What is a silk in the british legal system

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what is a silk in the british legal system

The Silk Brief (The Silk Tales #1) by John M. Burton

Reviews for the Silk Brief.

“Just could not put this book down. The book transported my imagination where I was right inside a courtroom drama…. Fantastic, thoroughly recommend this book!”
“Both educational and entertaining …I thought the author did an excellent job of introducing Americans to the British legal system (which bemuses many of us as much as cricket). I always love good summations, and these were of high calibre… The author demonstrated a mastery of providing meaningful snippets of personal life essentially in textual asides.”
“Author John Burton, Q.C. knows of whereof he writes, and his book, as well as being a well plotted, well written and highly enjoyable murder trial novel, is an education in the English criminal justice system, warts and all… There is also a fascinating subplot about the business of English criminal lawyers and the intrigues of the “Chambers” in which Brant practices.”
“…..the skills of both the Prosecution, Joanna Glass QC and the Defence are on display. The reader is made to feel part of the Defence team.”
David Brant QC is a newly appointed Queen’s Counsel, a “Silk”, a Criminal Barrister struggling against ever-dwindling legal aid funds and a lack of work. His Chambers is also suffering internal and external pressures and his Senior Clerk seems to only serve a select few. Life at the Bar is more challenging than ever before. His personal life is not much better. Having faced an acrimonious divorce after an inadvisable liaison with a female Solicitor, his life has become a mixture of enforced rest and ever increasing consumption of Claret and Rioja Reserva.
However, after a night out with his Senior Clerk, he is instructed to defend in a Murder trial, leading one of the instructing solicitor’s firm’s In-House Barristers.
The client is a Mr Damien Clarke, a cocaine addict charged with killing a known associate, Usman Hussain, after a night of smoking crack together in Hussain’s flat.
The evidence against Damien appears almost overwhelming and as the case progresses towards trial it is strengthened by further forensic scientific evidence.
David Brant QC must use all his forensic skill to combat the array of damning evidence against Damien and to pit his wits against a highly competent Prosecutor and a Judge who has a personal dislike for him.
The Silk Brief takes us from before David Brant QC is instructed, through his early preparation of the case and conferences with the client in the High Security Belmarsh prison, through to the trial and verdict. It provides the day by day record of a murder trial including the examination and cross-examination of lay and expert witnesses, Counsel’s speeches, the Judges summing up and finally the jury’s deliberations and verdict.
Although a work of fiction, the author draws extensively on his knowledge of the Criminal Bar of England and Wales, having practiced as a Criminal Barrister for over thirty years, latterly as Queen’s Counsel, conducting many trials, including murder trials in the Central Criminal Court, known colloquially and fondly as “The Old Bailey”.
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Published 09.10.2019

English Legal System - Introduction

Queen's Counsel

A few non-technical explanations for those who find the arcane language of the English legal system a bit bizarre. Lawyer qualified as an advocate and 'called to the Bar', who practises in the higher courts, usually wearing wig and gown. When it's a verb this means to instruct a barrister; when it's a noun, the instructions, which are typed on thick white or cream-coloured paper, folded into a rectangle with the parties' names showing on the front, and tied with pink tape. Collection of rooms where barristers who are self-employed work, preparing their cases and having cons with their clients, but also the group of barristers who share the same premises. Work for barristers, accepting briefs on their behalf from solicitors, collecting their fees, and organising their chambers' administration. Meeting in chambers between a barrister and clients.

A Queen's Counsel post-nominal QC during the reign of a queen , or King's Counsel post-nominal KC during the reign of a king , is a lawyer usually a barrister or advocate who is appointed by a country's monarch to be one of "Her [His] Majesty's Counsel learned in the law. Other Commonwealth countries have either abolished the position, or re-named it to eliminate monarchical connotations, such as " Senior Counsel " or "Senior Advocate". Queen's Counsel is an office, conferred by the Crown , that is recognised by courts. Members have the privilege of sitting within the bar of court. The term is recognized as an honorific. As members wear silk gowns of a particular design see court dress , appointment as Queen's Counsel is known informally as taking silk , and hence QCs are often colloquially called silks. Appointments are made from within the legal profession on the basis of merit rather than a particular level of experience.

Americans often have trouble understanding accents and idioms in British film and TV shows, but with "Silk," a three-part, six-hour series on "Masterpiece Mystery! It is worth the effort, though, and even if you don't entirely get the difference between a barrister and a solicitor and that lawyers in the same firm may be called on to either prosecute or defend a client. Although the series, created by Peter Moffat "Criminal Justice" , sometimes teeters on the edge of melodrama, the characters and performances maintain our interest.
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Does an arched eyebrow beneath a powdered wig set your heart racing? Do the words, " Objection, My Lord!, An example of meritocracy at the Bar, lawyers — almost always barristers — are awarded this on the basis of merit rather than a particular level of experience, however, they do tend to have 15 years experience or more.

Queen's Counsel postnominal QC , during the reign of a male sovereign known as King's Counsel KC , are senior lawyers in various Commonwealth countries. They are appointed by letters patent to be one of "Her Majesty's Counsel learned in the law". They are not a separate type of lawyer. They are more than long serving lawyers, because their status is given by the Crown and recognised by the courts. Queen's Counsel have the privilege of sitting within the Bar of court, and wear silk gowns of a special design hence the informal title Silks.

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