Guidance

Attorney General's civil panel counsel: appointments, membership lists and off panel counsel

Recruitment process, rates of pay, overview of the panel, lists of members and guidance for barristers who work ‘off panel’.

Overview

The Government Legal Department (GLD) administers the Attorney General’s panel counsel.

The Attorney General’s panels of counsel consists of just over 400 junior counsel who undertake civil and EU work for all government departments.

This guide explains how to apply to be on the panel counsel and which panel you’d be advised to apply for. It also covers ‘work outside the panel’ which means working for the government but not as a member of panel counsel.

The role of the Law Officers

The Law Officers have overall responsibility for counsel instructed on behalf of government. They make appointments to the panels. They ensure that the operation of the panels is as effective as possible.

Panel counsel: structure

The Attorney General maintains panels of junior counsel to undertake civil and EU work for all government departments. These are in addition to any standing counsel and the First Treasury Counsel, James Eadie QC.

The panel system is made up of London Panels, Regional Panels and Public International Law Panels, each set up as follows:

A panel – deals with the most complex government cases in all kinds of courts and tribunals. Members will often appear against QCs. In general, those appointed to the A panel will have over 10 years’ advocacy experience.

B panel – deals with substantial cases but not in general as complex as those handled by the A panel. Members will generally be instructed where knowledge and experience of a particular field is required. B panel applicants will generally have between 5 and 10 years’ advocacy experience but those with more experience can also apply.

C panel – members will generally have between 2 and 5 years’ advocacy experience but those with more experience can apply. Those appointed to the C panel will often (but not always) become the A and B panel members of the future and so will be expected to show the potential to join the A panel.

‘Advocacy experience’ means experience in actual practice usually from the end of second 6 months’ pupillage. Where a third 6 months’ pupillage is taken there will need to be a judgment as to the extent and quality of the advocacy undertaken during that period.

The size of each panel is determined by need.

All government departments and agencies of government departments must use the panels.

London panels (details of current counsel)

London A panel (MS Word Document, 100KB)

London B panel (MS Word Document, 130KB)

London C panel (MS Word Document, 172KB)

Appointments are for a period of 5 years.

Regional panels

Outside London and the South East there are 5 regions to which counsel belong: North East, North, Wales, Midlands and South West.

From 3 April 2018, the Attorney General’s Regional Panel of Junior Counsel was restructured to align it with the other civil panels. Furthermore, following a recruitment exercise, a refresh of the Regional Panel saw changes to the membership.

As a result of the restructuring, within each region, the panel will be set up as follows:

Regional A panel (MS Word Document, 93.5KB)

Regional B panel (MS Word Document, 63.5KB)

Regional C panel (MS Word Document, 58.5KB)

Appointments are for a period of 5 years.

Public International Law (PIL) panel

The Attorney General established panels of junior counsel to undertake public international law on behalf of all government departments in order to supplement the work of the existing 3 London Panels. The Public International Law Panel A, B and C (MS Word Document, 76.5KB) will undertake cases involving public international law in international courts and in the courts of England and Wales.

Appointments to the panel

The London C Panel competition opened on Tuesday 25 September 2018.

Forthcoming competitions

The next London A and B Panel competition, along with a further London C Panel competition, will open in late February 2019.

The next Regional A, B and C Panel competitions will open in 2019.

Mentoring

As part of the Attorney General’s aim of encouraging as wide a selection of applicants as possible, potential applicants who want a mentor are put in touch with an established panel member who can discuss the application process, the eligibility criteria and the presentation of relevant information on the application form.

Rates

For details of rates see our practical information page.

Equality and diversity

The Attorney General operates an equal opportunities policy in relation to the civil panels. The assessment process emphasises the importance of making recommendations for appointment on the basis of demonstrable skills.

The Attorney General appoints the best candidates solely on merit, irrespective of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion/belief, sex (gender), and sexual orientation.

See the Attorney General’s Equality and diversity expectations statement for civil and criminal panel counsel (PDF, 105KB, 12 pages) . Please note: the Treasury Solicitor’s Department (TSol) became the Government Legal Department (GLD) on 1 April 2015. The attached document refers to TSol but remains relevant to GLD.

Areas of work

To ensure the panels can meet the needs of government there is a variety of work available - not just in public law. It is important that the panels contain counsel with various specialisms and counsel who are able to branch out into other areas of work if the need arises.

GLD encourages 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.

Although appointment to any panel cannot be a guarantee that work will be available, the intention is that each advocate appointed should be given at least a minimum amount of work.

Off panel work

The intention is that work should go to panel members but there are opportunities to do work ‘off panel’.

Queen’s Counsel (QC/silk)

GLD maintains a non-exhaustive list of Queen’s Counsel who have previously been instructed by departments or have expressed interest in receiving instructions. A nomination from the Law Officers is always required before a QC is instructed; a rate is always agreed in advance of a nomination being approved and usually ranges from between £180 - £250 per hour.

When seeking a nomination for a QC, the Attorney General will wish to be satisfied that the work cannot be done by A panel counsel. There is no requirement that any of the QCs put forward be on our list.

Being on our list of QCs does not guarantee any particular amount of work or indeed any work at all. However, being on the list does draw attention to a QC’s willingness to do government work.

Off panel juniors

A nomination is always required for an off panel junior. When off panel junior counsel are instructed they are paid at panel rates.

