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TERM: 2 year term (with the possibility of renewal after that date)

The Bar Council is looking to nominate a senior barrister member for the Queen's Counsel Appointments Complaints Committee.

About the Queen's Counsel Appointments Scheme

The annual Process for the selection and appointment of Queen's Counsel in England and Wales was developed by the Bar Council and the Law Society, with support from the (then) Department for Constitutional Affairs (now Ministry of Justice).

The award of Queen's Counsel is made for excellence in advocacy in the higher courts of England and Wales. Applicants are judged against a competency framework.  All decisions about applicants are made by a Selection Panel, which is supported by its own small Secretariat. The scheme is self-funding through applicant fees.

About the role

The Complaints Committee is independent of the Queen's Counsel appointments process and is charged with considering and determining complaints raised by applicants in respect of the treatment of their application within that process. The Complaints Committee comprises a senior judge Chair nominated by the Lord Chief Justice, a senior member of the Bar nominated by the Chair of the Bar, a senior solicitor nominated by the President of the Law Society and an independent lay member.

The jurisdiction and procedure of the Complaints Committee is set out in the agreed process for appointments and in the Complaints Committee's procedure. Within its jurisdiction, the Committee considers and determines complaints, and decides the remedial steps to be taken; determines the documents required, which will enable a decision to be taken; makes a collective decision based on the evidence; agrees written reasons for the decision; and prepares a report on the complaints considered and determined; and where appropriate suggest improvements to the selection process.

In recent years, complaints have been comparatively rare. There were three in 2013, but since then there have been a total of two. In terms of time commitment, each complaint and the associated documentation must be considered individually and discussed at the meetings of the Complaints Committee. The time commitment is normally anticipated to be in the region of one or two days per complaint.

The Complaints Committee generally meets in Central London, but preparation and follow up work is done at the committee member's convenience.

Complaints Committee members are remunerated at a daily rate. Reading time for meetings, time taken to write up notes from meetings, and travelling time is included in this rate and is not remunerated separately. The rate is currently £744 per day.  Members are reimbursed reasonable travel and other expenses.

If you require further information about the role of Complaints Committee members, please contact the Committee Secretary, Ross Hutchison, by telephone on 020 8049 4049, or by email at ross.hutchison@lawsociety.org.uk.

Knowledge and experience

The QCA Complaints Committee must command public confidence.  Legal members must be senior practitioners in their branch of the profession, able to command the confidence of prospective complainants and of the Selection Panel.

All Complaints Committee members must be able to demonstrate:

  • The ability to analyse complex material amassed from a number of sources and to reach an incisive judgment based entirely on the evidence in that material;

  • The ability to record the reasons for conclusions;

  • The ability to work as part of a senior team or committee and to form good working relationships with colleagues;

  • The ability to make a collective decision and abide by that decision;

  • The ability to maintain the confidentiality of applicants, assessors and more generally the internal workings of the Complaints Committee and where appropriate, the QC Selection Panel;

  • A high-level of respect and integrity;

  • A commitment to equality of opportunity and diversity.

How to apply

Applicants should send a copy of their CV accompanied by a short, written statement stating their suitability for the role and describing their skills and experience, to:

Natalie Zara, Head of Governance, nzara@barcouncil@org.uk.

The closing date for applications is 10am on Thursday 25 April 2019.