It's raining on Yarraside's silks parade 
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Justinian in Bar Talk, Marilyn Warren, Queen's Counsel, Senior Counsel, Victorian Bar

The future of Vic Bar's two-step QC scheme is riding on the outcome of Saturday's election ... Ambition to switch from SC to QC likely to be thwarted if Labor is returned to government ... Intriguing possibilities 

Warren: produced the SC list three days before the state election

On Wednesday (Nov. 26). Chief Justice Earl Warren announced 18 new senior counsel in and for Victoria - 14 lads and four lasses.  

Under the arrangements that came into effect for the first time in April, Vic SCs can transition to queen's counsel if they fill in a form and request the attorney general to have the governor-in-council give them letters patent. 

So it's a two step arrangement. First, appointment as SC, second the option of converting SC to QC. 

On Saturday (Nov. 29) Victoria goes to the ballot box and the shadow attorney general Martin Pakula may well be the AG shortly after, if the polls are any indication. 

Pakula has said he doesn't like step two of the appointment process, which was stitched together between the bar and the Libs. 

In May Pakula criticised the Victorian government's decision to return the royal bauble to Yarraside silks, saying it was not in the public interest. 

"At the very least - the very least - the Victorian Bar Council ought to give as much consideration to the important matters of public interest and independence of the bar as their NSW colleagues did." 

Of course, those who want the queenly suffix now cannot rush off to attorney general Robert Clark and beg him for the gong. The government is in caretaker mode, so there are no new appointments. 

The timing couldn't be more terrible. 

If the Liberals get back in on Saturday, the new silks can proceed with step two and be crowned as queens. If Labor wins, the prized trinket is likely to be dangling, but denied. 

This is a reminder of the ridiculous on again, off again regime that compromises the vanity-driven enterprise to restore queen's counsel. It is now so entangled in politics and notions of imperialism as to be a divisive embarrassment for the bar.  

For those who have just collected their SC certificates from the bar's front counter, and are hankering for the full-plumage, the frustration must be frightful. 

Meanwhile, the Queensland bar has just announced the appointment of nine new QCs

Article originally appeared on Justinian: Australian legal magazine. News on lawyers and the law (http://justinian.com.au/).
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