‘Queen’s Counsel’ no extra, ‘King’s Counsel’ return to UK courts after 70 years By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A barrister is seen throughout a strike by felony barristers outdoors Manchester Crown Court docket in Manchester, Britain, June 27, 2022. REUTERS/Phil Noble/


(This Sept. 14 story refiles to right variety of barristers to 16,500 in paragraph 3)

By Karen Sloan

(Reuters) – (This September 14 story refiles to right variety of barristers to 16,500 in paragraph 3)

The previous Prince Charles is just not the one one getting used to having “King” in his title rapidly.

About 1,900 elite UK attorneys and tons of of others in Commonwealth international locations who held the rank of “Queen’s Counsel” grew to become “King’s Counsel” when Queen Elizabeth died final week, immediately assuming a title that had gathered mud for the reason that queen took the throne in 1952.

They have to now use the shorthand KC quite than QC on letterhead and different supplies, in line with The Bar Council, which represents greater than 16,500 barristers in England and Wales. Barristers are UK litigators who argue in courtroom, whereas solicitors are basic practitioners who sometimes don’t.

“The change of our names will likely be a relentless reminder that the Queen has gone,” stated London-based King’s Counsel Lord Peter Goldsmith, a companion at regulation agency Debevoise & Plimpton and who was the UK’s lawyer basic from 2001 to 2007.

There are additionally sensible ramifications. Attorneys took to social media quickly after the queen’s demise describing a scramble to replace profiles on regulation agency web sites and discussing the price of new stationery — alongside many references to the disco and funk music group KC and the Sunshine Band.

“It’ll actually take a while to get used to ‘KC’,” stated Jeffrey Sullivan, a London-based companion at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and King’s Counsel. “I think about there will likely be a number of slip ups over the following few months as attorneys, judges and purchasers alter to the brand new title.”

The rank is little recognized in america however a well-known characteristic of the authorized hierarchy in Commonwealth international locations from Australia and New Zealand to Jamaica and elements of Canada. It’s reserved for senior and extremely revered attorneys and has traditionally been bestowed upon barristers, although the method opened as much as British solicitors in 1996.

Those that maintain the title in Britain are informally referred to as “silks” — a reference to the particular silk robes they put on in courtroom together with the standard wigs sported by many barristers. They’re appointed by the Crown following a years-long utility course of.

King’s Counsel get pleasure from a number of casual privileges, together with front-row seats in courtroom. Additionally they are inclined to cost extra for his or her providers.

A variety of British tv exhibits have been primarily based on the exploits of Queen’s Counsel, together with the 1990’s authorized drama Kavanagh QC, and 2011’s Silk, which follows a barrister on her quest to win the rank. Extra lately, Michelle Dockery performed a Queen’s Counsel prosecuting a politician accused of rape within the Netflix (NASDAQ:) 2022 miniseries Anatomy of a Scandal.

The system dates to 1597, when Queen Elizabeth I named Sir Francis Bacon as the primary Queen’s Counsel. However it was almost abolished 20 years in the past amid criticism that it was too secretive, that it was dominated by white males, and that it was inappropriate for the Crown to bestow a title on attorneys that will give them an edge over their friends.

Officers finally retained the system however modified the choice course of to permit for extra intensive assessment of candidates.

The changeover to King’s Counsel might deliver with it contemporary requires reform. However for now, members of the membership like Paul Mitchard, a retired companion at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Hong Kong, are settling in to their new title.

“KC has a type of historical ring to it,” Mitchard stated.

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