Judicial appointments and silk


A limited number of senior barristers are made Queen's Counsel as a mark of outstanding ability. Most senior judges once practised as QCs.

The process for the award of Queen's Counsel was agreed between the Bar Council and the Law Society and approved by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs (Lord Falconer) in 2004. The Selection Panel carried out an initial competition under the new arrangements in 2005-06 and now conducts competitions on an annual basis. For further information about application and selection for Queen's Counsel see the QC Appointments website, and here for FAQs for applicants.

Judicial Appointments

The Judicial Appointments Commission was launched in the spring 2006.

The Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice and the Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission are committed to ensuring a judiciary of the highest calibre, with candidates drawn from the full range of available talent.

The Bar Council is committed to working with the Judicial Appointments Commission to achieve its aims.  The Chairman of the Bar is a member of the Judicial Appointments Commission's High Level Policy group and the Bar Council is represented on the Diversity Forum by Kim Hollis QC  and Julian Picton QC.

All details of the Judicial Appointments Commission's selection exercises, consultations and other information such as the competency framework, eligibility criteria and good character guidance can be found on the Judicial Appointments Commission website (please click here).

Judicial careers 

Click here to download the Ministry of Justice booklet called 'Step Up to a Judicial Career'. 

Outreach Events

Information on outreach events can be found on the JAC website.  The Bar Council also holds events to encourage more women and ethnic minority barristers to apply to become Recorders.

JAC Newsletter

Judging Your Future is the JAC e-newspaper. It contains news about current and forthcoming selection exercises. It also includes information about the judicial appointments and latest developments.  You can download the newsletter by clickinghere.


The Directorate of the Judicial Office is responsible for the administration of the work-shadowing scheme. Please click  here for more information.

Circuit Diversity Mentors

At the request of the Chairman of the Bar each Circuit has appointed a Diversity Mentor as the first point of contact for barristers interested in applying for a judicial appointment or Silk. The role of the Diversity Mentor is to encourage suitably qualified members of Circuit to apply for a judicial appointment or Silk and to provide them with all the necessary information. The Diversity Mentors are South East Circuit: Kaly Kaur QC , Martin Forde QC, Midlands Circuit: Nirmal Shant QC, Satinder Hunjan QC, Western Circuit: Rachel Spearing, Wales and Chester Circuit: Ruth Henke QC, North Eastern Circuit: Bryan Cox QC and Northern Circuit: Nicholas Clarke QC. Please contact Sam Mercer, Head of Equality and Diversity or Angela Campbell, Equality and Diversity Officer at the Bar Council, for more information.