Queen's Counsel

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Queen's Counsel (postnominal QC), known as King's Counsel (postnominal KC) during the reign of a male sovereign, are lawyers appointed by letters patent to be one of "Her [or His] Majesty's Counsel learned in the law". Membership exists in various Commonwealth countries around the world and it is a status, conferred by the Crown, that is recognised by courts. Members have the privilege of sitting within the Bar of court.

As members wear silk gowns of a particular design (see court dress), the award of Queen's or King's Counsel is known informally as "taking silk". In order to qualify, a lawyer usually has to serve as a barrister or solicitor (or, in Scotland, as an advocate) for at least ten years.

Contents

History

England and Wales

Historical background

The Attorney-General, Solicitor-General, and King's Serjeants were King's Counsel in Ordinary in the Kingdom of England. The first Queen's Counsel "Extraordinary" was Sir Francis Bacon, who was given a patent giving him precedence at the Bar in 1597, and formally styled King's Counsel in 1603.[1][2]

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