A new proposal to allow all lawyers to apply for Queen’s Counsel status has been seized upon by costs lawyers (aka law costs draftsman), a branch of the profession which settles costs in court cases.
Responding to a consultation by QC Appointments (QCA), the Association of Costs Lawyers (ACL) argues that the best costs law experts deserve to be placed on an equal footing with leading barristers.
“Recognition of those at the pinnacle of their branch of the profession should apply equally to Costs Lawyers, who often will be recognised as the expert in respect of costs in their particular area or more widely,” said the ACL in a statement.
The body reckons that the restriction of the QC title to barristers and solicitors is “unjustifiable” and calls on the rank to be opened up “to recognise the potential for excellence in this branch of the profession”.
ACL chairman Sue Nash added:
“Expert Costs Lawyers play a crucial role in keeping the courts and wider litigation system working, and we see no reason why this should not be recognised in the same way as the contribution of others.”
The call for parity with the bar and solicitor-advocates — who have been eligible for silk since 1994 — follows a demand made last month by the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) that the QC rank should be widened to include all lawyers, not just advocates.
This caused some controversy — just have a look at the comments on our piece reporting this development.
But the furore over costs lawyers’ bid to claim silk eligibility could be even greater, with opponents of the proposal bound to note that costs lawyers are not required to undertake conventional legal training and until 2011 went under the name “costs draftsman”.
Call for QC rank to be widened to all lawyers, not just advocates [Legal Cheek]