February 4

The tide has turned – QCs back

The tide has indeed turned. Creeping republicanism is being reversed across the nation, as it already had been in New Zealand. The infantile and vindictive suppression of the rank of Queen's Counsel is being reversed, not least because its perpetrators had not thought through the consequences, even on international trade. 

But it needs someone of strength to reverse a trend which the small band of inner city republican elites has long insisted is inevitable.

As we reported in December 2012, ''Republican lawyers tipped to lead the rush to Brisbane'', the young and energetic  Attorney General  of Queensland, the Hon. Jarrod Bleijie MP decided on the restoration of Queen's Counsel.

At the time we issued a word  of warning to senior lawyers in other states.  ''Do not stand between your republican colleagues  and getting to Brisbane airport,  otherwise you’ll be knocked over in the rush.''

Now the Victorian  Attorney-General Robert Clark has acted to re-introduce the rank in Victoria. ACM warmly congratulates him on this action

It was only a matter of time before other states would follow Queensland. Earlier in 2013, the Hon. Neil Brown QC wrote of a similar move in Victoria.

Now is the Victorian  Attorney-General Robert Clark today announced that Victorian Senior Counsel will in future have the option to be appointed as Queen’s Counsel upon application. 

This followed a request to the Victorian Government from the Victorian Bar Council to give senior barristers the choice of being known as Senior Counsel (SCs) or Queen’s Counsel (QCs). 

The Attorney-General said that giving barristers a choice between the titles would allow those barristers who so wished to be able to benefit from the awareness of the seniority and standing that comes with the long-standing title of QC. 


“Allowing senior Victorian barristers the option to be appointed as QCs will help Victorian barristers to ensure full recognition of their experience, skills and expertise both within the Asia-Pacific region and within Australia,” Mr Clark said. 

“At present, barristers from the UK or other jurisdictions who have the title QC are often regarded by non-lawyer clients as being more senior than Victorian SCs, and many senior Victorian barristers consider this has placed them at a competitive disadvantage. 


“SCs are also often mistaken for “Special Counsel”, a title that many large law firms use to designate senior solicitors.” 

He said that the reforms will not change the current arrangements under which barristers are appointed as Senior Counsel by the Chief Justice with the support of an advisory committee. 

However, existing and future SCs who wish to be appointed as Queen’s Counsel will be recommended to the Governor for appointment upon application.  

Those existing and future SCs who wish to continue to be known as SCs will be able to do so. 

“This reform will ensure that senior Victorian barristers have an option that can help them ensure they are recognised for the experience and expertise that they undoubtedly have,” Mr Clark said. 

“The reform will further strengthen the opportunities for the Victorian legal profession to provide their services not only in other Australian jurisdictions, but throughout the Asia-Pacific region.” 




And what is the betting that the most Senior Counsel will become Queen's Counsel?

 We are seeing the end of an infantile period when governments decided they would change the constitutional system before the people had even agreed and indeed after the people had rejected the proposed change, the best that the majority republicans could design.


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