New Zealand Law Society - Experienced women barristers urged to consider applying for QC rank

Experienced women barristers urged to consider applying for QC rank

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The New Zealand Law Society is encouraging suitably experienced women barristers to apply for appointment as Queen’s Counsel.

Applications for appointment as a QC opened on 27 February 2017 and must be sent to the Solicitor-General no later than 27 March 2017.

The QC Guidelines state that the rank of QC is “awarded to barristers sole who have demonstrated excellence in their careers." It is not simply about years spent in practice.  Application forms and candidate guidelines are available on the Crown Law Office website.

New Zealand Law Society President Kathryn Beck says women make up 18% of Queen’s Counsel, although 38% of all barristers are now women.

“We know that fewer women than men apply for appointment as Queen’s Counsel. Last year just 23% of the applicants were women, and that proportion has been relatively constant over the last three years,” she says.

“There are many outstanding women lawyers who are leaders of the profession but who have not taken the traditional career route to that rank. There are a number of reasons. Candidates can no longer be drawn from law firms. The actual application process can be daunting. Women often miss out on opportunities to gain experience in litigation. Moves towards equitable briefing policies are something we need to promote.

“I would encourage all women who are experienced barristers who meet the excellence criteria to actively consider applying to become a Queen’s Counsel. I would also like to see others encourage them to take that step. The theme of International Women's Day on 8 March was 'be bold for change'. I hope we will see that manifested in applications this year. There are still just under three weeks to go until the chance will be gone for another year.”


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