Junior juniors (formerly Baby barristers)

Junior juniors are very junior barristers who are within 4 years from end of pupillage and who are not yet panel members. They can assist on things like discovery exercises on large cases. They cannot do advocacy of any sort. A nomination from the Attorney General is not necessary.

The period of eligibility to undertake work has been extended from 2 years to 4 years from end of pupillage.

If you are interested in opportunities for Junior junior work, contact panelcounsel@governmentlegal.gov.uk

For details of rates see our practical information page.

Standing counsel

Some departments appoint standing counsel. These are more senior advocates, akin to treasury counsel. As well as leading in some of the most difficult cases, their insight into the work of their department means they are also available as a source of expertise to panel counsel. In addition, they may provide training and strategic advice.

References

For more information on references see our practical information page.

Published 1 November 2013
Last updated 5 October 2018 + show all updates
  1. We have updated the Regional B Panel to reflect a Panel member's move of chambers
  2. Added that the London C Panel opened on Tuesday 25 September 2018. The next London A and B Panel competition, along with a further London C Panel competition, will open in late February 2019.
  3. Published information about the next London C Panel competition opening on 25 September 2018.
  4. Replaced the Regional A Panel list to reflect changes as of 1 August 2018
  5. Replaced appointments to the London A and B Panels. The changes to both lists are a result of Counsel moving Chambers.
  6. Added results of London A and B Panel competitions.
  7. Updated the Regional A & B listings.
  8. Updating information about panels to reflect new A, B and C listing.
  9. Changes to the page to represent the reorganisation of the Regional Panel.
  10. Page has been change to reflect that the London A and B Panel competitions are now closed, and that the period of eligibility for Junior juniors to undertake work has been extended from 2 years to 4 years from the end of pupillage.
  11. Updated the London C Panel document.
  12. Updated the London C Panel.
  13. Updated A, B, C, Regional & PIL Panels.
  14. Updated the 'forthcoming competitions' with details of the London A and B competitions.
  15. Updated the C Panel and Regional web listing on the website.
  16. Published a document detailing the 25 new appointments to the London C Panel.
  17. One of the London B and Regional Panel members have moved Chambers so the listings have been revised.
  18. Updated the Regional panel. Accurate as of 9 January 2017.
  19. Updated the C panel list. Correct as of 8 January 2018.
  20. Updated London C Panel listing. Accurate as of 15 December 2017.
  21. Changes reflecting the end of the Regional Panel application period.
  22. Updated Regional Panel list.
  23. The London C Panel competition is now closed.
  24. Changes to reflect the opening of the Regional Panel competition on Tuesday 24 October.
  25. Updates on Panel competitions.
  26. Updated the B Panel list.
  27. New appointments to A and B panels published.
  28. Updated the Public International Law (PIL) Panel list.
  29. Updated the B and C Panel lists
  30. Updated the C Panel list and Regional panel list
  31. Updated Regional Panel attachement
  32. Updated the copy under 'Forthcoming Competitions' to say the A and B panel competitions have now closed.
  33. Updated the Regional Panel and B Panel list attachments.
  34. The Regional Panel members and PIL panel lists have been updated.
  35. Updates to all panel lists
  36. Updated Panel B and Panel C lists. Announcement of new Panel C members.
  37. Updated PIL list
  38. Panel C list updated
  39. update
  40. Update to text
  41. update to panel c
  42. updates to panel counsel recruitment
  43. Updates to panel counsel lists
  44. Latest C panel list published
  45. List of new appointees
  46. update to Junior junior
  47. Update of the term 'Baby barristers' to 'Junior juniors'
  48. Update to lists A,B,C and regional
  49. Updated Panel A, B and regional lists.
  50. Panel C list updated
  51. Updated list
  52. Dates for appointments.
  53. Panel list updated
  54. List updated
  55. C Panel list updated.
  56. Updated panel counsel lists.
  57. New competition announced.
  58. Updated lists for February 2016.
  59. Competition details updated.
  60. Regional Panel Counsel information for December 2015 added.
  61. Contact details for baby barristers scheme updated.
  62. Update to Panel C list.
  63. New C Panel Counsel list updated for November 2015.
  64. Competition closed. List of Regional Panel appointees published following the 2015 competition.
  65. New regional panel information added.
  66. Panel B list updated.
  67. Competition details updated.
  68. Competition details updated.
  69. Attachments updated
  70. Update to Panel C list.
  71. Panel Counsel lists updated.
  72. Attachment updated.
  73. Update to Panel Counsel lists.
  74. New competition announced.
  75. The Regional Panel Competition 2015 closed at 12pm on 31 July.
  76. Panel A list updated.
  77. Update to Panel Counsel file.
  78. New Regional Panel Counsel document.
  79. New competition announced.
  80. Upcoming competition announced.
  81. Attachment updated.
  82. Attachments updated.
  83. New panel C list added for May 2015.
  84. The 2015 london A & B Panel competition is closed.
  85. Updated Panel Counsel lists.
  86. The Attorney General is seeking to appoint new members to one of his panels of junior counsel in London, the A and B panels.
  87. Updated Regional Panel November 2014
  88. Latest information available.
  89. Updated panel list available.
  90. Updated panel lists now available
  91. Updated membership lists
  92. Updated to include information regarding the 2013 competition
  93. Regional panel list updated
  94. Latest list available
  95. B panel list update
  96. First published.