Queen’s Counsel

Queen’s Counsel

A lawyer in the UK who is appointed by “letters patent” to be one of “Her/His Majesty’s Counsel learned in the law”. The post requires at least 15 years of experience as a solicitor advocate, barrister or advocate (Scotland); awarding of the job is termed “taking the silk”, as QCs wear silk robes.

As of 2004, all QC appointees have been chosen by a 9-member non-governmental panel, which includes 4 lay persons and 5 from the legal profession (2 solicitors, 2 barristers, 1 retired judge). QCs are of interest in UK medical practice as they may be brought in to defend or prosecute doctors in General Medical Council (GMC) Fitness to Practise hearings and other legal proceedings.