments, began in 1994 to replace the title of Queen's Counsel and appointment by
letters patent Letters patent ( la, litterae patentes) ( always in the plural) are a type of legal instrument ''Legal instrument'' is a legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act acco ...
with the title
Senior Counsel #REDIRECT Senior counsel#REDIRECT Senior counsel The title of Senior Counsel or State Counsel ( post-nominal letters: SC) is given to a senior lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at lawAttorney ...
(SC) as an honorific conferred by the legal profession. There is no difference in status between a Queen's Counsel and a Senior Counsel. The selection process varies from state to state. In New South Wales, the process involves a committee made up of senior members of each State's bar, and usually a non-practising former barrister such as a retired judge. The committee then consults with judges, peers, and law firms on the applicant's suitability for the position. The selection committees deliberate in private, and reasons for the decisions are not published. The first States to change to the title of Senior Counsel were
New South Wales New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...
in 1993 and
Queensland Queensland ( ) is a state situated in northeastern Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the ...

Queensland
in 1994. Most other States and the Commonwealth Government followed over the next 15 years, including the ACT in 1995,
Victoria Victoria most commonly refers to: * Victoria (Australia), a state of the Commonwealth of Australia * Victoria, British Columbia, provincial capital of British Columbia, Canada * Victoria (mythology), Roman goddess of Victory * Victoria, Seychelles ...
in 2000 (though this was reversed in 2014), Western Australia in 2001,
Tasmania Tasmania (), abbreviated as TAS, is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atol ...
in 2005, and South Australia in 2008. In the
Northern Territory The Northern Territory (NT; formally the Northern Territory of Australia) is an Australian territory in the central and central northern regions of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, ...
, the rank of Queen's Counsel was never formally abolished, but in 2007 the rules of the Territory's Supreme Court were amended to facilitate the appointment of Senior Counsel by the Chief Justice. Those appointed Queen's Counsel (QC) before the change in each jurisdiction were permitted to retain the old title. Recently, there have been moves in some states to revert to the old title of Queen's Counsel. In 2013, Queensland restored the rank of Queen's Counsel. Those appointed Senior Counsel before the reintroduction of Queen's Counsel were given the option of retaining their old title or seeking appointment as Queen's Counsel, while all new appointments would be as Queen's Counsel only. Of the 74 Senior Counsel appointed in Queensland before the reintroduction of Queen's Counsel in June 2013, only four have opted to retain their title of Senior Counsel. In 2014, Victoria also restored the rank of Queen's Counsel,Victoria to give senior barristers option to become QCs
/ref> by way of making new appointments first as Senior Counsel, but then giving the option to seek appointment as Queen's Counsel by letters patent. In 2019, the
South Australian South Australia (abbreviated as SA) is a in the southern central part of . It covers some of the most parts of the country. With a total land area of , it is the fourth-largest of Australia's states and territories by area, and fifth-largest ...
Government announced it was also going to reinstate the title of Queen's Counsel, and most eligible took the opportunity. The
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existenc ...
appointed Queen's Counsels until March 2007. On 8 July 2010,
Gillard Government The Gillard Government was the Government of Australia The Australian Government, also known as the Commonwealth Government, is the national government of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovere ...
Attorney-General Robert McClelland appointed the first Commonwealth "Senior Counsel". In March 2014, Attorney-General
George Brandis George Henry Brandis (born 22 June 1957) is an Australian diplomat and former politician who has been the List of High Commissioners of Australia to the United Kingdom, Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom since May 2018. He prev ...

George Brandis
QC announced that the Commonwealth would revert to using the title of Queen's Counsel for new appointments and would give all existing Commonwealth Senior Counsel the option of changing their post-nominal to QC. When taking judicial office in a superior court, a barrister loses the title of Queen's Counsel and only regains it if new letters patent are issued after the person leaves office.Justice P. D. Cummins, 'Reflections on Judicial Office', paper presented on 1 September 2009, 11. Conversely, since the appointment of Senior Counsel is not by letters patent, when a Senior Counsel takes office, there is no doctrinal reason why the title of Senior Counsel is lost. However, this is customarily not done, and the New South Wales Bar Association instructs that "QC" and "SC" postnominals should not be used for superior court judges.


