Myth 2 Only Counsel From Certain Backgrounds Are Chosen
The Attorney General appoints the best candidates solely
on merit, irrespective of ethnic origin, gender, marital status,
sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion, disability,
or the chambers at which they practise.
A very important criterion though is ability as
an advocate and it was very important that referees can and do comment
on advocacy performance.
The Attorney General has produced an Equality and
Diversity Expectations Statement about how Chambers, whose members
include existing or prospective panel counsel members, should act.
There is a variety of work available, not just in Public
Law, to ensure the panels can meet the needs of Government. It is
important therefore that the panels contain counsel with various
specialisms. Equally important is that counsel are able to branch
out into other areas of work if the need arises.
Myth 4 When You Are Appointed As Panel
Counsel You Can No Longer Act Against Government
This is not true. We fully encourage counsel to maintain
both a public and private practice, this includes acting against
Government. It is beneficial to Government if counsel have had experience
of acting against Government as we believe it makes them a better
advocate as they have seen Governments arguments from the other
side. Panel membership is also not infinite; we would therefore
want to ensure that should your panel membership cease you would
have a private practice to return to.
Myth 5 I Can Only Get On The A or B panel
If I Have Already Been On The C Panel
We often hear, "but I can't apply for the B/A
Panel as I have not been a member of the C/B Panel", this
does not matter. Appointment is based on merit and the best candidates
are those who are ultimately successful.
Myth 6 My Panel Appointment Is Affected
By Maternity Leave
Appointments to the Panel are made for 5 years, if during
this time counsel take maternity leave they can if they so choose
apply to have their panel membership extended for a commensurate
period of time. Extensions are also considered for any counsel that
may have been away from chambers for some time and not undertaken
advocacy. Counsels are therefore, not disadvantaged when it comes
to making future applications. Additional time on the panel allows
counsel time to undertake further advocacy work that will strengthen
their application to the A or B panels.
Myth 7 A Panel Counsel Applying For Re-Appointment
Are Given Priority To B Panellists And Others
Appointments to the Panels are made for 5 years, after
which time counsel are required to apply for the next panel up,
or if they are existing A Panel counsel they are required to re-apply.
When existing A Panel Counsel re-apply they are not given priority,
we operate a completely level playing field so all counsel (whether
existing panel members or not) are all considered together. The
highest scoring candidates and therefore the strongest candidates
will ultimately be successful.
Myth 8 I Do Not Seem To Be Getting Much
Government Work, I Just Have To Grin And Bear It
Although appointment to any Panel cannot be guarantee that
work will be available, the intention is that each advocate appointed
should be given at least a minimum amount of work. The volume of
work Panel members receive will be monitored together with their
performance. If a panel member wants more work either because they
feel they are being overlooked or because a trial has collapsed
and they are unexpectedly free then they or their clerks are welcome
to contact TSol.