Silk 2018

Summary of the silk process this year, that remains primarily to identify excellence in advocacy:

  • The deadline is 5pm on Wed 28th March 2018
  • You can now use cases going back 3 yearswithout needing to justify why – they would prefer 2 years as memories fade beyond 2 years, but you can use 3 year cases if necessary.  They suggest you avoid using cases beyond 3 years, but you can if you justify it
  • You need 12 cases, if possible, of your most important cases in last 2/3 years.  Worth checking in advance with QCA if aiming to use fewer than 12 cases, to pass your reasons why past them first, but there seems to be more flexibility if you have a strong reason and don’t have cases that go back beyond 3 years either. Toning down of language and measures for substantive nature of cases
  • Assessors:Name at least 8, and up to 12, judges – Name 6 practitioners – Name at least 4, and up to 6, clients – so aim for 8-6-4, no advantage having more Js or Cs
  • Need good reason if don’t have the number of assessors (8/6/4) and indeed the form includes a tick box to show you know that your application will be materially affected if you have significantly fewer than 8/6/4 assessors
  • They specifically mention opponents as useful practitioner assessors this year – especially if they are QCs
  • Avoid having majority of practitioner assessors from your own chambers/firm
  • The Narrative Description of practice has 4,000 characters to describe your practice and justify your 12 cases
  • There remains a limit of 2,750 charactersper competency in the self-assessment – this is about 400-450 words MAX
  • Of particular importance in oral advocacy is XX and X-in-C, if your practice encompasses this
  • In the assessor section, section H, there are 1,000 characters to describe your cases, and 3 boxes for cases they have seen you in
  • If you see a case at first instance and on appeal, only list the case once – but OK if case covers substantially different issues
  • If you are using a case that is on-going, it needs to have had a sufficiently substantive hearing or development to be included – and don’t have too many on-going cases
  • You can send skeletons to assessors in advance when you ask them if they are prepared to be an assessor and we would encourage you to do so
  • Diversity section can explicitly use sitting/arbitrator examples now as it can relate to your wider professional life
  • Integrity – there is normally no need to complete this section
  • There is wider clarification of the relevant jurisdictionsin Part One of the Guidance – make sure you ring the QCA if you have Qs about jurisdictions such as NI, IoM, international arbitrations etc
  • Interviewswill be held in London and Manchester mid September to early October – results will be announced in December 2018
  • Test saving and using the 69 page pdf version of the application form before you start adding major text so you know that it works – you will need Adobe Reader DC, XI or X to complete it – if you cannot get it to work, contact QCA asap so that your problem can be resolved sooner rather than later
  • Fees are the same as last year – £1,800+VAT to apply (those who earn <£60K are entitled to a concessionary applic rate of £900+VAT) – then there is the £3,000+VAT appointment fee if you are successful
  • Sir Alex Allan now chairs the panel and Rachel Langdale QC, Penny Reed QC and Monisha Shah have joined the panel – there is a judicial panel vacancy

We would also recommend that you read the reports from the last competition including the detailed review of the competencies via this link.

Get in touch asap if you want to get a first draft date in the diary, as slots fill up very quickly.

And good luck everyone.


Silk 2018

The Silk 2018 competition has just launched – deadline is 28 March.  We will update changes to the process this year once we have had a chance to read through the Guidelines etc.

If you have arranged contact with Kate, Gwyn, Ann or Simon, then you might want to start planning first draft meetings in their diaries, to set effective deadlines for 28 March submission.

Here we go …………… and Happy Valentine’s Day ………..

Silk 2017 results

Congratulations to all those who got silk in the 2017 competition.

We are delighted to have worked with 45/119 of the new silks in some shape or form (feedback on previous applications, big picture review, application form, interview or all of the above! ).  Our success rate was 54% compared with 44% for the whole competition.  So we worked with  38% of all the successful silks this year and 11/17 of the women we worked with got silk, with a 65% success rate.  We are very proud of these statistics.

The 2018 competition will launch mid-February (probably 14 Feb at a guess) and the deadline is 28 March, so start planning your application early as there is only likely to be a 5/6 week deadline period to get your application sorted out.  ………. and let us know if we can help or run a Silk Taster session in your chambers.

Judicial appointments due to launch soon ….

What’s coming up in the next few months?

  • DHCJ s9(4) – launches 18 Jan – deadline 1 Feb.  Annual competition.  20 vacancies.  No previous judicial experience required
  • Fee paid FTT – launches 31 Jan – deadline 14 Feb – 250 vacancies.  Competition runs every 18 months
  • Court of Appeal – launches 1 Feb – deadline 15 Feb – 7 vacancies from this summer.  Annual competition
  • Deputy DJ – launches 1 Mar – deadline 15 Mar – 300 vacancies – competition only runs every 2 years
  • Circuit – launches 15 March – deadline 5 Apr – annual competition

Lots to interest everyone there.  Get in touch if you’d like more information about how we can help.

And happy new year ………..

Judicial programme for appointments

Latest update from JAC website about future appointments:

The MoJ commissions the JAC to run a selection exercise in a vacancy request setting out the number of posts, the jurisdiction and or the circuit or region. Each year the JAC jointly agrees with the MoJ, HMCTS and Judicial Office which selection exercises are to be commissioned for the following financial year.

The Forward Programme for 2017 to 2022 indicates likely future needs for recruitment. Some exercises may be generic to a particular level, such as First-tier Tribunal or Circuit Judge, rather than specific to a jurisdiction or location. Specific details of ad hoc requests for a selection exercise, for example from other government departments, will be published as soon as possible before the exercises are launched.

Anticipated frequency


  • Senior appointments: Court of Appeal Justice, High Court Judge
  • Courts: Circuit Judge, District Judge, Authorisation to sit as Deputy High Court Judge section 9(4), Authorisation to act as Deputy High Court Judge section 9(1), Recorder, Deputy District Judge

Every 18 months

  • Tribunals: Salaried Judge of the Upper Tribunal, Deputy Judge of the Upper Tribunal, Salaried Judge of the First-tier Tribunal, Fee-paid Judge of the First-tier Tribunal

Every 2 years

  • Courts: District Judge (magistrates’ courts), Deputy District Judge (magistrates’ courts)

Silk results

Silk results will be received by applicants TODAY (14 Dec) by email after 4pm.  Public announcement will then follow in next few days.

Good luck one and all.

Silk results ……..

Update from the QCA:

“We hope that the announcement of the outcome of the competition will be made before Christmas, but as of today (7 December) we still do not know whether that will be possible, let alone exactly when any announcement could be made.  We will update the website as soon as we have any more information.  We have been informed that the Ceremony is likely to be held on Monday 26 February 2018, at Westminster Hall.”

Fingers crossed we know soon …………..