Canada


Constitutional authority to appoint Queen's Counsel

In Canada, both the federal government and the provincial governments have the constitutional authority to appoint a lawyer as Queen's Counsel. This point was decided in 1897 by the
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) is the highest court of appeal for certain British territories, some Commonwealth countries and a few UK bodies. Established on 13 August 1833 to hear appeals formerly heard by the King-in-Cou ...
in a case on appeal from the Canadian courts titled ''The Attorney General for the Dominion of Canada v. The Attorney General for the Province of Ontario (Queen's Counsel).'' The federal government asserted that it had sole power to appoint Queen's Counsel, because the appointment is an exercise of the royal prerogative and only the federal government could advise the monarch on the exercise of the royal prerogative. The province of Ontario responded that the Crown is just as much part of the provincial governments as at the federal level, and therefore the provinces could also advise the Crown to make appointments under the royal prerogative. The Judicial Committee ruled in favour of the provinces, upholding their power to make Queen's Counsel appointments.''Attorney General for the Dominion of Canada v Attorney General for the Province of Ontario''
897UKPC 49, 898AC 247.
During the reign of a queen, the title is properly "Her Majesty's Counsel learned in the law" but normally referred to as "Queen's Counsel" and abbreviated "Q.C." in English or "c.r." in French ( or for a female counsel). During the reign of a king, the title is "King's Counsel" or "K.C." in English, but continues to be "c.r." in French ( or ).


Criticisms and reforms

Lawyers continue to be appointed Queen's Counsel by the federal government and by eight of the ten
Canadian provinces The provinces and territories of Canada are sub-national divisions within the geographical areas of Canada under the jurisdiction of the Constitution of Canada, Canadian Constitution. In the 1867 Canadian Confederation, three provinces of Britis ...
. The award has been criticised in the past on the basis that appointment as Queen's Counsel depended largely on political affiliation, as well as suggestions that its monarchical connotations were not consistent with modern Canadian identity. However, in those provinces which continue to appoint lawyers as Queen's Counsel reforms have been made to de-politicise the award. Candidates are increasingly screened by committees composed of representatives of the bench and the bar, who give advice to the relevant Attorney General on appointments. The reforms have been designed to make the award a recognition of merit by individual members of the bar, often coupled with community service.


Appointments by jurisdiction


=Federal Government

= The federal government stopped appointing Queen's Counsel in 1993, but resumed the practice in 2013 under the Harper Ministry. Appointments are recommended by the Minister of Justice, assisted by an advisory committee. In 2014, the Government appointed seven lawyers as Queen's Counsel. All were employed in the federal public service. Since 2015, under the
Trudeau Ministry The twenty-ninth Canadian Ministry is the Cabinet of Canada, Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister of Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, that began governing Canada shortly before the opening of the 42nd Parliament of Canada, 42nd Parliament. The ...
, federal appointment as a Queen's Counsel has been limited to the Attorney General of Canada.
Jody Wilson-Raybould Jody Wilson-Raybould (born March 23, 1971), also known by her initials JWR and by her Kwak’wala name Puglaas, is a Canadian lawyer and politician who served as the member of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of ...

Jody Wilson-Raybould
was appointed as Queen's Counsel when she served as Attorney General and
David Lametti David T. Lametti (born August 10, 1962) is the current Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. He is a Canadian legal scholar and Liberal politician, and was a professor of law at McGill University McGill University is a public un ...
was appointed a Queen's Counsel on 15 April 2019.


=Alberta

= The provincial Cabinet appoints the Queen's Counsel recipients, who must have been called to the bar for at least 10 years. The honorary title recognises lawyers who have made significant contributions to the legal profession or in public life. Traditionally, the appointments are made every second year, but no appointments were made between 2016 and 2020. The nomination process resumed in 2019. Applications were reviewed by a screening committee of members of the judiciary and the legal community, which submitted recommendations for appointment to the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General and Cabinet for consideration, who in turn recommends names to Cabinet. In 2020, the province designated over 130 lawyers as Queen's Counsel.


