Congratulations to all 88 barristers who have been made Queen's Counsel in this year's appointment process. The cherry on the icing of a long hard career at the glamorous end of legal practice.
Particularly worthy of praise amongst the new intake is David Wolfe
of high-profile Matrix Chambers. He's been in the news recently having acted for the excellent-named Clive Bone in the Bideford Council
complete waste of money
pre-meeting prayer case, and is to be congratulated. Well done, David.
But there's an interesting footnote to his appointment to the superhuman rank of QC. Matrix is a trendy sort of set, not the sort of place where you might imagine barristers are overly worried about joining the Sumptions and Grabiners, Robertsons and Kavanaghs on a position as arcane and fusty as QC. And anyway, isn't the whole system a bit elitist and boring anyway? Isn't it just an opportunity to add another zero to your brief fee?
David Wolfe QC looking pretty furious about having applied for and having been appointed Queen's Counsel
David Wolfe certainly thinks taking silk isn't all that. Or at least he used to. Thanks to the eagle-eyed Roffer who brought our attention to the open letter Wolfe and ten of his fellow Matrix barristers wrote to the Lord Chancellor's Department way back in 2003, calling for, errr, the abolition of the QC system
. In the letter Wolfe (plus nine silks and his fellow "junior" Murray Hunt) bravely took a stand against silk, stating that they would not apply for the position and claiming "The QC system cannot be justified as being in the public interest or promoting competition.
RoF Team got in touch with the Wolfe-man to remind him of his youthful indiscretion. He said "Thanks for the opportunity to restate my personal views on the QC system. I applied this time when it was clear that lack of ‘QC’ meant I was losing work and could not service my clients fully. But I will not be putting my fees up as a result of it, and I continue vigorously to push for effective quality assurance systems for all advocates, which the QC system is not. Lack of mandatory periodic re-accreditation, and the lack of any real linkage to area of practice remain just two of the fundamental problems. So no ‘youthful indiscretion’ here - sorry to disappoint.
That all sounds fair enough. But there was a sting in the tail, too, as he continued: "Separately, perhaps we can discuss the Bideford case (which you appear to have misunderstood) on another occasion?