John Bowie Barristers-in-law will be burnishing their career and case briefs and airbrushing their bio pics as the Attorney General David Parker has announced there will be another “round” of QC appointments made this October. For some reason, the appointments are regarded somewhat akin to another round at the Local.
The ‘appointment’ process however, garnished with appropriate high level support from the Chief Justice, Governor- General (a former health administrator and academic) and Attorney General is sent off with $500 application fees and an online application, considerably less onerous than completing a New Zealand Traveller Declaration with Covid details.
The only difference is you can reapply if you don’t board the QC plane on this round.
And one always wonders why applications are needed to determine who is making an “extraordinary contribution” to the law. Surely such candidates protrude like dog’s bollocks.
However, this year, in line with political dictum, the emphasis has a key difference – the Governor-General (being a non-lawyer, of course) reserves the right to appoint Counsel in fields other than advocacy, which some might have considered had long been a rather important consideration. The focus this year will be on those who have made “extraordinary contribution” to access to justice issues.
Next year, maybe, it will be those who have made “exceptional contribution” to fighting homelessness or facilitating gang member societal reintegration. Anything but advocacy.
In the words of famed British QC, Rowley Birkin (FYI is played by a man Johnny Depp the well known litigator regards as one of the world’s greatest actors, Paul Whitehouse) some of these applications with their spurious sub-text, political overtones might be be done “whilst “very, very drunk at the time”.
The press release follows –
Attorney-General David Parker announced today that an appointment round for Queen’s Counsel will take place in 2022.
Appointments of Queen’s Counsel are made by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Attorney-General and with the concurrence of the Chief Justice. The Governor-General retains the discretion to appoint Queen’s Counsel in recognition of their extraordinary contributions to the law in fields other than advocacy.
The Chief Justice and the Attorney-General have issued Guidelines for Candidates. The Guidelines were updated in 2019 following a consultation process and now include a new criterion of a commitment to improving access to justice.
“In recommending barristers to take silk I want to have a good understanding of each applicant’s personal contribution to advancing better access to justice for those who need it. It will be an important factor in my decisions,” Attorney-General David Parker said.
The Guidelines (and an application form) are available at www.crownlaw.govt.nz and set out the criteria for appointment and other information about the appointment process.
Applications for appointment as Queen’s Counsel open on 20 June 2022.
The Solicitor-General will consult with the New Zealand Law Society and the New Zealand Bar Association regarding the candidates.
It is expected appointments will be made in October 2022.