=British Columbia

= Queen's Counsel are appointed by the provincial Cabinet on the advice of the
Attorney General of British Columbia The Ministry of the Attorney General of British Columbia is a provincial government department responsible for the oversight of the justice system within the province of British Columbia ( en, Splendour without diminishment) , image_map ...
. No more than 7% of the bar of British Columbia can be awarded the designation. Before making the recommendation to Cabinet, the Attorney General is required by statute to consult with the Chief Justice of British Columbia, the Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court of British Columbia The Supreme Court of British Columbia (BCSC) is the superior trial court for the province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', which was the ...
, and two lawyers appointed by the
Law Society of British Columbia The Law Society of British Columbia is the regulatory body for lawyers in British Columbia ( en, Splendour without diminishment) , image_map = British Columbia in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates ...
. A recipient must have at least five years' standing at the bar of British Columbia.''Queen's Counsel Act''
RSBC 1996, c 393.
In practice, the Attorney General appoints an advisory committee which includes these officials and also the Chief Judge of the
Provincial Court The provincial and territorial courts in Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic to the Pacific O ...
, the president of the British Columbia Branch of the
Canadian Bar Association The Canadian Bar Association (CBA), or Association du barreau canadien (ABC) in French, represents over 37,000 lawyers, judges, notaries, law teachers, and law students from across Canada. History The Association's first Annual Meeting was hel ...
and the
deputy attorney general The Deputy Attorney General (DAG) is the second-highest-ranking official in a department of justice or of law, in various governments of the world. In those governments, the Deputy Attorney General oversees the day-to-day operation of the departmen ...
. Candidates must be acknowledged by their peers as leading counsel, have demonstrated exceptional qualities of leadership in the profession, or have done outstanding work in legal scholarship.British Columbia: Queen's Counsel Nomination Process.
/ref> In 2020, the province designated twenty-six lawyers as Queen's Counsel, from a group of 136 nominees. The Attorney General is automatically appointed as Queen's Counsel on taking office.


=Manitoba

= The government of Manitoba stopped appointing Queen's Counsel in 2001. There was a proposal that the title would be replaced by Senior Counsel (S.C.). Appointments were to be made by the Law Society of Manitoba. However, the new designation was never adopted. Existing designations remain in effect. In 2019, Manitoba re-instituted the Queen's Counsel designation.


=New Brunswick

= The Lieutenant Governor appoints Queen's Counsel on the advice of a committee comprising the
Chief Justice of New BrunswickThe Chief Justice of the New Brunswick, Province of New Brunswick, Canada holds the highest office within the Province's judicial system. He/she is a member of the Court of Appeal of New Brunswick, Court of Appeal, the highest court in the Province w ...
, the Attorney General of New Brunswick, and the president of the Law Society of New Brunswick. The committee's recommendation must be unanimous. Recipients must have 15 years of active practice of the law in New Brunswick, with extensive experience before the courts, or demonstrate exceptional service to the profession. The
Deputy Attorney General The Deputy Attorney General (DAG) is the second-highest-ranking official in a department of justice or of law, in various governments of the world. In those governments, the Deputy Attorney General oversees the day-to-day operation of the departmen ...
of New Brunswick and deans of New Brunswick law schools may also be appointed. The number recommended for appointment shall not exceed 1% of the members of the bar in New Brunswick who are not already designated, and the Lieutenant Governor shall only make appointments once per year. In 2016, the province designated eleven lawyers as Queen's Counsel.


=Newfoundland and Labrador

= The Lieutenant Governor in Council appoints Queen's Counsel, on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice. The Minister is required to consult with the Legal Appointments Board, which consists of five individuals appointed by the Minister: two are from a list recommended by the
Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador The Law Society of Newfoundland Labrador founded in 1834 (as Newfoundland Law Society and current name in 1999) is the statutory body charged with the regulation of the legal profession in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Refe ...
, one is to be a lawyer from outside the metropolitan area of St John's, one is to be a bencher, and one is to be a lawyer with less than ten years at the bar. The appointments process has been criticised in the past as lacking transparency and being too open to political appointments. In 2017, the government appointed eleven lawyers as Queen's Counsel.


=Nova Scotia

= The Lieutenant Governor appoints Queen's Counsel on the advice of the provincial Cabinet. Recipients must have at least 15 years as a member of the bar of Nova Scotia. The Minister of Justice is advised by an independent advisory committee, through the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society.Nova Scotia Lawyers Receive Prestigious Designation
, 23 February 2017.
Eligible candidates can apply, or they can be nominated by others. Applications generally open in September of each year, with appointments made annually. According to the criteria published by the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society on the nomination form, candidates must demonstrate professional integrity, good character and outstanding contributions to the practice of law through recognition by other members of the profession as an exceptional barrister or solicitor, exceptional contributions through legal scholarship, teaching or continuing legal education, demonstration of exceptional qualities of leadership in the profession, and engaging in activities of a public or charitable nature in such a way as to raise the esteem in which the legal profession is held by the public. The Nova Scotia Barristers' Society also indicates that the committee is asked to consider regional, gender and minority representations among the persons recommended for appointment. In 2017, the government appointed 14 lawyers as Queen's Counsel.


