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Queen's Counsel - some statistics

24 July 2015

The appointment of three new Queen's Counsel on 24 July 2015 means a total of 282 members of the legal profession have been appointed as such since the first appointments were made on 7 June 1907.

Of the 282 appointees, 255 have been male (90.4%) and 27 have been female (9.6%). Since the first women were appointed Queen's Counsel - Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias and Justice Lowell Goddard on 4 March 1988 -  169 QCs have been appointed, meaning women have comprised 16% of appointments since then.

The long reign of Queen Elizabeth II is reflected in the fact that since 1907, 43 people (all male) have been appointed as "King's Counsel", while 239 have been appointed "Queen's Counsel".

Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson QC says the 2015 appointments marks a return to more typical appointment numbers after two years of increased numbers. Over the years, appointment of half a dozen or seven QCs at one time appears to have been the most common - with seven on 5 occasions (1988, 1995, 1997, 2000, and 2008) and six on 6 occasions (1973, 1981, 1987, 1991, 1994, and 1999).

The first appointment round, on 7 June 1907, saw 10 appointees (as King's Counsel). This was the most at any one time until 14 May 2007 when 12 were appointed. The most appointments at one time was on 16 May 2013 when 26 were appointed.

Highest number of people appointed Queen's Counsel at any one time

DateAppointees
16-May-201326
4-Jun-201414
14-May-200712
7-Jun-190710
27-May-19969
26-May-19989
20-May-20029


Since the round of appointments in 1984, the average time in practice before appointment to Queen's Counsel has been 26.6 years. The average time for appointment for men has been 27.0 years, while for women it has been 24.3 years. 

Auckland and Wellington dominate the location where appointees are practising.

Location on appointment

LocationAppointees
Auckland116
Wellington98
Christchurch28
Dunedin12
Hamilton9
Palmerston North5
Melbourne4
New Plymouth3
Napier2
Wanganui2
Rotorua1
Sydney1
Tauranga1
TOTAL282

Last updated on the 17th February 2016