An unfair advantage...or a kitemark of quality?
The Government's announcement that it is to review the system by which the rank of Queen's Counsel is awarded has opened up a new round of arguments in a longstanding debate. Stephen Irwin QC argues that the rank of Queen's Counsel provides a kitemark of quality in the public interest and pushes up standards of advocacy in the common law system. Not so, argues Graham Platford: silk is a mark of approval by the establishment rather than quality
Appointment to silk has long been recognised as a lottery. The winners support it; hopefuls avoid dissent for fear of extending the odds against them; and losers despair. It puts the advocate’s interests before the client’s, distorts the market and has a tendency to produce judges from the same mould.
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