=Ontario

= The Government of
Ontario ("Loyal she began, loyal she remains") , Label_map = yes , image_map = Ontario in Canada 2.svg , map_alt = Map showing Ontario's location east/central of Canada. , coordinates = , cap ...

Ontario
stopped making appointments in 1985. The then-Premier of Ontario,
David Peterson David Robert Peterson, (born December 28, 1943) is a Canadian former politician. He was the 20th premier of the province of Ontario , Label_map = yes , image_map = Ontario in Canada 2.svg , map_alt ...
made a statement in the house giving five reasons: # the designation was originally meant to recognise excellence in the courtroom, but the practice in Ontario was that it could be given to any lawyer, regardless of courtroom experience; # the use of the designation misled the public, because it was more based on who one knows than what one knows; # it was unfair to lawyers who for whatever reason have not been designated, leading to questions about their standing in the profession; # no other profession received government awards of this type; # the designation had been used in Ontario mainly as a form of political patronage. In his statement, Premier Peterson stated that the government would stop awarding the designation and would move to revoke existing designations. However, although the Government of Ontario has stopped awarding the designation, it did not formally abolish it. Lawyers appointed as Queen's Counsel prior to 1985 continue to use the Q.C. or c.r.
postnominal letters Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles or designatory letters, are letters placed after a person's name to indicate that the individual holds a position, academic degree, accreditation, office, military decorat ...
. In response to the government's decision, the
Law Society of Upper Canada The Law Society of Ontario (LSO; french: Barreau de l'Ontario) is the law society responsible for the self-regulation of lawyers and paralegals in the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Ontario. Founded in 1797 as The Law So ...
, the governing body for Ontario lawyers, implemented the Law Society Medal in 1985 to recognise excellence in the profession. Recipients are entitled to use "L.S.M." behind their names. Lawyers who are designated Certified Specialist are recognized and experienced in their field of law and have met high standards imposed by the Law Society of Ontario. This is commonly identified as modern day replacement to the Queen's Counsel (QC) designation. Ontario courts, however, will recognize the Queen's Counsel designations of Ontario lawyers appearing before it where those lawyers were accorded the honorific by the Federal Government.


= Prince Edward Island

= The Lieutenant Governor in Council (i.e. the provincial Cabinet) makes appointments on the recommendation of a committee consisting of the President of the Law Society of Prince Edward Island, a member of the council of the Law Society, a person appointed by the provincial Minister of Justice, a judge of either the Court of Appeal of Prince Edward Island, Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island, and a judge of the Provincial Court of Prince Edward Island. The committee's recommendations must be carried by at least a vote. To be considered for appointment, a lawyer must have 10 years at the bar of Prince Edward Island. The lawyer must also meet the following three criteria: (1) must be learned in the law; (2) must have consistently exhibited a high standard of professional integrity; and (3) must be of very good character. In addition, the lawyer must meet at least one of the following six criteria: (1) must have a reputation for excellence in the practice of law; (2) must be recognized as a leading counsel; (3) must have great expertise and an outstanding reputation; (4) must have exhibited exceptional qualities of leadership in the legal profession; (5) must have performed outstanding work in the fields of legal education or legal scholarship; or (6) must have made a great contribution to community affairs or public service. In 2016, the government appointed two lawyers as Queen's Counsel.


=Quebec

= The Government of Quebec stopped appointing Queen's Counsel in 1975. Over thirty years later, the Barreau of Quebec instituted a professional award, the distinction of ''Lawyer Emeritus / Avocat émérite'', with the postnominal "Ad. E." The award is to recognise lawyers "who gain distinction as a result of their outstanding professional career, outstanding contribution to the profession or outstanding social and community standing that has brought honour to the legal profession". As of July 2018, the Barreau had awarded the distinction to over 350 lawyers.


=Saskatchewan

= The Lieutenant Governor-in-Council (i.e. the provincial Cabinet) appoints lawyers as Queen's Counsel. To be eligible for appointment, a lawyer must reside in Saskatchewan and must have been called to the bar of any province of Canada, the Northwest Territories, or the United Kingdom. Appointments are based on recommendations from a selection committee consisting of Saskatchewan's Justice Minister and Attorney General, the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan or the Chief Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench for Saskatchewan, Court of Queen's Bench (on an alternating basis), and the past presidents of the Saskatchewan branch of the
Canadian Bar Association The Canadian Bar Association (CBA), or Association du barreau canadien (ABC) in French, represents over 37,000 lawyers, judges, notaries, law teachers, and law students from across Canada. History The Association's first Annual Meeting was hel ...
and the Law Society of Saskatchewan. In 2020, the Government appointed fifteen lawyers as Queen's Counsel.


