Silk Process 2013

Summary of the limited number of changes to the process this year and reinforcing some more recent developments for clarity:

  • The application form is still 64 pages long so leave yourself plenty of time to complete it
  • Applications can now be emailed as well as submitted in hard copy to meet the deadline of 5pm on 17th April
  • The list of 12 cases remains part of the Summary Description of Practice although it is now positioned before the narrative description of practice – cases still need to represent a fair reflection of your practice
  • Each competency needs to be demonstrated to a standard of excellence from your professional life.  Strong and consistent evidence of the degree of challenge you faced.  Together, all the evidence should give an authentic picture of you personally
  • The panel recognise that not all applicants will have the opportunity to undertake significant oral advocacy in court, so there is still reference to “some” evidence being needed in oral advocacy (depending on the nature of your practice) but that it should be to a standard of excellence
  • Written and oral advocacy are considered together as advocacy with no requirement for amount – just sufficient to demonstrate excellence
  • New Zealand has been added as a court you can use – Channel Islands and Isle of Man have disappeared (31.3) but can be used
  • Older cases (those over 2 years) remain unlikely to be helpful – you should predominantly use your 12 important cases, but can go back beyond two years if you give reasons and you are sure relevant assessors will remember your involvement in the case in sufficient detail
  • If you have any reasons why more weight should be added to specific assessors, especially where the majority of your advocacy takes place outside court, it should be included in narrative description of practice
  • There is a whole new paragraph to cover the number of assessors (37) – but it remains up to 12 judges
  • Where possible you are expected to name a leading judge in your specialism (43.6)
  • The panel may be concerned if you use several assessors from your own chambers
  • A lay client as a client assessor is unlikely to have the requisite knowledge of your expertise as a potential silk
  • No single assessor can ensure recommendation or not for a candidate
  • Assessors must relate to the full range of your 12 cases i.e. you need at least one assessor per case (38.3).  They should be from major recent cases
  • Wider description of the details to include in the assessor section re: cases (47.3)
  • Work done on behalf of the profession and judicial examples remain evidence that the Panel will pay no regard
  • Interviews will be in late September, October and November 2013
  • There is a new paragraph in the Guidance (16) saying that applicants shouldn’t need any professional assistance with the application form or the interview ……

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