The number of new Queen’s Counsel appointed has dipped to a three-year low with 108 lawyers appointed this year, down from 119 last year.
Lawyers are required to go through a rigorous application process to become a QC, known as taking silk, with the successful candidates appointed by the Queen on the advice of Lord Chancellor David Gauke.
Four solicitor-advocates made the grade this year, including co-chair of Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy’s international arbitration group Mark Levy and international arbitration partners Aloke Ray and Dipen Sabharwal from US law firm White & Case’s City office.
Speaking to City A.M. Sabharwal said: “Advocacy is at the heart of everything we do as international arbitration lawyers in the London market and in the English law world this is the ultimate accolade for advocates.”
Thirty women were appointed out of the 55 who applied, while 13 of the successful applicants declared an ethnic origin other than white.
Sir Alex Allan, chair of the selection panel, said: “The selection process is a rigorous and demanding one. We collect confidential assessments from judges, fellow advocates and professional clients.”
Adding: “Each year, the panel has the difficult task of identifying the truly excellent advocates. I am confident that those appointed today truly deserve to be Queen’s Counsel.”
Barristers appointed include corporate crime specialists Nicholas Corsellis of QEB Hollis Whiteman, Narita Bahra of 2 Hare Court and Nicola Howard of 25 Bedford Row and commercial litigators Anna Boase of One Essex Court, Tom Hickman of Blackstone Chambers and Fionn Pilbrow of Brick Court Chambers.
Gauke congratulated the 108 new silks and said: "The award of the title of Queen’s Counsel is a recognition of depth of expertise and eminence in their fields. It is this expertise that gives the English legal system its world-leading reputation."
The new QCs will receive their titles officially at a ceremony at Westminster Hall on 11 March presided over by the Lord Chancellor.