As we have seen, barristers deal with litigation and speak for clients as their advocate in court, as well as offering expert opinion on points of law when giving “Counsel’s Opinion”.
However, many members of the public confuse the generic term for “barrister” with that of the most senior title in the profession. The highest rank to which a barrister can aspire is to be appointed “Queen’s Counsel” (or QC for short).
QCs are a very select group of the most experienced and able barristers in their field. One cannot simply apply to become a QC because the title is, literally, “by appointment” only!
Every year the Lord Chancellor advises HRH The Queen which small number of barristers have shown the requisite ability to have earned the right to be appointed. The process is called “taking silk” (after the silk gowns worn by QCs in court), and for this reason QCs are sometimes also referred to as “Silks”.
In Chinese a QC is known as 御用大律師 which translates literally as “Barrister at Her Majesty’s Service”.
In most cases when you hear somebody referring to “their QC” they will actually have hired a barrister and have made the very common mistake of confusing the terms, because QCs make up less than 10% of practising barristers (and because they often charge eye-watering fees based on their expertise)!
However, if you think you need the foremost legal minds to solve your problem you can actually appoint a QC direct these days!
BarristerDirect fills in the gaps for you, so you don't have to worry about it. Simply give us information about your situation, and what you need help with, and BarristerDirect will [...]
Most people have dealt with a lawyer at some point in their lives. You will probably agree that clear, prompt communication is often quite difficult. BarristerDirect changes all of that. We are a responsive team you can talk to. [...]
We understand the difficulties you are faced with when staring at a legal problem that needs to be sorted out. We have the right mix of resources to guide you to a conclusion, without over-complicating the process for you, and minimising the costs wherever possible. [...]
You may be daunted by the prospect of walking into a law firm because of the corporate and contentious atmosphere. With BarristerDirect, you will feel welcome, and taken care of, because we are a team of people who care about your problems. [...]