The NSW Bar Association plans to approach the state government to reinstate the title of Queen’s Counsel, following a decision at its Council’s meeting last night.
A working party has been formed to establish a protocol that will give Senior Counsel in the state the choice to become a QC or an SC, awaiting the support of the NSW Government. The party will be working to ensure that the choice between the two titles brings no compromise of the independence of the NSW Bar.
To ensure the integrity of the appointment process, the appointment of QCs will be restricted to only those who have been appointed as SCs in NSW under the Bar Association’s Silk Selection Protocol.
The New South Wales Bar Association had previously resisted proposals to reinstate QCs.
Australian states began to use the term Senior Counsel in the early 1990s, and most jurisdictions had abandoned the rank of Queen’s Counsel by the early 2000s.
In recent years, the moniker has regained some of its lost popularity. The Queensland government restored the rank in 2013, followed by Victoria, which gave senior barristers the option to choose the SC or QC designation in 2014.
With a number of jurisdictions retaining the Queen’s Counsel title for senior barristers, proponents of the proponents of the QC badge have argued that the SC title places Australian legal talent at a disadvantage internationally.