This is the second set of profiles we have prepared of a selection of newly appointed QCs, following the initial set published in 2015.
The original purpose was to demonstrate that, whatever may have been the position in the past, appointment as QC is no longer effectively confined to white, male, barristers, educated at public school and at Oxbridge. It is of course still important to get across the message that, so far as it rests within the power of the QC Selection Panel, appointment as QC is now equally available to all higher courts’ advocates, regardless of race, gender, educational background or other extraneous personal characteristic. The sole test is excellence in all the competencies which go up to make excellence as an advocate, not personal background.
However, we have also found that interviewing newly appointed QCs and preparing these profiles provides us with a rich source of feedback on the appointment process. It is plain that, despite all our efforts, a number of those from less traditional backgrounds feel that aspects of the appointment process, as well as practice as an advocate more generally, can disadvantage those from non-traditional backgrounds. Since that feedback comes from applicants who have themselves succeeded in the competition perhaps makes it even more powerful. My colleagues and I on the Selection Panel are determined to do all we can to address those issues ourselves, and to alert the professional bodies to issues which arise from practice as an advocate more generally.
The pen pictures which follow are all of applicants appointed in 2016. We are very grateful to them for agreeing to participate, and for giving up their time to be interviewed. We hope that their stories will be of interest to prospective applicants in 2017 and beyond.
Helen Pitcher OBE
Chairman, QC Selection Panel