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ELIZABETH Davidson’s exposure of the Brigadoonian selection process deployed by the legal establishment regarding the appointment of QCs suggests that Scotland is a long way (at least a few light years) from the gates of modernity (Law & Legal Affairs, 29 April).

A reference from two fellow lawyers, a wee form, an exercise in self-assessment, a stamp and a saunter to a post box normally suffices to assist the Lord Justice General when he peruses the applications for elevation to the status of QC.

Ms Davidson outlined the English selection system: prospective QCs are required to submit a 64-page application form. They must detail 12 cases from the past two years that illustrate their skills in higher court advocacy. They must give 12 judges, six barristers and five solicitors as potential referees, nine of whom may be called to give references. The process is so onerous that applicants commonly hire a consultant to negotiate the process.

There’s no guarantee, but that process is more likely to inhibit the elevation of lawyers with a flair for steadfast ineptitude, sturdy mediocrity and slick incompetence. Scotland does not suffer from a shortage of that kind of talent and some of the most gifted exponents of those qualities are pompous QCs who are quietly grateful they did not have to expose their skills to the scrutiny of the English selection process.

Thomas Crooks

Dundas Street

Edinburgh

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