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Applications for Senior Counsel

Briefs

Cite as: (2003) 77(7) LIJ, p.15

The process of appointing barristers and solicitors as Senior Counsel begins in August when the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court makes a general call for applications.

Practitioners can apply to be considered for silk by submitting information on their legal career to the Chief Justice.

The application should be split into four sections.

The first section asks for formal particulars, such as legal education and academic record, name of firm with which articles were served, date of admission in each jurisdiction in which the applicant is admitted to practice and name of counsel in whose chambers the applicant was a pupil.

The second section calls for practice particulars, including experience in practice since admission and type of matters in which the applicant usually practises.

The application then calls for two judges of state or federal superior courts to act as referees. If a practitioner practises mainly in tribunals they may choose the president of the tribunal to act as a referee.

The final section of the application asks for any other relevant information, such as letters of recommendation from a judicial officer other than those listed as referees.

To be eligible for consideration, applications must reach the Chief Justice’s chambers by 5pm on the final working day of August.

From the initial list of applicants, which usually numbers between 80 and 110, the Chief Justice compiles a list of at least 12 people. When compiling the list, the Chief Justice takes into account the needs of the profession and the courts, such as whether there are enough silks practising in a particular area of law.

This list is sent to the state Attorney-General as the Chief Justice’s recommendations for appointment to Senior Counsel. The Attorney-General arranges for the list to be approved by the Executive Council. The successful applicants are announced in November.

For a more detailed account of the appointment process, go to the Victorian Bar website at http://www.vicbar.com.au, click on the “search the site” window and scroll down to “Silk, taking”.

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