Fewer women and ethnic minorities QCs were appointed as the number of applications and awards made for the badge of excellence overall fell this year.

From the 240 applications, 108 new Silks have been appointed, down from 119 last year.

Overall, the number of applications for for Silk fell from 272 last year – a drop of almost 12%.

Among the successful applicants were 30 women from the 55 who applied, and 13 new Silks from an ethnic minority background from the 30 who applied.

Last year, 32 out of the 50 female applicants were successful, together with 18 out of the 33 applicants who declared that they were from an ethnic minority background – the highest number ever to be appointed.

Nineteen applicants aged over 50 were appointed, compared to 21 last year. The youngest successful applicant is 37 years old and the oldest is 60.

Four solicitor advocates of the five who applied were appointed. Five solicitor advocates were appointed last year.

Congratulating those appointed, Sir Alex Allan, Chair of the Selection Panel, said: ‘We remain concerned that the number of female applicants remains comparatively low, but I am pleased that of those women who did apply, well over 50% were successful.’

He added: ‘I was also pleased to note that the number of BAME applicants appointed was in proportion to their representation amongst applicants, and amongst the relevant cohort of the profession.’

The new QCs will formally become Silks when they make their declaration before the Lord Chancellor on 11 March.

The full Silk List will be published in Counsel’s QC issue in March.