Applicants for Senior Counsel status being sought

The Office of the Chancellor of the Judiciary is inviting attorneys-at-law desirous of being elevated to Senior Counsel to apply.

A notice to this effect appeared in today’s Stabroek News. The invitation will be viewed with great interest as the conferring of `silk’, as the status is usually referred, has been the source of controversy and speculation for decades particularly over the manner in which the selections are made and their timing. It is unclear for instance why there has been such a long interval in the consideration of new candidates. It was also pointed last week in a letter to this newspaper that there are no female senior counsel.

The last conferrals would have been in 1996 when former Speaker of the National Assembly Ralph Ramkarran, Richard Fields, former Attorney General Charles Ramson, acting Chief Justice Ian Chang, Moen McDoom and the late Samuel Brotherson were elevated.

Interestingly, the present Attorney General, Anil Nandlall is not a Senior Counsel. Traditionally, the holders of his position have held the status of senior counsel and he is the first not to have had at the time of his appointment.

The notice in today’s edition sets out criteria for the applicants.

They must have:

-at least 15 years of active practice at the Bar

-expert up-to-date legal knowledge with a record of accurate and relevant application of such knowledge

-a record of written and oral advocacy

-a reputation for appropriate deportment, decorum and interpersonal relationships with professional colleagues befitting that of a member of the inner Bar

-a reputation for honesty and integrity particularly with respect to professional dealings with the court, with clients and all other parties.

Applications have to be supported by endorsements from at least two referees and applications have to be forwarded no later than May 30th to the Office of the Chancellor, Court of Appeal, 60 High Street, Kingston.

The notice added that attorneys-at-law who previously made applications need not reapply.

The notice did not provide any information on how the selection/s will be made.

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