It is the practice that after each Silk selection round the Bar Council considers whether any improvements might be made to the Protocol and administrative process.
This yearâs review has been particularly comprehensive. The Bar Council has met on four occasions to consider the possible changes to the Senior Counsel Protocol and related documents, including two stand-alone meetings devoted solely to the issue.
As a result of Bar Councilâs deliberations, the following significant changes to the process are proposed for 2013:
That the Senior Counsel Selection Committee be expanded to include one non-lawyer community representative in addition to the current Committee composition of the President, Senior Vice-President, four other senior counsel and one person who is not a practising barrister; and
Applicants may provide a maximum of three references, in respect of which two can be written references. The references should not be from judicial officers. These persons may be contacted by the Selection Committee if the committee thinks it necessary to do so.
In addition, the Bar Council resolved to ensure that the views of all those consulted in the course of the process, including judicial officers, continue to be kept confidential.
As always, the Bar Council is concerned to ensure that the process is as open and transparent as possible, recognising the need for confidentiality to ensure the continued integrity of the system.
The Bar Council is seeking the views of members as to the efficacy of the current system and how it can be improved. To that end, members are invited to provide comments on the current protocol and process, and on the proposed changes, by Tuesday, 2 April to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bar Council would welcome comments from those who support the current arrangements, as well as those who would like to see a change.
The current Senior Counsel Selection Protocol can be accessed here and the Guide to Practical Aspects For The Appointment of Silk in NSW â 2012 can be accessed here.
Phillip Boulten SC