New Zealand

In 2006, the title was renamed
Senior Counsel #REDIRECT Senior counsel#REDIRECT Senior counsel The title of Senior Counsel or State Counsel ( post-nominal letters: SC) is given to a senior lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at lawAttorney ...
, with the final appointments of Queen's Counsel occurring in 2007, after which the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (which made the change) came into force. However, the 2008 New Zealand general election, 2008 general election resulted in a change of government. In June 2009, Attorney-General Hon Chris Finlayson, Christopher Finlayson announced that the title of Queen's Counsel would be reinstated, and a bill to implement the restoration was introduced into Parliament in March 2010. The bill passed committee stage in November 2012, was passed in a third reading and received the Royal Assent on 19 November 2012. In December 2012, Finlayson was one of the first appointments under the reinstated regime.


Jurisdictions that have abolished the designation

In jurisdictions that have become republics, the office of Queen's Counsel has sometimes been replaced with an equivalent, for example,
Senior Counsel #REDIRECT Senior counsel#REDIRECT Senior counsel The title of Senior Counsel or State Counsel ( post-nominal letters: SC) is given to a senior lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at lawAttorney ...
in Barbados, South Africa, Kenya, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana; Senior Advocate in Nigeria, India and Bangladesh; and President's Counsel in Sri Lanka.


Barbados

With Barbados becoming a republic on 30 November 2021 and the President of Barbados replacing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, barristers will no longer be appointed as Queen's Counsel - but most likely will be appointed Senior Counsel.


Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, the rank of Queen's Counsel was granted when it was a crown colony and a British Overseas Territories, British dependent territory. A practising barrister could be appointed as Queen's Counsel in recognition of his or her professional eminence by Crown Patent on the advice of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Hong Kong. As Hong Kong was transferred from the United Kingdom in 1997, barristers are no longer appointed Queen's Counsel (QC), but
Senior Counsel #REDIRECT Senior counsel#REDIRECT Senior counsel The title of Senior Counsel or State Counsel ( post-nominal letters: SC) is given to a senior lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at lawAttorney ...
(SC). The change is in name only; the role is in all practical respects unchanged even down to the full bottomed wig, gloves, robe and shoes worn annually at the commencement of the Judicial Year. Those appointed before the change were renamed Senior Counsel.


Ireland

Until July 1924, the title of Queen's Counsel (or King's Counsel after 22 January 1901) was conferred. The title of
Senior Counsel #REDIRECT Senior counsel#REDIRECT Senior counsel The title of Senior Counsel or State Counsel ( post-nominal letters: SC) is given to a senior lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at lawAttorney ...
was introduced in the Irish Free State in July 1924.Vol.114 No.4 cols.493–5
24 February 1949
Patents were issued by the Chief Justice of Ireland, Chief Justice of the Irish Free State and since 1937, patents are issued by the Chief Justice of Ireland.


Malta

As a British Crown Colony of Malta, Crown Colony, Malta adopted the system which lasted only seven years, starting from 14 August 1832. In the period, the main courts were housed at the Castellania (Valletta), Castellania, and the wearing of silk gowns was required by those sitting on the bench (law), bench.


Nigeria

Nigeria replaced the QC nomenclature with the new title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) beginning in 1975. Appointments are restricted to fewer than 30 lawyers a year, made by the Chief Justice of Nigeria on the recommendation of the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee, which is made up of senior judges and lawyers. The qualification requirements are almost identical to those required for appointment as Queen's Counsel. The SANs are entitled to wear silk gowns and enjoy similar privileges as the Queen's Counsel.


Sri Lanka

President's Counsel (List of post-nominal letters#Sri Lanka, postnominal PC) is a professional rank, as their status is conferred by the president of Sri Lanka, president, recognised by the courts and wear silk gowns of a special design. It is the equivalent of the rank of Queen's Counsel in the United Kingdom, which was used in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) until 1972 when Sri Lanka became a republic, when the position became that of President's Counsel, Senior Attorney-at-Law. In 1984 the position became the President's Counsel. The holder can use the post-nominal letters ''PC'' after his or her name.


