Of Queen’s Counsels &”Seniors”

I feel there should be no Senior Advocates only advocates.

Endowment not habiliment is the test of a lawyer. He should be recognised by his performance not his robes and his identity should lie in his work not attire. The gown does not make a lawyer. An incompetent lawyer will only disgrace it while the competent should not need it.

As long as the system remains it is liable to be exploited. A lawyer who is not designated can be run down as being incapable and be unjustifiably compared unfavourably with another who is designated aside from being denied priority in appearance in court despite superior capacity while the incapable can perpetually hide their incapacity in their robes and get undeserved preference when in fact they should be denied an audience altogether.

There is a hike in fees immediately upon designation despite want of any improvement in the quality of work. A non-designated lawyer has to explain (often without success) even a warranted increase in his charges. This not only shoots the cost of litigation up without any corresponding improvement in the quality of practise but adversely affects the quality itself as more effort is placed on the race for designation through networking rather than working.

Preference is often shown to senior advocates in courts and in some it becomes the very condition for practise. Aside from being anti-merit this is also anti-democratic as it not only stifles potential it entrenches established interests.

It is a little known fact that Francis Bacon was the first person to be so appointed and that too for reasons having nothing to do with his undisputed versatility. Till his appointment the Attorney General, Solicitor General and King’s Sergeants were Kings Counsel in Ordinary. Queen Elizabeth appointed Francis Bacon Queen’s Counsel Extraordinary. The reason for this extraordinary honour was only political and intended to prevent him from acting against the Crown. The appointment as Kings Counsel therefore had nothing to do with the admitted capabilities of Bacon – a trend which continues till today.

Distinction never needs any dressing up. It is self-evident.

Merit is always humble. It makes a place for itself without having to be ushered in.

Ability requires no badge of honour. It attracts attention without a formal proclamation.

And true recognition lies not in formal acknowledgment but in voluntary appreciation.

So where do we fit designation of Senior Advocates?

AWARDS / RETURNS – TWICE REWARDING

The increased psychomotor motion in returning awards shows an emotional arousal and heightened activity which has nothing to do with the protest under which the return of award masquerades.
The award is returned in protest but the remonstrance is without returning the cash which accompanies the award even and the repute associated with the conferral has already been encashed by intelligent marketing of goodwill.
The return itself is duly publicised to reiterate the fact of conferral of the award in its return and be in the limelight again after the fact of being awarded has faded from public memory to reinvent the award for oneself in the howling return of it.
There is a rash of return of awards by different authors in protest against the same issue when there are several issues of concern apart from that for which concern is expressed but on which there is collective silence with not even an attempt to explain the utter inarticulateness of an otherwise loquacious lot.
And have the problems to which the protest relates originated only now or were similar problems not current when the awards were accepted? If awards could be accepted when conditions for their return existed can the return of the awards be now justified as a protest to the conditions as being suggested?
There is more cacophony than content in intellectual dishonesty which debases protest as babel and it is lamentable that there is such trickery even in very serious issues.