Diversify QCs, says CILEx

CILEx calls for QC title to include distinguished non-advocates

31 March 2015

Courts of JusticeAll lawyers, not only those who appear in court, should be eligible for the title of ‘Queen’s Counsel’. Such a move could lead to improved diversity, said the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) today.

The professional association for vocationally trained lawyers said the title should indicate excellence and expertise for the whole legal profession, and not be reserved for just advocates. Widening the selection pool would also create a more diverse crop of candidates.

The recommendations were made in a response to the consultation on the eligibility for appointment as Queen’s Counsel (QC). In the response, CILEx says: “There is still too much emphasis on advocacy. In some areas of law advocacy is rare. It is the capacity to be an excellent lawyer and not only a good advocate that is essential for the role.”

CILEx chief executive Mandie Lavin said: “QCs are amongst the highest profile figures of the legal profession, though they are not always reflective of our diversity and make-up. Broadening the pool of candidates, whilst continuing to appoint on merit, will give the QC title greater validity and respect.”

The CILEx response also;

  • highlights the high cost of nearly £6,000 to become a QC, and calls for a review of the fees to prevent them becoming prohibitive, and
  • recommends QC re-accreditation to maintain public confidence.

Click here to read the full response.