Zambia

In Zambia the designation was changed to State Counsel after independence from Britain since 1964. Legal practitioners who enjoy the rank and dignity of State Counsel may use "SC" after their names. The procedure for appointment is more or less based on the English system, but it has been alleged that this merit-based system has recently been influenced by political patronage and that the last three presidents have mainly appointed their supporters. In 2013 the Law Association of Zambia objected to the process used when President Michael Sata appointed Mumba Kapumpa, John Sangwa and Robert Simeza as SCs.


Queen's Counsel dress

The following relates to the dress of Queen's Counsel at the Bar of England and Wales. Most other jurisdictions adopt the same dress, but there are some local variations. Queen's Counsel in England and Wales have two forms of official dress, depending on whether they are dressing for appearance in court before a judge, or a ceremonial occasion.


Court dress

A male junior barrister wears a white shirt and white wing-collar with bands, underneath a double-breasted or three-piece lounge suit of dark colour. He has a black "stuff" gown over his suit, and wears a short wig of horsehair. A female junior barrister wears similar garb, except that the wing-collar with bands may be replaced with a court bib (or collarette). Upon promotion to Queen's Counsel, the male barrister retains in court his winged collar, bands and short wig. However, instead of an ordinary dark jacket, he wears a special black court coat (frock coat) and waistcoat in a style unique to Queen's Counsel or, alternatively, a long-sleeved waistcoat in similar style with no frock coat, known as a "bum freezer" because it is cut off at the waist. He also replaces the black stuff gown of a junior barrister with a black silk gown, although cheaper variants are also worn, including gowns of the same cut but all wool, or in a silk-wool mix, or in artificial silk. The all wool gown is, strictly speaking, a mourning gown, the Bar being still in mourning for Anne, Queen of Great Britain, Queen Anne who died on 1 August 1714, but that point is now of historical interest only. A female Queen's Counsel wears a gown and wig similar to that of her male counterparts.


Ceremonial dress

For ceremonial occasions, Queen's Counsel wear black breeches and black stockings instead of trousers, and patent leather court shoes with buckles. They wear the same black frock coat and waistcoat worn when appearing in court (never the "bum freezer", however) but add lace at the wrists and also a lace stock at the collar. Bands are no longer worn at the collar in addition to the lace, and the winged collar is also dispensed with. They have white cotton gloves, but these are invariably carried and not worn. This part of their ceremonial dress is taken from the standard ceremonial dress worn at the Royal Court (as opposed to the Courts of Justice) by other courtiers. In addition, however, Queen's Counsel wear distinctive full-bottomed wigs and their silk gowns. The silk gown is the same as that worn when appearing in court. It is this gown which gives rise to the colloquial reference to Queen's Counsel as ''silks'' and to the phrase ''taking silk'' referring to their appointment. When wearing the full bottomed wig, Queen's Counsel have a black rosette hanging from the back of the neck, which was originally intended to catch oil and powder that might otherwise mark the silk gown. Modern wigs, however, are made of horsehair and so there is no longer any oil or powder.


See also

*
Senior Counsel #REDIRECT Senior counsel#REDIRECT Senior counsel The title of Senior Counsel or State Counsel ( post-nominal letters: SC) is given to a senior lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at lawAttorney ...
, similar status used by some Australian jurisdictions and by some jurisdictions in which the British monarch is not head of state. * Serjeant-at-law, a now defunct rank of senior barrister. * Queen's Counsel Selection Panel, The Queen's Counsel Selection Panel for England and Wales. * Silk (TV series), ''Silk'' (TV series), a BBC 2011 legal drama showing the competitive pursuit of the silk. * ''Kavanagh QC'', a 1995-2001 ITV (TV network), ITV legal drama starring John Thaw.


References


External links


The Queen's Counsel of England and Wales 2010Paper on Queen's Counsel constitutional reforms
a paper written in 2001 for the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society reviewing the history of the QC and current practices throughout Canada and the Commonwealth.
Guardian 2004-04-10: QC system replaced by new scheme after 400 yearsWebsite for the English QC appointments procedureCanadian Forces Administrative Order 18-4 Recommendations for Canadian Orders, Decorations and Military Honours
{{Canadian Honours System Queen's Counsel, Bar of England and Wales British legal professionals, QC Common law Law of the United Kingdom Law enforcement in Wales