Although men still account for the majority of both applications and appointments, female applicants have again been proportionately more successful. Fourteen women applicants were appointed (54 per cent of the 26 who applied in this year’s round). In the 2011-12 competition, 23 women were awarded the rank (58 per cent of the 40 who applied).

Two solicitor advocates applied, one of whom was appointed, bringing the number of solicitor advocates awarded the accolade since 2008 to eight. Four employed advocates applied this year, but none were successful. Just one applicant, who was not appointed, declared a disability. Twenty-one applicants declared an ethnic origin other than white, three of whom were appointed.

The eight new QCs Honoris Causa reflect a more even split between the professions. Baroness Ruth Deech, Professor Ian Fletcher, Professor Mark Freedland FBA, Professor Geraldine Van Bueren and Professor David Ormerod are barristers and legal academics. The remaining three, Edward Walker-Arnott, Eileen Carroll and Stefan Cross, are from solicitor backgrounds.

The award ceremony was due to take place on 27 March at Westminster Hall before the Lord Chancellor.

Applications for the rank are on the decline. The 183 applications in this year’s round compares to 214 applications in 2011, 251 in 2010 and 275 in 2009.

The 2013-14 Competition is now open for applications and closes at 5pm on 17 April. Three new members have been appointed to the QC Appointments Selection Panel. Martin Mann QC is the new barrister member and the new lay members are Sir Alex Allan and Quinton Quayle.